As bloggers, apart from traffic from search engines, we are aware that social networks plays a substantial part referring visitors to our blog. It is a source that cannot be underestimated. The bad thing about social media is that it takes time and effort to build your fan base and authority. It’s not going to happen overnight, and in order to grow our social accounts and bring traffic, we need to be active and regular in sharing posts and interesting content. These social activities can take a fair bit of our time and resources if we need to manage many accounts over different social platforms. And if this is going to be our daily and regular routine, why not make it automated right? In this short post, I have handpicked 3 of the plugins that I have personally used and tested on different blogs of mine. All these plugins are free to use, with the options for you to upgrade if you outgrown your requirements, or need more features.
The plugin Jetpack comes packed with many many features that you can use for your blog. But for now, I’ll just talk about how it can increase your social productivity by auto-posting to social networks when you publish new content on your WordPress blog. Jetpack connects up to 6 different social networks as per follows:
The number of networks supported by Jetpack is nothing to shout about. BUT, it can auto-share to Google+ (page or profile), which is a BIG thing for a FREE plugin. If your post is appearing on Google+ as a private share (i.e. shared only to you), this is probably caused by the Google Plus, and can be resolved by tweaking it’s settings. More about the settings here.
For Facebook, it only limits you to choosing either your personal profile or Facebook Page. Doesn’t really matter if you separate personal and work. Besides, you can always use another WordPress plugin or web-tool to do the necessary sharing.
Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn are pretty straightforward. Just hit the connect button and provide the necessary credentials and you are done.
One drawback, is the lack of option for us to customize how we want our posts to appear on the selected social networks. Most of the plugins give us the ability to format the post to our preferences to include/exclude items such as title, URL, excerpt, hashtags, categories, etc.
2. NextScripts (SNAP)
SNAP is a powerful social network auto-poster created by NextScripts. The plugin supports more than 20 social networks for you to auto-share to. Whenever you publish new posts on your WordPress blog, these posts can be shared automatically and immediately to your selected networks, or alternatively you can have them scheduled using WP Cron. The latter method may work better if you prefer to staggered and have your posts shared in different timing.
SNAP is available on free or paid plans. Take a look at the table to see what social networks you can auto-share to between these two versions.
|Free Version||PRO Version|
|Flickr & more||Reddit & more*|
*includes those in the free version.
There are a number of reasons why I personally prefer SNAP over other paid plugins. Here are some:
- The plugin doesn’t self-promote themselves when our content are shared to the social networks. For example: “Shared via NextScripts.com” or “Posted by SNAP for WordPress” messages.
- Many ways to format how your content appear in different social networks.
- Able to auto-import Facebook comments into WordPress comments.
- Able to auto-import Twitter replies and mentions as WordPress comments.
- Exclude or include categories.
- Able to share/post to multiple networks simultaneously without publishing any WordPress posts. Very useful if you want to write unique content specifically for micro-blogs, etc.
- Able to choose and use your URL shortener. Great for obtaining stats, and tracking the number of clicks on your links.
Why bother paying for the PRO version?
One key benefit and advantage is that you get to auto-post to much more social networks. It saves you time, effort and makes you more productive. Networks such as Google+, Instagram and YouTube do not have provide any free native API for automated posting, so in order for us to auto-share on these social platforms, we need to use NextScript’s API.
The cost is $49 per year which is consider fair since the plugin supports lots of networks, frequently updated, and comes with comprehensive settings for customization. Other than that, the PRO version also provides the feature for you to add multiple accounts for each social network. If we can have the cron job done via a 3rd party or NextScripts, that will be perfect.
3. Microblog Poster
Depending on your requirements, it’s either you love or hate Microblog Poster. There are good features that makes you want to use it, but there are also features you wish it’s available for free to use. Let’s go through the facts, the good, and then the bad.
The number of social networks support is not a lot compared to other plugins. It’s better than Jetpack in this aspect though. Currently Microblog Poster only supports 11 platforms. I do hope more get supported since this plugin really has plenty of potential to be a big player.
- twitter.com – Auto post to your account.
- facebook.com – Auto publish to profile wall.
- plurk.com – Auto post to your account.
- delicious.com – Auto submit bookmark of your post.
- diigo.com – Auto submit bookmark of your post.
- linkedin.com – Auto publish to profile wall.
- tumblr.com – Auto publish to your blog.
- blogger.com (blogspot.com) – Auto publish to your blog.
- instapaper.com – Auto submit bookmark of your content.
- vk.com (vkontakte.com) – Auto publish to profile wall.
- xing.com – Auto publish to profile wall.
- Supports multiple account for each social network (even for FREE accounts!)
- Auto-republish your old posts.
- The cost is only one-time $49, and includes future all days.
- Purchase is backed by 30 day guarantee.
- URL shortener available.
- No self-promotion links on your shared posts.
- Does not support Google+ and Pinterest.
- Cannot auto-post to LinkedIn company page and Facebook Page (only made available for paid plans)
I have seen many plugins come and go. It doesn’t only happen to auto-post plugins. Most WordPress plugins started free or freemium, but eventually either ends up a pay-to-use model, or die peacefully because the developer no longer wants to continue the development for free. Jetpack is the only plugin that managed to stay free and reliable as much as I can remember over these years. It’s good to start free, but think long term too. If you are considering a plugin, do factor in how you may outgrow these plugins, and make sure that their paid plans are something you can trust and depend on.