How NOT to integrate Social Media into your WordPress Site

Know what rocks when you’re rocking that blogging thing and publishing new posts?

Seeing your awesome-sauce blogging posts shared on Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest … any of those sites! Am I right? Out comes the big grins and back-slapping …

Until … you realize you’re the only one seeing that share.

Know what kinda sucks about blogging?

When no one clicks on your link … no one cares about your blood, sweat and te … oh, wait. You don’t know WHY no one’s clicking?

Number one reason I have to help re-integrate social media into my client’s WordPress sites? Because they never realized it had to be done in the first place!

So now you’re here and you’re trying to figure out if I’m talking about you too, aren’t you? If so, consider this a primer on how NOT to integrate social media into your website (especially WordPress, but any site, really) … and hopefully you’ll learn some great tips on HOW to do it right along the way!

1. Do NOT forget your Social Sharing Plugin

You know what’s really hard? Trying to share a blog post and finding NO sharing options. Unless you’re a big name blogger and can count on people to work to share your content – make it easy!

If you’re a business and trying to add blogging to your website, do NOT frustrate users by leaving the sharing options out of the equation. Get it? Got it? Good!

Decide what you want – use data if you have it (you can drill down in Google Analytics to see which social networks are already working best for your brand) – and then carefully choose from one of the dozens of social sharing plugins that come up in a search. OR make it easy on yourself and pick from this list of my top three favorites, all tested and used on sites I put together for clients!

  1. Flare, Filament.io – this one actually is a web app, but it started as a plugin for WordPress. That means it rocks for just about ANY site (yay!). It’s configurable and awesome, and flexible enough to use JUST where you want it on your site. This is not the post on my reasons, but I will say this is my NUMBER ONE choice. I use the Pro version and offer it for use to my own clients because I love it, even though it’s not perfect. Difference between Pro and regular version? You get a few more options, you can hide the branding, AND you get some custom mobile display options (that just totally rock).
  2. Genesis Simple Share, on WordPress.org – if you use the Genesis framework for your blog this one is an awesome option, developed by none other than Brian Gardner himself and definitely not full of lots of bloat. This is a simple one to use – no complicated options to deal with at all 😉
  3. Jetpack Sharing Module – about as simple as they come and an easy choice if you already use Jetpack on your site. There are other caveats to using Jetpack, but I like this one and still use it on some websites from time to time. This link will take you to the how-to page where you can install Jetpack at the bottom of the page. Another nice thing about Jetpack – you can change the CSS and have a lot of fun playing with how it looks 😀 (always fun for a dedicated Geek!)

 2. Do NOT Forget Your Social SEO Power

There are SEO plugins for WordPress that define these awesome things called meta tags – and amazingly enough they work for more than basic SEO – in fact, they are pretty darn important for optimizing your posts for social media. So important, in fact, that there are separate plugins to handle JUST the different tags for social media sites.

The biggest reason to do this? So that when you share your posts on social media it pulls the best information about your page or post – the best picture, the best description, the best everything.

I have a heirarchy of plugins I use on my own and my client’s sites, depending on how much they want to integrate with social media. I start with a basic SEO plugin, then add more control over social tags, images, and then schema markup and other data for Google.

  1. Yoast’s WordPress SEO – I start with what is considered by most to be THE best SEO plugin for WordPress. With Yoast, you can set up all your basic site tags, default images for social sharing, and post/page specific meta tags. You can also connect it to Facebook’s Open Graph by setting up a very basic developer’s app (or have your resident geek do it for you!) and Facebook’s author tags. It even allows you to set up default Twitter Cards – which is made of awesome!
  2. WP Social SEO (I use the Pro version) – The free version is sufficient for most site’s needs, though I do use the Pro since I have a developer’s license. This plugin works alongside your SEO plugin – so in some cases you fill out information within this plugin settings, and in some cases you’ll let it use the WordPress SEO default settings (they notify of some of those). The reason I love this as a second plugin is that it allows you to specify different images for each social network. Want an image optimized to appear perfectly on Twitter? On Facebook? And they’re different sizes? Oh No! With this one, you can specify different images, different Twitter cards, different everything for every network. It has additional benefits for SEO so is definitely worth considering if you are at all interested in further optimization.