Attempting to succeed in social media marketing is tricky business. The subtle nuances involved in getting people to share your content en masse are extremely difficult to master and one must be highly imaginative to go viral on the likes of Twitter or Facebook.
That being said, the actual ongoing actions required to facilitate successful social media interaction with your WordPress site can be entirely automated with no negative side effects. Every new post should be shared to your social media network profiles automatically, visitors should be able to share your content with ease and you should be able to analyze your most successful content without resorting to manual data collection.
In this post I want to recommend the three social media WordPress plugins that you need in order for the above to become a reality. With these plugins installed, social media interaction will become entirely automated so that you can focus on the important aspects of boosting your social media popularity.
1. NextScripts Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP)
You almost definitely have a Facebook and Twitter profile and you may have many others. Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr…the list goes on. As such, publishing your fresh content to all of your social media profiles can be more than a little tedious.
Fortunately, there is an automated solution. Clever acronym aside, SNAP is the answer to the tedious task of publishing fresh content on your blog to your social media networks. It enables you to hook up your blog with a huge number of social media websites and automatically publish fresh content to your profiles as and when it goes live on your site.
As you can see, it is possible to customize the message that is delivered alongside your updates — you can include dynamic tags that will be replaced with the post’s title, description, permalink and so on.
For some of the social networks you have options as to how the updates should be displayed. Here’s an example courtesy of Facebook:
The one-off time investment required in setting up SNAP is paid back time and time again as you publish posts on your WordPress site. You’ll never have to worry about promoting your content via your social media networks again as it will be done for you.
While SNAP certainly doesn’t act as a replacement for your personal involvement in your social media profiles (you should of course always be active and responsive) it does enable you to completely automate the process of promoting new content. This arguably should give you more time to interact with others and further promote your social media profiles and blog by other means that aren’t so easily automated.
2. Digg Digg
Once you’ve sorted out the promotion of posts via your social media profiles it is time to move onto enabling visitors to easily share your content via their own social media profiles. Although there are a huge number of plugins available that can do this I always refer to Digg Digg as my number one pick.
This plugin has been in development for years and was acquired by the fine folks over at Buffer last year. Their involvement has been a huge benefit for the ongoing development of the plugin and users can now enjoy a solid and highly functional social media sharing plugin.
In my opinion Digg Digg’s best feature is the floating share bar. Here’s an example of it in action from my own blog:
This bar will track to follow the visitor’s scrolling so that the option to share is never out of sight. Digg Digg allows you complete control over the placement of the bar and also which social media sharing options that you have present (the list of available social networks is mind bogglingly comprehensive).
But that’s not all — Digg Digg also allows you to place sharing buttons at the beginning and the end of posts if that is your preferred placement:
The plugin utilizes lazy loading which means that it will not slow down the loading of any other element on your site. When it comes to resource-intensive social media elements this is a fantastic option. Put simply, Digg Digg works perfectly and looks fantastic too.
3. WP Social Stats
At this stage you should be pretty well set. Content is being published to all of your social media profiles automatically and you have made it really easy for visitors to share your content with their own followers. At this stage the next logical step is to equip yourself with the kind of data that can help you to analyze the popularity of individual posts in terms of social shares. With this kind of information you can shape your future content strategy in order to publish content that will attract more shares.
The best plugin I have found for that purpose is WP Social Stats. It can provide you with an overview of social sharing statistics for all of the posts on your blog. The advantages of this should be obvious — it allows you to see exactly how each of your posts has performed on individual social networks (and in total). This kind of information can help you to understand the type of content that is popular (or not) on your site.
Setting up WP Social Stats is extremely straightforward — once you have installed the plugin you will need to update the social stats for each of the posts on your blog. Once this is done you will be able to see social sharing statistics for every single published post.
The options within WP Social Stats are simple yet highly effective. For starters you can filter post by category so that you can see which posts are most popular for each section of your site. You can also switch between posts and pages if you include social sharing buttons on pages. Each table of results can be sorted by social network so that you can see which posts were shared the most per network. You can also sort by total number of shares across all networks:
I’m sure you can plainly see the benefits of this plugin. It gives you the kind of insight that would otherwise require tedious manual work to discover. Furthermore, I would argue that in the right niches, social sharing stats are the most reliable marker of popularity. A human being choosing to share a piece of content is far more powerful an action than simply clicking on a link in a search engine results page, for instance.
Careful analysis of stats produced by WP Social Stats and future action based upon that analysis can make a big difference to your blog’s growth.
Social Media Mastery is Within Your Grasp…
Like I said at the top of this post, mastering social media is tough.
It essentially involves understanding how your target audience thinks and how they will react to the content that you publish. But you can make the process a whole lot easier by automating what can be easily automated and equipping yourself with the information that enables you to make informed decisions about your future content strategy.
With the above three social media WordPress plugins you’ll be well on your way to much greater success with social media. If you have any questions, comments, or alternative plugin suggestions, please fire away in the comments section below!