Without traffic, you can’t generate revenue from your website. It’s as simple as that.
For Authority Hacker, we our biggest focus is generating traffic from organic search through Google. The thing is, there are so many other ways to get traffic. One such way is through social media.
Over the last 30 days, 6.2% of our traffic has come from social media. We know we could be doing a lot more on those channels but an additional 3,000 users is nothing to be sniffed at.
And, when you look at the numbers on a wider scale, any marketer would be foolish to ignore social media.
Every 60 seconds on Facebook there are: 510 comments posted, 293,000 status created, and 136 photos uploaded. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
One way to get this traffic is to leverage the “word of mouth” effect.Not only sharing the content yourself, but getting your readership to share your content.
The best way to do this is with social share WordPress plugins.
The problem is: which one? There are thousands of them.
What We Are Looking For In a Social Share Plugin
Looks = a beautiful plugin that adds to the page.
Often social share icons are real dogs. They’re fugly.
We’re not going to go to the effort of making our sites look beautiful just to shove some ugly social share buttons down in the corner.
No thank you.
We want social share buttons that are going to enhance the look of the site, not take away from it.
This means having a choice of icons, colors, sizes and shapes of the buttons.
What we want
- Attractive range of icons
- Ability to change the color of the icons
- Ability to change the size of the icons
Positioning = where the icons are placed on the page.
It must be easy to place the social icons where you want them.
The key places are:
- In the sidebar (preferably scrolling with the reader)
- Above the content
- Below the content.
It’s important the plugin is optimized for mobile. Ideally, social share buttons are pinned to the bottom of the page on mobile and scroll with the reader.
What we want
Ability to place social share buttons:
- In the sidebar
- Above the content
- Below the content
- Pin to the bottom on mobile
3. Social Proof
Social proof = a count of the number of shares a piece of content has already.
Social proof can be both positive and negative.
We want the plugin to list the number of times an article has been shared on social media. If there’s a lot of shares, it can encourage others to share it.
This is social proof.
However, this works in both directions. If no-one’s shared the article it can put the reader off. So we’re looking for the ability to turn off the social share counter until we have reached a minimum number of shares.
Triggers = placing a prompt that encourages a reader share in front of them based on behaviour.
Triggers can be useful.
They help target your most engaged readers or to put a CTA in front of visitors that look like they’re going to leave.
We’re looking for tools that can prompt a social share through a pop-up based on some the following actions:
- Time delay (e.g. pop-up after 30 seconds)
- Scroll percentage (e.g. after the reader has scrolled down 60% of the page)
- Exit intent (e.g. if the mouse starts to head towards the back button)
The main consideration is whether social shares are worth a pop-up. People generally don’t like pop-ups, so if I’m going to annoy them I’m going to make it worth my while.
For me, an email is far more valuable than a social share. I’d be using any pop-ups to collect emails, and not to get social shares.
Having said that, if you’re not doing email marketing at the moment then go ahead.
What we want
Pop-up that encourages a social share based upon:
- Time delay
- Scroll percentage
- Exit intent
5. Post Share Actions
Post share actions = encourages readers to follow your social channels after they have shared your post
It’s simple but effective.
You know if someone shares your content they’re interested in it (unless they’re hate sharing of course!)
Building on that, after the user has shared your content, why not prompt them to follow you on Twitter or like your Facebook page.
What we want
- The plugin to ask the user to follow my social channels after they’ve shared my content
6. Smart Image Sharing
Smart image sharing = attach Pinterest specific image to the Pinterest sharing button.
Pinterest images are beautiful on Pinterest.
The problems is, they look terrible in a blog post.
Smart image sharing allows you to attach a Pinterest specific image to the Pinterest share button.
This means that the image is perfect for Pinterest but it does not ruin the look and feel of your blog post.]
What we want
- To attach an image with Pinterest dimensions to the Pinterest share button
Let’s face it, price is always important.
I don’t mind paying for a plugin that does the job and does it well, but if I can get the same thing for free then I’ll take the free product 100% of the time.
Best Social Share WordPress Plugins
Social Warfare (From $29/ yr)
Social Warfare is one of the most popular social sharing plugins at the moment.
It looks nice and does all the basics. But what makes Social Warfare worth the price is the additional features:
AH Pro member, Kevin Espiritu, gets a lot of traffic from Pinterest. As he mentioned on a recent podcast, he uses Social Warfare to attach Pinterest specific images.
