So, you’ve created a killer blog post. You’ve got your content length down, your images uploaded and ready to go, your Pinterest graphic designed and attached to your post and worked your socks off on you SEO for the post.
What’s next? You hit ‘Publish’ in the hope that your post will go viral and drive thousands of page views to your blog. Sound about right?
You’re not alone there. Most of us follow this routine in the blogging world. But what if there was a way in which your blog post could be passively shared with very little effort from you? Enter social sharing icons.
Those little icons which you notice at the top, bottom, and even floating in the sides of people’s blog posts are called social sharing icons. And they aren’t placed there to be annoying. No. The blogger has carefully placed these icons in optimum positions to encourage readers who enjoyed their blog post to share it on social media, therefore increasing the blog posts reach to a wider audience.
Have you ever been on a website and seen icons in a blog post which allow you to share the post to social media platforms? Those are social sharing icons. The purpose of these icons is to make it easier for people to share your blog posts. Rather than them having to open up a social media platform, copy and paste your URL, and then write a description, you’ve done the hard work for them. All your reader needs to do is click on the icon of the social media platform they wish to share to, and hit publish. Voila, they’re done and you’ve had your post shared with potential readers.
Take a look at the top of this post. My social sharing icons are in bright pink to help them stand out! On the desktop version of my blog I also have floating social sharing icons so people can share my content as they read the post. This feature is disabled in the mobile version of my site for better readability.
The example above is of social sharing icons placed at the top of each of my blog posts. Using the plugin which I use (Grow by Mediavine – more on that in a minute), I can also add these social sharing icons at the bottom of my blog post as well.
I’ve opted against this option of installing the above buttons at the bottom of my blog posts for two reasons:
- I use the social sharing icons which come pre-installed as an option as part of my blog’s theme
- I also use floating social sharing icons on the side of my blog
In short, social sharing icons enable your readers to share content with their social media audience which they liked from your site. It’s a little thing called ‘social proof.’
Essentially, by sharing your content to their audience, your reader is saying that they like and approve of your content from that particular page or post and they think others should read it.
You can’t afford to spend all week on a blog post only to have it fade into obscurity in just a few days. You need those social shares if you want to drive more organic, inbound traffic.Neil Patel
A good social sharing plugin will enable you to set the information for your blog post before someone shares it. For example, you should be able to set the images, titles, descriptions and links to the blog post so that when your reader hits an icon to share your post, the information is already populated for them. Yes, this requires a little more effort on your part, but the potential rewards can pay dividends in terms of traffic to your site.
Placing Your Social Sharing Icons
When placing your social sharing icons, you need to have consideration for your reader. Anything that looks too spammy, or prevents the reader from reading your blog post properly, and they’ll just click off and look for the information elsewhere.
And this is not what you want at all!
It’s for this reason that I place my social sharing icons in three strategic places on each of my blog posts:
- At the top of the blog post – this allows readers without too much time to quickly pin or share the information to read for later
- At the bottom of the blog post – this allows readers who have enjoyed the blog post and feel the content would be valuable to others to share it
- Floating in the side of my blog post – this placement allows for a mix of people who fall into both of the above categories. Perhaps they started reading my post, but didn’t have time to finish it and want to pin for later. Or potentially they have found the information they need and don’t want to read anymore. Or, they have scrolled past one of the previous two social sharing options and now want to share my post without faffing around and finding the previous sharing icons.
When you’ve thought about placement, consider customisation also. Do the buttons fit in with the theme of your site? Do you want them in the colours of the social media sites (i.e. their default) or something more in keeping with your theme? (Like how mine are bright pink!).
Personally, I have used two social sharing plugins in the past: Grow by Mediavine and Social Warfare. I am currently using Grow by Mediavine. I switched over simply because I found a lot of people were raving about Grow and I wanted to see what all the fuss was for myself. In actual fact, I find very little difference between the functions and use of both of the plugins, so whichever you choose will ultimately come down to personal preference.
For me, the top reasons and features for using a social sharing plugin were:
- To make it easy for my readers to share my blog posts
- Easily set information for sharing posts to different social networks with images which were suited to those platforms
- Add a Pinterest hover button on my blog easily
- Include Tweet quotes where I wanted to within my posts
Above all, whichever plugin I used needed to be lightweight so as not to slow my site down in any way.
Both Grow by Mediavine and Social Warfare offer these features (most, but not all, on their free plans too!). Both also claim not to affect your site speed. Their other features are covered in more depth below.
Grow by Mediavine
The product I currently use for my social sharing icons is Grow by Mediavine. Formally known as Social Pug, there are two versions of this plugin; the free version, and the paid-for version. Depending on your needs will depend on which option you go for. The free version is free forever and downloadable from the WordPress plugin section of your dashboard, whilst the paid-for version will set you back $34 per year.
