Top 10 Social Media Plugins That Will Most Improve Your Web Site (and how)

Written by Chris G. DennyJanuary 26, 2011

Social media plugins play an important role in connecting websites and web services to social networks. Social media services allow websites to engage with their visitors in a fresh and interactive way— and have become essential to the health and growth of a new web. This article outlines the top 10 social media plugins of today, why they’re so important, and why you should consider using them for your site.

Facebook Like

The Facebook Like button is by far one of the most effective plugins for making your site more social and getting exposure into the social web. The like button is innocuous—its presence is hardly felt by users who do not use it, and greatly appreciated by users who do. When users click Like, they login to their Facebook accounts and publish a link to the content they liked on their newsfeed for all of their friends to see. When multiple users like the same content within the same web of friends—it’s more likely to show up on more people’s newsfeeds. The best part is that it only takes 1 line of HTML to implement this plugin.

Open Authentication

This plugin can be incredibly powerful for engaging new users. Basically, if a user has come to your website through Facebook or Twitter, or has already logged into either of them, they are automatically logged into your website. This plugin lets you get users to engage with your website while foregoing the login process—which can often times be the biggest hurdle to user engagement.

Follow Me Plugin

The Follow Me plugin has been making its rounds on the net—it’s hugs the edge of the page and expands to reveal all of a user’s social networking websites. This plugin allows the user to login as well as share content through each of those mediums, including an RSS feed. The Follow Me button has gotten a facelift makeover recently and can be customized to visually harmonize with your website.

Retweet Button

Much like the Facebook Like button, this button allows users to Tweet about your website to share it with their followers on Twitter. Do some market research and find out what kind of audience you’re trying to appeal to—if Twitter is a better fit than Facebook, this plugin might even be more valuable than Facebook Like.

Facebook Recommendations

This plugin suggests pages from your website to users. What better way to inoculate your visitors deeper into your website. This plugin is a great tool to build a stronger user base and to build visitor loyalty. What’s great about this plugin is that you can test it out here before you implement it, and see how Facebook will recommend your site to others.

Facebook Login

The Facebook Login plugin is a great tool for putting a face to your website. It shows visitors pictures of friends who have signed up at your site. Over 100,000,000 users are routinely logging in to other websites through this social plugin. In fact, over 2 times the visitors will login through their Facebook account on ecommerce websites than through your native login system. In sum, that’s 3 times the visitors that are currently logging in. What’s even better is that if you’re running an ecommerce site, you can then market to them because with this plugin, you can see what pages of your site they browsed.

Gigya

Gigya offers plugins for registration, community, and sharing. Their social sign-on solution is a user-friendly tool that allows users to login to their social networks. It provides single sign-on functionality, account linking, as well as enriched profile data (like confirming email and credential content through social sign-in). This plug-in is similar to the Follow Me plugin, but the two can be used simultaneously, since they do not inhabit the same part of the page, and can be mutually effective.

Facebook Live Stream

This plugin shares content directly from your Facebook page onto your website. It publishes up-to-date social content from your social outlet onto your website itself and requires very little work. Most people recognize Facebook as a familiar outlet and can be enticed to explore your Live Stream whereas they might not be a fan of your Facebook Page.

Facebook Activity Feed

If you’re already using a lot of Facebook Plugins and receive a lot of Facebook-crowd visitors, this is a great plugin. It shows visitors social content like likes, shares, and others, that their friends have published about your website. This plugin, in corroboration with open authentication and the Facebook Login plugin, can provide a powerful social foundation to any website.

Facebook Comments

This plugin is pretty straight forward—it uses the Facebook API to drop in a friendly and simple chat system. This plugin allows users to post to the “wall” of your website. This is a good plugin to get users to build a conversation on your website that future visitors can read through or contribute to. It makes your site more social directly, as opposed to publishing content on Facebook and getting visitors that way.

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