This is the guest post by Marco Mijatovic from First Site Guide
The world is a social place. It always has been, but recently the availability of outlets for that innate desire of humans to connect to the wider world has expanded dramatically. Social media isn’t so much a wave to catch as a tsunami you’ve got to try to stay on top of if you don’t want to drown.
Why you need a social media strategy.
Everyone needs a social media strategy. Social media drives, as of the beginning of 2015, 31 percent of referral traffic! So if you don’t have a functioning social media strategy, you’re missing out on a third of your potential site traffic. If you’re running a business with online sales or a sales funnel starting at your site, you can extrapolate how much income you’re losing there.
Fortunately for WordPress users, whether casual or power users, Automattic has done a lot to make the platform social media friendly.
Which networks your site should focus on will depend a bit on who you intend to reach. B2B companies will want to lean more heavily on LinkedIn, image-heavy or crafty sites will really shine on Instagram and Pinterest. Regardless, the tools exist to facilitate that connection.
What WordPress does out of the box.
Right out of the box (if you include Jetpack) WordPress lets you share your content automatically on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Path, and Google+ via its Publicize function.
Additionally, it lets you choose from a number of sharing options to offer your readers, not only all of the sites above (minus Path), but Reddit, email, printing the article out, and Pinterest.
What WordPress lacks out of the box.
WordPress in its generic form doesn’t offer much in the way of image and video sharing, which is a problem for many people in today’s multimedia world. This will probably change moving forward, but for now it’s a definite weak spot.
Fortunately, WordPress’ codex of free and paid plugins has stepped up to fill any and all gaps in the platform’s armor.
What you can do with free plugins.
Social media plugins for WordPress range from bare-bones to ridiculously complicated, from free to extremely expensive, and from fully on-site to fully off-site services. There’s a lot to choose from out there.
There’s no quick and easy way to outline your options and compare one to the other, but you’re going to find four basic types of services to choose from, most containing several plugins which meet the basic criteria.
Free and Barebones but Terrible
There are a lot of terrible social media plugins out there. Avoid them at all costs. Instead, search out popular plugins with good rankings. There are many to choose from, so this shouldn’t be a challenge.
Free and Barebones but Good
On the pro side of the fence, it’s hard to argue with the cost, and there are plenty of great free options out there. This is probably a great place to start, maybe try a few, and see what sort of style you like. On the cons side, these options tend to offer little in the way of automation, so it’s going to take a bit of your time to keep a social media presence alive.
Subscription and Full-Featured
Often, these are subscriptions unlocking features on the “freemium” version of a plugin (another good reason to start with the free versions) and come with a wider array of features. The big thing that most plugins put behind a paywall is advanced automation. If you don’t have time to, or don’t like doing, social media, this may be the right option for you.
Really Expensive Options Full of Things You Don’t Need
There are a lot options out there which cater to large businesses and/or PR firms, and usually they do a lot of things you don’t need to do, or need to know how to do. Do you have just the one website? Well, then you probably don’t need up to ten different Twitter feeds. There’s no point in paying for something unneeded, and there’s no reason to put money down on these functions until you really know your way around social media.
There are additional plugins available to convince people to join your email lists, share your images more effectively, keep track of visitors, and help you tailor your articles for ideal sharing potential.
Where to go from here.
This is very much a toe in the water of social media on WordPress, but it should be a decent place to get your bearings before you get to work on your blog.
We at WP-Solution (WordPress Solution) are using Social Web Suite for Social Media Automation!