7 Best Social Media WordPress Plugins

March 17, 2011 No Comments by Kim Stone

WordPress websites (the kind we build) are designed for – among many things – social media and search engine optimization. Why? Plugins. Plugins are these fantastic little doo-dads that add functionality and features to a basic WordPress framework. They’re usually free and take a matter of seconds to install and configure. Not all plugins are alike, however, so we’ve gone to the trouble of identifying (out of about 50) what we think are the cream of the crop for social media integration, specifically. Here are the social media plugins we recommend:

Simple Facebook Connect

Simple Facebook Connect allows yous to add just about any kind of Facebook functionality to a WordPress website or blog, all without a lot of coding. The best feature is the fact that you can have each post automatically published to your Facebook profile or Fan Page. It’s true, this one can give you problems while installing, so pay attention to and follow the instructions. Or, ask us to help you get it installed and working properly. Either way, once it’s installed you’ll be able to add small pieces of specific Facebook-related functionality, one by one. Pretty cool, eh?

Facebook Like Button

We just installed this on our own website, and wonder why we didn’t long ago. This can be installed in place of Simple Facebook Connect if you only want to give your visitors the option to “Like” your posts. Simple and to the point. Once installed, you’ll see a Facebook Like Button to your wordpress blog and are able to customize it however you’d like. Have a lot of recommendations you’d like to brag about? Add the button count, or normal by using short code [fb_like] [fb_count]. Add Facebook Recommendations Widget to your blog sidebar or to anywhere using this shortcode [fb_rec].

Simple Twitter Connect

Similar to Simple Facebook Connect, this is a series of mini-plugins that let you add any sort of Twitter functionality you like to a WordPress website or blog. This plugin lets you have an integrated site without a lot of coding, and still letting you customize it exactly the way you’d like. You can also set up automatic publishing to have each new post automatically published on your Twitter account. Again, read the instructions carefully to make sure you don’t run into any bugs during installation. Both Simple Facebook Connect and Simple Twitter Connect are designed by the same guy, Samuel Wood (aka “Otto”) who can be found and harrassed here.

WP Tweet Button

Much like the Facebook Like Button plugin, this one is a simplified version of Simple Twitter Connect. WP Tweet Button easily and fully implements Twitter’s official Tweet Button on your WordPress blog or site. The tweet button can be positioned as you please and can be styled as customized as you can imagine in the settings page. You can configure individual messages for your posts, use the title of your entry or a default message for tweets. The plugins also supports a variety of shorteners and can even help track the effectiveness of campaigns using Google Analytics.

Sharebar

This is a new one to us, but is quickly becoming a favorite.  The WordPress Sharebar plugin adds a dynamic and fully customizable vertical box to the left of a (wide) blog post that contains links/buttons to popular social networking sites. If the page is below 1000px (default), the vertical bar disappears and a horizontal sharebar appears under the post title. Big Buttons are used in the vertical Sharebar to the left of the post, while the Small Buttons are used in the horizontal Sharebar that appears under the post title (by default) if the width of the page is less than 1000px (or whatever value you set). The bar also follows the readers as they scroll down to read the blog post so that when the inspiration comes they can share your wonderful thoughts with the rest of the world.

Disqus Comment System

While WordPress comes with a built-in commenting system for blog posts, we recommend replacing it with Disqus. Pronounced “discuss”, it’s a service and tool for web comments and discussions that essentially makes commenting easier and more interactive by letting users login and comment using their Facebook/Twitter or OpenID. Since 9 times out of 10, a potential commenter is already on Facebook or Twitter or has an OpenID account, this saves them the trouble of having to sign up on your WordPress blog to comment. Another great thing about the Disqus for Comment WordPress plugin is that it seamlessly integrates using the Disqus API and by syncing with WordPress comments.

Smart YouTube

Definitely one of the best YouTube integration plugins available. Smart Youtube allows you to easily insert Youtube videos/playlists in your post, comments and in RSS feed. In fact, the main purpose of the Smart YouTube plugin is to correctly embed youtube videos into your blog post. The video will be shown in full in your RSS feed as well. Give it a try today! You’ll love it.

Know any other Social Media plugins you love and MUST be included? Let us know by commenting below…