It’s universally accepted that social media is indispensable when it comes to promoting your online content. However, it can be tedious to manually update all of your social media accounts every time you create a new post. This is especially true if your WordPress site offers up numerous articles daily. Fortunately, a plugin exists to automate that process.
Social Networks Auto-Poster (SNAP) is a tool that frees you from the arduous and time-intensive task of posting your latest links to the various social media channels that you use. It’s literally one of the best friends for any blogger who claims to be social media savvy. In this article we’ll cover the most important features of SNAP, and how to configure the plugin for the best results.
Backlinks Are Beautiful
If you’re familiar with basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, you’re always on the lookout for backlinks. These are links back to your site from other websites. They’re valuable because, simply put, the more exposure you have online, the more likely you are to get clicks.
While there is some concern that backlinks from social media websites are irrelevant to search rankings, there’s no doubt that they’re still visible to humans. Either way it can’t hurt, and will almost certainly help, to have a variety of backlinks to your website from numerous social media channels.
While the social media sites may not matter much to your rankings, the so-called Web 2.0 sites are, as of this writing, a tool frequently employed by SEO professionals to improve search rankings. These include sites such as Tumblr, WordPress, LiveJournal, and Blogger, among others.
Here’s the good news: SNAP supports Web 2.0 sites as well as social media sites. That’s also why SNAP is so powerful to people interested in building a thriving online presence. It automates the creation of backlinks for you, including adding those links to very popular social media channels and Web 2.0 sites. In short, you can use SNAP to make your site more visible to search engine bots and humans alike.
Features of SNAP
SNAP works so that, as soon as you’re done publishing your post, it operates behind the scenes to access your preferred social media and Web 2.0 accounts and perform the updates for you. It will post the link that you’ve just created with an appropriate text, typically the title and/or an excerpt that’s basically the lede of the article, or as many words of it as the site will allow. Of course, for sites where an image is warranted (e.g. Facebook), you can expect your featured image to appear with the update as well.
There are currently 27 different supported networks, a full list is available on the plugin download site. You’re not limited to a maximum number of accounts with SNAP. In other words, if you have both a personal and professional Twitter account, you can configure SNAP to publish to both accounts.
SNAP configuration appears under your Settings option in the left-hand navigation menu on your administration console. Once you’re on the configuration page, you decide which accounts you’d like to add. Below, you can see the list of accounts chosen for a specific installation of SNAP.
For each account, you add specific information, such as the URL of the account, user name, and credentials. It should be noted that configuration of some these accounts will require the use of an API key. Retrieving that API key will involve some effort on your part, but the plugin instructions for doing so are crystal clear.
For each account, you’ll also need to specify how you want the post to appear in the update. You do this with the aid of self-explanatory tags provided by SNAP. For example, with the Diigo account below, you can see that post title will match the title of the WordPress post (“%TITLE%”). The text of the post will match the excerpt of the WordPress post (“%EXCERPT%”). That excerpt will conform to the logic your WordPress theme uses to display excerpts. Here are some other tags that SNAP supports:
- %URL% – the URL of the post.
- %SURL% – the shortened URL of the post.
- %IMG% – the featured image URL.
- %RAWEXCERPT% – the excerpt of the post (as typed).
- %ANNOUNCE% – the text till the <!–more–> tag or first N words of the post.
- %FULLTEXT% – the processed body(text) of the post.
- %RAWTEXT% – the body(text) of the post as typed.
- %ORID% – the original ID. Post ID for WordPress.
- %TAGS% – the post tags.
- %CATS% – the post categories.
- %HTAGS% – the post tags as hashtags.
- %HCATS% – the post categories as hashtags.
- %AUTHORNAME% – the author’s name.
- %AUTHORTWNAME% – the Twitter username from the user(author) settings.
- %SITENAME% – the blog/site name.
- %CF-CustomFieldName% – the contents of the custom field with the specified name.
- %CT-CustomTaxonomyName% – the list of custom taxonomies associated with the post.
- %HCT-CustomTaxonomyName% – the list of custom taxonomies associated with the post as hashtags.
Be sure to select the correct tag for the correct site. For example, you wouldn’t probably want to use %FULLTEXT% for a tweet because tweets are limited to 140 characters.
SNAP also provides you with flexibility about how your posts get added on various social media sites. Typically, you’ll define global settings that are considered the default. Then, you have the option to override those settings while editing your post. You’ll see the SNAP administration console added just below the visual text editor and you can make the appropriate changes there to override the defaults, as seen below.
There is nothing that social media loves more than shortened URLs, especially on microblogging sites like Twitter. Fortunately, SNAP will shorten your (probably) lengthy URL that has been constructed from your post title. You have the option of selecting a URL shortener from bit.ly, goog.gl, YOURLS, or even the little-known built-in WordPress URL shortener.
Features of Premium SNAP
Like many other WordPress plugins, SNAP is offered as both a free version and a premium version, called SNAP Pro. The premium version offers a richer feature set at a price of $49.95 for a single site and $99.95 for multiple sites.
For starters, SNAP Pro offers support for both Google+ and Pinterest. Those are social media channels that are prime real estate in digital marketing, so bloggers serious about making a statement online should consider making the investment in the premium version for that reason alone.
Also, SNAP Pro gives you the option to configure when your posts will be published to your various sites, using the WP-Cron feature of your WordPress installation. This means that, if you have a large number of posts being published at one time, you can schedule the appropriate updates on your social media accounts so that you don’t flood your friends/followers all at once with an excessive amount of updates. SNAP also gives you the option to set a maximum daily limit on the number of posts you blast out to your chosen sites.
If you’re really conscious about your posting schedule, SNAP Pro also gives you the ability to limit your auto-posting to specific days of the week and specific times. This is useful if you’re following certain analytics advising you of the best times to post on specific social media channels.
The premium version of SNAP also features support for Reddit. Be careful with Reddit abuse, though. That site is notorious for afflicting spammers with a “shadow ban” — a ban that doesn’t look like a ban. In other words, you can post and comment as normal, it’s just that nobody else can see what you’re posting. SNAP Pro also offers better LinkedIn support. With the free version, you can post to your profile page. However, with the premium version, you can post to your company page.
Wrapping It Up
SNAP is a powerful plugin that not only has the potential to improve your search engine rankings but to also make your content more visible to people who are browsing on various social media and Web 2.0 sites. It’s a great tool for any professional blogger who is spending too much time manually copying and pasting links and excerpts to other sites for promotional purposes.
How do you like to create backlinks for your latest posts? Do you use an automated solution or do you do it manually? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.