It’s safe to say that social sharing is not only here to stay, but it’s the king of content distribution. As the user bases of social giants like facebook, twitter, and the new pinterest continue to swell it’s becoming more and more important for publishers to make social sharing of their content across social platforms as easy as possible. In a recent study done by BrightEdge they found that “Websites [who] facilitate sharing generate seven times more mentions online than those that don’t.”
So how can you get in on the action? As I mentioned, the key is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to share your content. The best way to do that is by prominently displaying share options next to each post. To that aim I’ve gathered together my top five social plugins for WordPress – with a few honorable mentions at the end. Check it out!
1. Digg Digg
Possibly the most popular social plugin for WordPress, this well known plugin by Buffer is similar to what you see when reading a post on Mashable.com. The now classic floating social side bar. With Digg Digg you can “Display all popular social sharing buttons with count, such as Twitter, Buffer, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Digg, LinkedIn, Google +1, Reddit, dZone, TweetMeme, Topsy, Yahoo Buzz, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Sphinn, Designbump, WebBlend, BlogEngage and Serpd, Pinterest.”
ShareThis offers versatile button styles and impressive features for publishers, advertisers, and even consumers. Their holistic approach to product design by audience includes a powerful set of metric tools including insights and analytics, social quality index, mobile sharing, and real-time trending.
While not plugins (strictly speaking) these popular buttons are incredibly powerful tools that belong on this list. Cutting out the need to travel from your website to your social page in order to obtain new followers/subscribers can provide a huge boost to your social influence and overall share-ability.
4. Slick Social
Like all of the other options presented in this list, Slick Social offers share buttons and counts to all of the biggest names in social media. What sets this plugin apart is it’s sleek design and smooth pop-out action. As you can see in the images below there are a few display options that allow for you to hide the expanded side bar until the green share button is clicked.
This powerful plugin is similar to ShareThis in that it has some powerful analytic tools, a large user-base which they harness to help drive traffic, and of course customizable button options to fit any site style. Where I think AddThis separates itself is in it’s diversity of plugin options which spans from sharing, to follow buttons, to custom welcome messages that help capture new and repeat visitors. For serious content producers who want to engage in multiple ways but keep their data in one place this might just be the plugin (or family of plugins) for you.
As you can see each of these plugins focus on making it as easy as possible for readers to share your content. In some cases going so far as to offer powerful analytics to help you track that sharing and improve performance as you learn about the preferences and sharing behaviors of your specific audience. All that is left now is for you to pick the plugin that’s right for you. And of course, let us know what you think of it in the comments below!
Bonus: Some Honorable Mentions
While not making the cut for the top five, these additional five plugins have proven both effective and popular in 2012.
3. Get Social