8 WordPress Plugins to Supercharge Your Social Sharing

You want people to read your blog posts and think: “Wow, this is great! I have to share it!”

Right?

Of course, you want them to share with their friends or professional networks on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Perhaps to Pinterest or Instagram if you have great images. Reddit to reach a particular community. Or maybe to Evernote, StumbleUpon, or Instapaper for future reference.

There are no longer just a few big ones, but dozens, if not hundreds, of social media, sharing, and bookmarking networks today. You can hardly visit a web page any more without colorful icon bars floating around to help you share, like, tweet, bookmark, curate, or generally spread the word with a click or two.

But not all sharing bars are alike. In fact, on WordPress you can choose from dozens. Here’s my personal guide to the best:

Plugins and More Plugins

Sharing bars are plugins, and choosing among them requires some detailed comparison shopping — which I’ve started for you below.

Some are straightforward and easy to use, with a handful of nice designs to choose from. Maybe that’s all you need or want.

But some offer advanced features like tracking and analytics, integrations, link shortening, customizable sharing texts and titles, and fancy ways to make your icons appear, like popups and exit-intent fly-ins.

If you’re more advanced or feeling ready to up your game, one of these could be what you really want.

Caveat emptor

These plugins can boost your social media sharing efforts and get your posts more widely read. Custom texts and titles can increase reader click rates, for instance, and analytics can tell you what’s working and what’s not.

I’ve reviewed eight of these supercharger plugins below (plus four basic ones — so you actually get 12), and provided links so you can try them out and learn more.

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All but a couple plugins offer free versions with enough features to get you started, but cost money to unlock the advanced features. The premium price also includes more networks, sometimes a lot more. Some plugins require add-ons to get all the features — at additional cost, of course.

And although these “pro” or “premium” versions tend to be inexpensive (under $30), this is usually an annual or semi-annual cost. That is, you can keep using the plugin after the expiration, but you won’t continue receiving updates or support unless you renew, and you may even lose access to the advanced features if you don’t.

What I Looked For

Out of the dozens of social sharing plugins available, I only reviewed those with:

  • at least several thousand active installs,
  • a rating of at least 4.5 stars (out of 5; with two exceptions, which I explain),
  • a fairly recent update.

These are good criteria for any plugin you’re considering.

Also, see if they’re tested with your current version of WordPress. Some lag behind updates to the WordPress core platform, but a recent update could hint that another is forthcoming because it shows the developer is actively maintaining it.

Share iconBecause most of these plugins are free to start, feel free to try them out. It’s easy to install them directly from the WordPress plugin directory, and activate and de-activate them in turn through your dashboard. See how they appear on an actual post or two, then try the next.

Basic Plugins

These plugins are all free, and Sharify and AddToAny don’t even have a paid version. All include at least Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest (FTLGP) for free, and you can choose from one to several button designs. Paid versions get you more social networks and/or more design choices, customizations, or placement options (left/right, above/below, popup, etc). All offer a choice of whether to display share counts or not.

Sharify is clean and simple, probably the most basic plugin on the list. Its networks include Skype, Reddit, Pocket, and email along with FTLGP. You can customize tweets with a “via @username“ option. Sharify rates 4.2 as I write this (below my 4.5 cutoff), but its 10,000+ active installs make it among the most popular of sharing plugins.
Plugin Site

The free version of Add Social Share includes only one icon set and a few options, but a one-time $15 purchase (from inside the free plugin; $99 for unlimited sites) unlocks 15 nifty designs, animated icons, more placement locations, and 24/7 support. No additional networks beyond FTLGP, however.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

AccessPress Social Share starts with six networks and five themes, but the Pro version more than doubles that for a one-time cost of only $23 that includes free lifetime upgrades. And you can choose whether shares open in the same window, the same or a new tab, or a popup. With more than 60,000 installs and a 4.9-star rating, it’s a favorite of many.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

Social Media Builder starts for free with a balanced array of networks, themes, animation effects, and a drag-and-drop interface. But the single-site Personal version costs merely $7.95, which gets you nearly twice as many networks, 10 more themes (some quite cute), additional animation effects, and some advanced features like popups on load, scroll, exit intent, or after a certain number of seconds. To get Google Analytics integration, however, you’ll need the Multisite (5 sites) version, but that’s still only $17.95.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

Facebook iconThe Superchargers

#1 – Social Pug

I use Social Pug on my other blog because I like its combination of design options and functionality, but mostly because it’s one of the few that lets you optimize sharing text and titles. That is, social sharing normally defaults to displaying the post title and first paragraph. But that may not be what you want; maybe the first paragraph is not the substance you want to share.

With Social Pug, you create custom texts and titles for individual posts, optimized for particular channels. With the Premium version ($24/year) you can create Twitter- and Pinterest-specific content, and custom content for Facebook, Google+, and other networks that use the Open Graph standard.

The Premium version also adds Bitly link shortening, mobile-sticky and popup buttons, and a Follow button widget as well as more networks and icon placements. With 4.9 stars and 20,000+ active installs, it’s an excellent choice at a reasonable price.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

#2 – Social Warfare

The premise of Social Warfare is that how your content is shared matters more than whether it’s shared.

