I’m sure we’re all fully sold on the benefits of social media by now – if not, where have you been? For the uninitiated, though, social media is a great way to promote content, drive traffic, and boost brand recognition.
With this in mind, the big question is not if you should be using social media, but how to use social media.
When it comes to WordPress, there’s a plethora of social media plugins to choose from. How do you choose the right one?
Today I hope to make your decision slightly easier, by showing you how to use Envato Market’s best-selling social networking plugin of all time: Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress.
Let’s start, as always, with installation. From the WordPress dashboard, navigate to Plugins > Add New > Upload Plugin. Browse your hard drive for the Easy Social Share Buttons zip file, then click to Install Now and Activate Plugin.
Before we start playing around with the plugin’s advanced features, let’s start at the beginning: how to add social sharing buttons to your WordPress website. And, to get you up and running more quickly, I’ll be demonstrating Easy Social Share Buttons’ dedicated Quick Setup Wizard.
To access this, simply click the Easy Social Share Buttons menu item, then click on the Quick Setup Wizard button in the top-right corner. The Wizard consists of eight parts.
Styling Your Buttons
Let’s start at the beginning, then: Templates.
Easy Social Share Buttons supports an impressive 22 templates. You’ll see a preview of each button set, so go through them all and pick a favorite. At the bottom of this screen, you can also choose to activate animations, with four CSS animations to pick from.
When you’re happy, click through to the next step, Button Style, for extra button customization settings. This includes button alignment, width, and gap between buttons. You can also choose whether you want to display the social networks icon and/or network name on your buttons.
Choose Your Social Networks
Next up, the Social Share Buttons screen. This is where you can choose which networks you want buttons for, with a whopping 39 social networks supported. This screen also supports drag-and-drop, making it super-easy for you to configure the order of your buttons – tip: put your most important networks at the top!
The fourth screen is the Counters screen. This gives you the opportunity to display the number of times the post has been shared on each network. This is a great way to encourage more clicks by leveraging social proof – often-shared posts encourage further shares. On the flip-side, low share numbers act as a sharing deterrent, so choose carefully.
If you do choose to display counters, there are a few extra settings to configure. This includes the position of the counter (12 options), and settings for the Total counter (the sum of all shares).
Moving forward, the fifth screen is titled Display Buttons On. It allows you to choose where you want your buttons to appear. There’s a choice between displaying the social sharing buttons on posts, pages, custom post types (for example, product pages), and media. You can also choose to display social sharing buttons in your post excerpts.
Next, we have the Position of Buttons screen, which allows you to configure one of the more important details: where your buttons are displayed on the screen. Choosing the correct position for your buttons can lead to significantly more social shares, so it’s well worth testing the different options available.
Easy Social Share Buttons gives you two options to configure: primary position (position within content) and additional positions.
The first one is relatively straightforward, allowing you to choose to display sharing buttons at the top and/or bottom of your content. You can also choose to manually position them by selecting the shortcode option.
The additional positions are my personal favorite, giving you lots of innovative ways to display your sharing buttons – and you can also select as many as you want. The options include:
- Floating sidebar
- Top bar
- Bottom bar
- On Media
Although you can choose all of these options at the same time, don’t go overboard — it’s a sure-fire way to frustrate visitors.
The penultimate screen is named Mobile. As the name implies, this is where you configure the positioning of your social buttons for mobile devices – if you want dedicated mobile settings that is.
Due to the smaller screen sizes, there are fewer display options for mobiles. As such, you can use this screen to avoid overloading mobile visitors by choosing more suitable mobile display options. You can also choose to limit the number of social buttons to between two and five.
Seven steps down, one to go! All that remains is the Final Settings. Here you’ll find a few more optimization settings (mainly focused on speed), and also the option to activate the plugin’s analytics functionality.
When you’re all done, just hit Save Settings and you’re good to go!
Now when you view your website, you’ll be able to see the social sharing buttons you’ve just configured. Here are the buttons I just created, as displayed above content:
And here are my buttons in a dedicated fly-in:
Before we finish, I’d quickly like to show you how to add a set of social profile buttons to your sidebar – in my opinion, the sidebar is more suitable for follow buttons, rather than share buttons, but the Easy Social Share Buttons plugins supports a dedicated widget for each.
Let’s navigate to Appearance > Widgets, then use the drag-and-drop interface to move the Easy Social Share Buttons: Social Profiles widget into your desired widget area.
You can customize the widget buttons’ style in three ways:
- Button style: square, round, round-edged.
- Button color style: colored icons, white icons on colored backgrounds.
- Button size: small, medium, large.
Further down, you’ll see blank fields for each of the 79 supported social networks. To add a network to your widget, simply paste your social profile’s URL into the relevant space. If you don’t want to include a particular network, just leave the field completely blank.
When you’re done, don’t forget to hit save. This is what the sidebar widget looks like:
From time-to-time, WordPress plugins fail, that’s a fact. To help you recover from a potentially disasterious scenario, we’ve published a short guide that describes how to fix plugin issues and even prepare for them.
Social media can do wonders for a fledgling website, and that means a social media plugin sits firmly under the category of “must have.”
Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress is one of the best options around – it’s easy to use, comes loaded with features, and produces stylish results. Best of all, though, the plugin can be purchased from Envato Market for just $18!
Are you using Easy Social Share Buttons? Share your experiences in the comments below!
If you’re looking for a beautiful theme to spruce up your WordPress-powered blog, we have recently published a post covering some of our favorites: 10 Powerful WordPress Themes for Bloggers.
Header & Social Image Source: Concepts for Social Media and Digital Marketing by PureSolution.
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