How to integrate social media with your WordPress website

In this article by Karol Krol, the author of the WordPress 4.x Complete, we will look at how we can integrate our website with social media. We will list some more ways in which you can make your site social media friendly, and also see why you'd want to do that in the first place.

Let's start with the why. In this day and age, social media is one of the main drivers of traffic for many sites. Even if you just want to share your content with friends and family, or you have some serious business plans regarding your site, you need to have at least some level of social media integration.

Even if you install just simple social media share buttons, you will effectively encourage your visitors to pass on your content to their followers, thus expanding your reach and making your content more popular.

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Making your blog social media friendly

There are a handful of ways to make your site social media friendly. The most common approaches are as follows:

  • Social media share buttons, which allow your visitors to share your content with their friends and followers
  • Social media APIs integration, which make your content look better on social media (design wise)
  • Automatic content distribution to social media
  • Social media metrics tracking

Let's discuss these one by one.

Setting up social media share buttons

There are hundreds of social media plugins available out there that allow you to display a basic set of social media buttons on your site. The one I advise you to use is called Social Share Starter (http://bit.ly/sss-plugin). Its main advantage is that it's optimized to work on new and low-traffic sites, and doesn't show any negative social proof when displaying the buttons and their share numbers.

Setting up social media APIs' integration

The next step worth taking to make your content appear more attractive on social media is to integrate it with some social media APIs; particularly that of Twitter.

What exactly their API is and how it works isn't very relevant for the WordPress discussion we're having here. So instead, let's just focus on what the outcome of integrating your site with this API is.

Here's what a standard tweet mentioning a website usually looks like (please notice the overall design, not the text contents):

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Here's a different tweet, mentioning an article from a site that has Twitter's (Twitter Cards) API enabled:

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This looks much better. Luckily, having this level of Twitter integration is quite easy. All you need is a plugin called JM Twitter Cards (available at https://wordpress.org/plugins/jm-twitter-cards/). After installing and activating it, you will be guided through the process of setting everything up and approving your site with Twitter (mandatory step).

Setting up automatic content distribution to social media

The idea behind automatic social media distribution of your content is that you don't have to remember to do so manually whenever you publish a new post. Instead of copying and pasting the URL address of your new post by hand to each individual social media platform, you can have this done automatically.

This can be done in many ways, but let's discuss the two most usable ones, the Jetpack and Revive Old Post plugins.

The Jetpack plugin

The Jetpack plugin is available at https://wordpress.org/plugins/jetpack/. One of Jetpack's modules is called Publicize. You can activate it by navigating to the Jetpack | Settings section of the wp-admin.

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After doing so, you will be able to go to Settings | Sharing and integrate your site with one of the six available social media platforms:

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After going through the process of authorizing the plugin with each service, your site will be fully capable of posting each of your new posts to social media automatically.

The Revive Old Post plugin

The Revive Old Post plugin is available at https://revive.social/plugins/revive-old-post. While the Jetpack plugin takes the newest posts on your site and distributes them to your various social media accounts, the Revive Old Post plugin does the same with your archived posts, ultimately giving them a new life. Hence the name Revive Old Post.

After downloading and activating this plugin, go to its section in the wp-admin Revive Old Post. Then, switch to the Accounts tab. There, you can enable the plugin to work with your social media accounts by clicking on the authorization buttons:

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Then, go to the General settings tab and handle the time intervals and other details of how you want the plugin to work with your social media accounts. When you're done, just click on the SAVE button.

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At this point, the plugin will start operating automatically and distribute your random archived posts to your social media accounts.

Note that it's probably a good idea not to share things too often if you don't want to anger your followers and make them unfollow you. For that reason, I wouldn't advise posting more than once a day.

Setting up social media metrics tracking

The final element in our social media integration puzzle is setting up some kind of tracking mechanism that would tell us how popular our content is on social media (in terms of shares).

Granted, you can do this manually by going to each of your posts and checking their share numbers individually (provided you have the Social Share Starter plugin installed). However, there's a quicker method, and it involves another plugin. This one is called Social Metrics Tracker and you can get it at https://wordpress.org/plugins/social-metrics-tracker/.

In short, this plugin collects social share data from a number of platforms and then displays them to you in a single readable dashboard view. After you install and activate the plugin, you'll need to give it a couple of minutes for it to crawl through your social media accounts and get the data. Soon after that, you will be able to visit the plugin's dashboard by going to the Social Metrics section in the wp-admin:

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For some webhosts and setups, this plugin might end up consuming too much of the server's resources. If this happens, consider activating it only occasionally to check your results and then deactivate it again. Doing this even once a week will still give you a great overview of how well your content is performing on social media.

This closes our short guide on how to integrate your WordPress site with social media. I'll admit that we're just scratching the surface here and that there's a lot more that can be done. There are new social media plugins being released literally every week. That being said, the methods described here are more than enough to make your WordPress site social media friendly and enable you to share your content effectively with your friends, family, and audience.

Summary

Here, we talked about social media integration, tools, and plugins that can make your life a lot easier as an online content publisher.

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