I use it for The Tech Uncle Blog because of its all-around balance of display choices, social sharing optimization (SSO), and advanced options like Bitly link shortening and Google Analytics. At $29/year it’s a good value.

With its “click to tweet” function I can create tweetable quotes right inside my posts or pages, like the blue box below the next paragraph.

The developer recently changed Social Warfare so you no longer unlock premium features, but can install add-ons à la carte to the free core plugin. That promises even more advanced functionality (for a price, of course).
Plugin Site | Developer Site

How your content is shared matters more than whether it’s shared.Click To Tweet

#3 – AddToAny

AddToAny may be the most popular plugin on this list, with more than 300,000 active installs. It’s simple and straightforward, but includes pro features like Google Analytics integration and link shortening via Bitly and Google, which earns it a place down here instead of in the Basic Buttons list. It’s optimized for retina and mobile displays, and can share from a network’s native or web app. For the price (free), it’s an awesome value.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

#4 – GetSocial.io

GetSocial.io boasts 33 social media networks, but requires you to activate an account to use it, and some of the networks are available only in the paid Starter (or higher) plan. The free Basic plan includes neat features like smart popups and reaction buttons, but only up to 50,000 visits/month. Still the Starter kit costs only $9/month ($7/month prepaid annually), but that includes all tools, native integrations with MailChimp, InfusionSoft, Bitly, and more; Google Analytics requires the Insights plan at $79/month.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

#5 – MashShare

MashShare installs Facebook and Twitter buttons the moment you activate it, as well as a “subscribe” button, but it’s for the true social media geek. Its main selling point is being modeled after Mashable, apparently no small thing for its 50,000 users. The free version includes both Bitly and Google link shortening and Open Graph optimization, but it requires paid add-ons for most social networks and features like floating sidebars, Facebook Like bars, click-to-tweet, and other advanced features. All of these require separate annual renewals.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

#6 – WPSSO

WPSSO (WordPress Social Sharing Optimization) replaced NGFB (NextGen Facebook), but the developer says it will support NGFB for years to come. WPSSO is NGFB without the social sharing buttons. That makes WPSSO lighter and faster, but also more expensive if you still want the buttons.

To get the same functionality as NGFB, you now need WPSSO ($49/year single-site) and RRSSB (Ridiculously Responsive Social Sharing Buttons) for $19/year for a single site. I used to use NGFB on another blog, but I didn’t like the inconsistent appearance and placement of the buttons. To be fair, a lot of users seem not to have an issue with that.

On the other hand, what I really liked a lot was the ability to customize the sharing titles and texts for individual posts, not just for Open Graph sites like Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, but for Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and even email. You can even preview how each post will look when shared, and for all its complexity, NGFB was fairly easy to use (WPSSO’s interface is identical).
WPSSO Plugin Site | Developer Site
RRSSB Plugin Site

Twitter#7 – Social Share Buttons

With Social Share Buttons you create “projects” to install buttons in different places (e.g. left sidebar), with 19 networks at your disposal. The free version also comes with basic analytics for each project, so you can easily compare the effectiveness of different placements. Additional Pro plugins let you create nifty things like popups and sliders, photo galleries, live chat, Google maps, and more. Each plugin costs $29 or $39 for lifetime use, but you can buy the whole bundle of 13 for a one-time cost of $59, an 80% savings. It only ranks 4.1 stars at this writing (below my cutoff line), but with more than 20,000 active installs, I thought such a large user base warranted an exception.
Plugin Site | Developer Site

#8 – Easy Social Share

Easy Social Share easily has the most comprehensive set of options and customizations. Its series of full-page dashboards cover A/B testing, Google Analytics, social media metrics, and much more. It’s not for the faint of heart. Nor the solopreneur. You need a department.

It integrates natively with affiliate programs and email platforms like MailChimp, GetResponse, and Active Campaign. Its design customization options include ready-made styles modeled after major sites like Mashable and Copyblogger.

A mere $19 gets you six months of support (extendable to 12 months for $5.63 more). No free version, but you can log in to a live demo to see and handle the whole thing.
Developer Site

Supercharge Your Social Life

For supercharged sharing, installing an advanced plugin isn’t enough. You need to actually write customized titles and descriptions for your blog post.

That’s why I created a template to write all my SEO and SSO (social sharing optimization) texts and titles before I publish. This way I have them all in one place, handy for future reference or use.

I write all my social media texts together, and keep them in a separate file from the blog post. That makes it fast and easy to copy them into the plugin pane below the post editing window, or any time I want to share the post in the future.

Now you can easily do the same thing.

Sharing My Sharing

I turned this practice of mine into a free template so you can organize your own social media posting. It’s a PDF form with fields for your own texts, along with tips and tactics for writing more effective sharing titles and descriptions. It also includes SEO titles and descriptions to get your blog better found and displayed in search results.

Write your email address into the box below, click the button, and get your own copy delivered right away.

Which sharing plugin do you use, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Randy Lyman
 

I'm The Tech Uncle. I’m a content producer. I help small and young businesses get their online tech and content working together so they can have more time, money, and energy to focus on their core mission.

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