Rather than embedding a Pinterest image in his post (long, thin and not that attractive in an article), he can attach a Pinterest image.
When someone goes to pin the image, they’re pinning a beautiful image specifically designed for Pinterest rather than a standard blog post image.
A counter showing the number of shares on social media acts as great social proof.
If 10.8k people have shared it (like in the image above), it must be worthy of sharing.
However, this only works if it’s been shared a significant number of times. If it’s been shared once on Facebook, it can have the opposite effect and put people off sharing.
Minimum counts hide the number of shares until you reach a number that’s enough social proof.
A bonus feature from Social Warfare is recovering social shares.
If you change URLs or domains you can lose these social counts. Social Warfare can recover the amount of shares if you change your domain or permalink structure.
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It looks good, andt you can place your social icons just about anywhere. You can also create pop-ups based on triggers.
Social Warfare lets you have floating icons in the sidebar that scroll as your user reads.
But as I mentioned, the power of this plugin is in the triggers. You can have a pop-up based on a time delay, percentage of the page scrolled, or even if the user performs an action that looks as if they’re going exit the page.
We touched on the benefits of this earlier and questioned how useful a feature it actually is, but you can’t deny it’s a nice option to have.
But, we’re focusing solely on social sharing.
The plugin has the usual features.
The social share buttons look relatively nice (although the free version will come with Sumo branding). It’s optimized for mobile (meaning that the share bar will attach to the bottom of the page like a banner ad).
It’s also pretty easy to set up with a drag and drop interface.
Disclaimer: I haven’t downloaded the Pro version of Sumo Share Pro, but it doesn’t seem to provide a great deal of value.
From the sales page, it indicates that you can download historical data, switch on UTM tracking and remove the Sumo branding from your share buttons. None of this seems particularly useful.
Things like emailing subscribers and pre-built templates aren’t important for us either. We’ll probably use something like ActiveCampaign for our email marketing. And, I don’t really care if there’s a Sumo logo at the bottom of my share buttons to be honest.
Shareaholic also cover all of the basic functionality you would expect with share buttons. They look ok, there are some customization options and there is also a headline to encourage sharing – which is a nice touch (even if it looks awful)
It’s easy to use but there’s not a crazy amount of customization options.
You can choose from four styles of buttons, and you can choose the color of your icons. There are also a few options letting you place the icons where you like:
- Position – Is the text wrapped around them or does it take up a whole line?
- Layout – Is it horizontal or vertical?
- Minimum count location
There’s also this strange headline. I think it’s a nice idea but I’m not totally sure how I feel about it. There are a bunch of preset options (“sharing is caring”, “share the knowledge”, “share the love”, etc.).
However, if you don’t like it, you can turn the headline off completely.
Easy Social Share Buttons (From $19)
Easy Social Share used to be the go to plugin for social share buttons. It was one of the earliest successful social share plugins and it did exactly what it said on the tin.
Then things started to change. New plugins emerged and it fell behind.
However, the guys at Easy Social Share Buttons have made some changes. Now they’re back and looking to shake the market up again.
After Share Actions
After sharing on social platforms, Easy Social Share Buttons allow you to promote your social channels to get more likes and followers.
It’s great. You already know these people are interested in your content – why else would they share it?
After share actions give you the chance to catch them when they’re most impressionable. Then, you can turn them into repeat visitors.
The plugin also has trigger options in the same manner as Monarch.
You can display a social share pop-up on scroll, exit intent, time delayed or at the end of content.
How Do They Compare?
|Plugin||Price||Looks||Positioning||Social Proof||Triggers||Post Share Actions||Smart Images|
What Plugin Should You Use?
To be honest, there’s not a great deal between a lot of the plugins.
For me, I would not use Sumo, since it doesn’t have the features I’m looking for.
I’d also avoid Shareaholic. It’s also a fairly simple plugin, but I think Monarch, Social Warfare and Easy Social Share are all much better.
Its decent value for money, but, more importantly, it’s got all the features you would look for in a social plugin. I especially like the post share actions as a way of boosting page likes and followers.
Side note: if I was a Pinterest user, the fact that Easy Social Share Buttons does not have smart images would make it a deal breaker.
In that case, I would probably have to plump for Social Warfare.