SOCIAL MEDIA / DEC. 10, 2013
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Top 5 Free and Easy to Use Social Media Widgets for WordPress

Whether your site sells your amazing range of products, shows off your photography skills or features blogs about this, that and the other; one vital element remains the same. In the age of digital marketing, your site needs to be fully integrated with social media. Therefore, I’ve rounded up some great WordPress plugins which will enhance your site’s aesthetic, help drive traffic to your posts and which are very easy to use for those of us who are far from super tech wizards:  

Smart YouTube PRO by Vladimir Prevolac

This plugin allows the user to insert YouTube videos into posts easily and quickly. All that is required is a simple copying and pasting of the video’s URL directly into the post, add the letter ‘v’ after ‘http’ and hey presto, the video will appear in your post. It also has some very useful customisable settings, the most important being the ability to edit the size of the video. Further options include the ability to autoplay or loop the video, display thumbnails on your homepage and feature the video in your RSS feed.

Shareaholic Share Buttons & Related Posts by Shareaholic

These sharing buttons are so much slicker than the bog standard buttons that come built-in to the WordPress package. The plugin and settings appear very professional and feature an extensive range of share buttons, including top social media pages such as Twitter and Google+ as well as more niche items like Blogger or Bebo. What you’ll see, wherever you decide to place the buttons within your content, is them just peeking out below a scribbled message such as ‘sharing is caring!’ directing the eyes of the reader straight to the buttons – tres stylish. Further options include the ability to switch the counter on and off, and images on the side.

AddThis Follow Widget by AddThis

This plugin is extremely simple and an absolute must for any site. It provides a widget, which can be placed in your sidebar or on your homepage (or both) with highly recognisable social media icons, making it easy for users to for example, become a Facebook fan, subscribe to your RSS feed, follow your page’s Instagram etc. They will thus be alerted to all new posts. All you need to do is add the profile ID of whichever social media channels you use in the settings page – simple! There isn’t a huge rage of appearance options, but that certainly makes life easier for the indecisive person. Choose to have the buttons large or small; horizontal or vertical.

Facebook Page Promoter Lightbox by Arevico

I know from experience that it is much easier to get fans and followers on social media channels like Twitter than it is on Facebook. So, this plugin helps with getting Facebook fans specifically. A box will pop up inviting the user to like the page on Facebook when visiting the site. Now we all know that pop-ups are extremely annoying. If this is a concern, then you can edit the plugin so that it appears only every seven days for example and/or only on posts or only on the homepage etc.

Sharebar by Monjurul Dolon

Similarly to Shareaholic, this plugin allows readers to share your posts via various social media channels. I prefer it because of the more professional look and the fact that it’s super visible – the vertical bar appears at the side of every post and stays with the reader as they scroll down the page. Plus, it has a much higher potential for driving traffic to your site. The bar does switch to a horizontal bar containing smaller buttons for smart phones and tablets, but this is what makes the plugin so compatible with various technologies. I also love the fact that you can choose which channels to include, in what position and this includes Digg and Stumbleupon.

The important thing to remember here is that the placing of widgets and buttons makes a huge difference to the exposure, which these plugins can help you gain. Here’s hoping that your site or posts go viral with these fantastic social media plugins!

Image available under a CC License from mkhmarketing.

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