In between watching viral videos of animals doing tricks, humans doing crazy things and liking photos of another person sitting with their back to the camera in a beautiful setting, people stop playing with their social media to consume content. A lot of content… In fact social media is one of the largest sources of referral traffic to websites.
To get your content in front of these crowds you need a grumpy looking cat or an awesome social media sharing plugin. While the grumpy cat is tempting a better long-term strategy is a good WordPress social media plugin. The problem is that a lot of the social share plugins out there are pretty average.
What you need for your blog is something that was built to get you additional shares (we’re talking more than just bland social share buttons on the side of your post). To help you find the one that’s right for your site we did some testing. Here’s our shortlist of the 5 best social media sharing plugins on the market. We’ll start the list off with our favourite…
1. Social Warfare
Social Warfare Pro is the best social media sharing plugin on the market by a mile. Well if you’re not feeling British, by a km. For a start the plugin is more flexible than a Swiss Army Knife created by a Yoga instructor (that would make it a yogi knife?). Here’s a quick summary of the best features:
- Mobile ready social media buttons
- Pinterest images: add custom images to your share button
- Custom tweets: write your own Tweets for your content
- Shareable quotes: Twitter friendly quotes
- Content protection: prevents people adding their optin forms over your content
Aside from the social media buttons, arguably the best feature of Social Warfare Pro is the ability to define a custom Pinterest image that your audience will share. It’s an obvious feature that will help you get more traffic from Pinterest, yet none of the other plugins have this.
Other nice touches include the ability to write the metadata for content shared over other social networks like Twitter and Facebook (because the appearance of what people share is an important factor in how many people click that link to view your content).
2. Monarch Plugin
Monarch is my second favourite social media plugin (I used it before moving over to Social Warfare). The plugin has features like a social scroll box, social lightbox and social share for images. That said I’ve never used any of these features as using them would come at the expense of growing my email list.
What I really like about the Monarch plugin are the attractive flat design social share buttons. With Monarch you can choose what social buttons appear over your content, where they appear (to the right of your content or under the featured image) and define when the share count appears. In addition to this you have the social media follow buttons with the same design that you can place in the sidebar widget.
The main downside of Monarch is the pricing. Unfortunately Monarch is not a standalone social media plugin. You can only get Monarch with the Elegant Themes package. It starts from $89 a year and includes access to 87 premium WordPress themes. That makes it quite expensive for a plugin.
Mashshare is a WordPress social share plugin with the social share buttons with the same appearance as on Mashable. The name of the plugin is terrible, but these in your face social buttons are pretty popular on viral sites. I’ll quickly run over the best features of the plugin below:
- Social share buttons that look like those on Mashable
- Sticky share bar above your content
- Like after share button
Mashshare has a lot of other features, but when talking about strengths ‘less is more.’ I’ll put the next sentence in capitals… MASHSHARE GIVES YOU THE POWER TO CREATE MASHABLE STYLE SOCIAL BUTTONS. If that’s what you’re looking for then purchase the plugin. And the sticky share bar is pretty cool.
4. Easy Social Share
Easy Social Share is like one of those Japanese toilets. The developer of this social media plugin gave users the ability to customise and do just about anything. You can split test your social share buttons, place them in up to 22 different locations and choose between 45+ social media sites.
Having so many options to customise the plugin is great in theory. The problem of course is that you have to make these options intuitively accessible through the UI. Unfortunately the developers didn’t manage to do this. As a result Easy Social Share uses none of the Apple style minimal design.
Using this WordPress social media plugin feels like navigating a budget store going through a closing down sale. There’s a definite learning curve. It will attract the geeky who enjoy the chance to customise their design, but will be too much for most weekend style bloggers.
5. Sumo Share
Sumo is more than just a WordPress social media plugin. The tool is a complete business solution for your website. It helps you grow you email list, track what people do on your site with heatmaps, get more social media shares and more besides.
Anyway, social media shares…
Unlike Easy Social Share, Sumo comes with a beginner friendly learning curve. Once the plugin is installed on your site you just click to select where the social share buttons should appear and what social share buttons to use. That’s it, and really it’s all you need from a good social media plugin.
The downside is the pricing. Sumo costs $20 a month, which is fine given that Sumo is a one-stop shop software toolkit. However it’s expensive if all you’re looking for is a social media plugin. There’s a freemium version that you can use when you’re just getting started, but it won’t last long if you’re serious about growing your website.
Choosing the Right Social Media Plugin
I mentioned at the start that there are a lot of social media plugins out there (and you don’t need to pay for them – looking at you WP Social sharing). However, if you’re serious about your site and making money it’s worth investing in a good plugin.
You need to decide the right tool for your site. The best social media plugins available are shortlisted on this list. Check them out, test them if you can, before purchasing the one that’s right for you. If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback share them in the comments below.