Taken from their official product page on WordPress, this table compares the free and premium features of the Grow plugin:
|Free Features||Premium Features|
|Before and After Content Social Share Buttons – Place the social share buttons right before your content, after your content or both|
Floating Sidebar Social Share Buttons – Make the social share buttons follow the user as he/she scrolls up and down your webpage by adding floating buttons on the left or right side of the screen
Social Share Counts and Total Share Counts – Display social share counts for all social media networks, including Twitter
Editable Button Labels – Edit the labels that appear in the share buttons, to maximize your engagement
Retina Ready Sharp Share Icons – Grow Social by Mediavine uses an icon font to display the best looking social media icons on any screen
|10+ Social Media Networks more – Reach more people by adding any of the following social share networks Reddit, VK, Yummly, WhatsApp, Buffer, Telegram, Flipboard, Pocket, Tumblr and Email|
Mobile Sticky Footer Social Share Buttons – Your website needs to be mobile ready and Grow Social by Mediavine is here to help
Pop-Up Social Share Buttons – Trigger a pop-up with the social sharing buttons when a user does an action
Custom Button Colors and Hover Colors – The social networks colors are beautiful, but you don’t have to limit yourself. Add any color to your social share buttons to match your website’s design.
Shortcode for Social Share Buttons – Place the buttons anywhere in your template files or the body of your content with the [mv_grow_share] shortcode
Link Shortening through Bitly – Hide long URL’s behind their shorter version with the Bitly integration
Google Analytics UTM tracking – Track the source of your incoming traffic with the help of the Google Analytics UTM parameters
Social Media Follow Buttons Widget – Place social media follow buttons for the following social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Twitch, Yummly and Behance. Use the [mv_grow_follow] shortcode to place the follow buttons anywere in your template files
Sharable Quotes ( Click to Tweet ) Feature – Let your readers easily share a custom tweet with just one click
Top Social Media Shared Posts Widget – Want to showcase your most social shared articles? No problem. You can use this widget in any widget area to add your top shared posts
Import / Export Settings – Move all the settings from one website to another with just a few clicks
Personally, I really like Grow by Mediavine. I find the plugin easy to use and customise. Once installed, I simply needed to select which social sharing icon locations I wanted to use (floating side bar, inline content, or both) and then set the customisation settings for which social media platforms I wanted my readers to be able to share to and the design of the buttons. I could then activate other options depending on what additional social sharing options I wanted to use.
On the note of choosing social media icons for sharing your post, don’t choose all of them.
Consider where your audience is, or could be. As tempting as it is to stuff every social sharing icon in as possible, too many can overwhelm your reader, or make finding the icon they want difficult to find. Personally, I stick to the main platforms where I know my audience are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Social Warfare is another plugin which offers very similar features to Grow by Mediavine. Slightly cheaper than Grow, Social Warfare comes in at just $29 per year. So there’s a bit of a saving to be had if you want a premium social sharing plugin but are on a tighter budget. The free version is available from the plugin section of your WordPress dashboard.
Taken from their website, the table below explains the features available in the free and paid-for plans:
|Free Features||Premium Features|
|WordPress Sharing Plugin – You can choose from the top social networks sharing buttons, including: Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; LinkedIn; StumbleUpon|
Social Proof – Proudly display how many times your content has been shared.
Popular Posts Widget Based on Social Share Counts – You can even choose to display your most popular posts based on which social network they were popular on!
Click to Tweet Quotes – A simple and effective way to create tweetable quotes right inside your posts or pages. This has proven to increase the average number of tweets per article dramatically.
Use Shortcodes to Manually Place Share Buttons Anywhere – If you want to place buttons in the middle of an article, you can with our [social_warfare] shortcode.
|Additional Sharing Options – In addition to the default 6 sharing buttons that Social Warfare gives, Pro license holders get access to the following social network share buttons: Reddit; Tumblr; Yummly; WhatsApp; Pocket; Buffer; Hacker News; Flipboard; Email|
Pin All the Images – Enable the Image Hover Pin Button.
Powerful Share Customization – Decide exactly which image, title and description appears when your content is shared on sites like Facebook and Google+. This also applies to any other networks that use Open Graph data for social shares.
Custom Design and Placement – Customize which sharing networks you display, how your buttons look and where they show up.
Minimum Social Proof
Share Recovery: Your Lost Share Counts Recovered!
Social Authorship, Twitter Cards, Rich Pins, and More!
Link Shortening, Analytics Campaign Tracking, and Button Click Tracking
Like Grow by Mediavine, I found Social Warfare very easy to use. Once the plugin was installed, I just had to select which social sharing icons I wanted to use and customise them to suit my blog theme. I could then activate other features as I wanted from the plugin to enhance the social sharing features.
Click to purchase Social Warfare Pro for only $29 >>
In conclusion, social sharing icons are a must for your blog posts. They enable your readers to share your content that they like in an easy manner which ultimately can lead to more traffic to your site.
We’ve looked at just two options for social sharing plugins in this post. But, there are plenty more out there. Which social sharing plugins do you use? Do you have a favourite that you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was proofread using Grammarly.