Integrating Social Media Plugins with WordPress CMS: A Guide

Written by Robin WildingMarch 3, 2011

So you’ve found out that your WordPress blog is one lonely blog in the great big sea of 17,728,005 WordPress blogs (at the time of writing). And there are 384 new posts on WordPress every minute.

Yup—it is officially time to start marketing your blog. The best way to increase page views is to use a resource you already have, social networking. Leveraging your large social media networks is both highly effective and incredibly easy as WordPress has developed thousands of plugins to help build bloggers’ social profiles. For the ridiculously long list of WordPress social media plugins, click here.

If you are rolling your eyes at the idea of searching through the throngs of plugins available then keep reading.

You should limit your social media plugins to one, or a select few. Consider whether you want to use a plugin that spreads across multiple social networking sites, or one that focuses on your biggest social network, such as Facebook or Twitter. Here is a handy list of Facebook plugins, Twitter plugins, multi-platform plugins, and out-of-the-box thinking plugins.

Facebook Plugins:

Wordbook - This plugin is dual purpose; it posts your newest blogs to your Facebook wall and also shows your posts in your Facebook “Boxes” widget. Two birds, one stone.

FotoBook - This plugin imports your photo album from Facebook into WordPress for use in your installation. Since the plugin uses the Facebook API installation and use is super-simple.

Facebook Dashboard Widget - This widget is more for personal use of Facebook, but it can be a great time saver for regular users of WordPress who want more Facebook time. This customizable widget will display your Facebook feed right in your WordPress dashboard, saving valuable time of switching between windows. Keeping up with your Facebook account while logged into WordPress will ensure that you remain active in promoting not only your blog but yourself as well.

Twitter Plugins:

Twitter Tools - For complete Twit-heads out there this will link your WordPress account with your Twitter account-- kind of a WordTwit situation. This will allow you to setup automatic controls to tweet about each new blog post, and it will be a helpful reminder in your dashboard to integrate the two accounts further.

Tweet Meme - This retweet button is for your user, and will encourage them to tweet about your blog posts. With only one click of a button your blog visitors can share your content with all their followers—a perfect tool considering that most people are too lazy/apathetic to fill in the blanks themselves. This button also shows a live count of how many people have tweeted your post—another encouraging signal to get more people to retweet.

Multi-platform Plugins:

CommentLuv - CommentLuv is a great plugin to get people involved in your site. This plugin goes beyond simple tweeting and facebooking about your post, it also allows users to leave comments and to comment on comments. It will also include a chunk of your post, ensuring that those reading the comments will get a taste of your site. This one is great for encouraging your readers to get involved.

Sociable - Sociable is one of the most recognized multi-platform social media plugin for WordPress. This plugin works with up to 99 different social networking sites, ensuring that every reader has an outlet to share your posts with.

Sexy Bookmarks - This plugin is similar to Sociable but sexier, literally. This plugin is the most downloaded social bookmarking plugin on WordPress. Due to its popularity most users recognize it and know what to do with it. You will want to choose between this one and Sociable. Some prefer the sleekness of Sexy Bookmarks while others prefer the clear cut-ness of Sociable—your choice.

Other:

Smart YouTube - If you are planning on posting videos on your site, then Smart YouTube is a must. This plugin allows you to easily and cleanly insert YouTube videos into your WordPress posts, comments and your RSS feed. Videos are so attention-grabbing that anyone missing the boat on this really isn’t taking full advantage of social media marketing.

Think Out of the Box & Create Your Own:

Social Profiles Widget - For those who consider Wordpress’ social media plugins too cookie-cutter, consider the Social Profiles Widget. This widget will allow you to create your own single- or multi-platform social media widget. With 5 sets of different stylish icons to choose from you can create your own plugin and customize it to your liking. Even beginner WordPress users should be able to install and use this plugin.

Lifestream - This nifty little plugin displays your social feeds and photos into a social networking-style widget on your site. Without using one specific branded plugin you can customize and create your own feed.

BuddyPress - If you do not want to commit to one specific social network, consider building your own. If you have a significant following on your site, whether it be your immediate family or 10,000 monthly visitors, you can create a lot of buzz by creating your own site-based social network. BuddyPress is essentially social networking in a box and can help you to create a community surrounding your site, based on the power and flexibility inherent in WordPress. With BuddyPress you can create your own activity streams, extended profiles, friend connections, private messaging, blogging, extensible groups, and discussion forums.

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