So you have invested thousands of dollars on what you hoped to be a killer website and/or blog. Yet something is still missing. You are still lacking social engagement.
You may be creating the right content but you are making it too difficult for people to share it with their friends and community. Visitors to your site may want to engage with you on other social networks and become part of your community. The problem is they can’t do much if they are not invited.
You can’t be too shy about inviting them to join your other platforms. You don’t have to tweet noise at them all day asking them to join you on Facebook. Instead, create compelling content and kindly include social plugins that make it easy for them to join you on other social networks, share your content if they so choose to do such.
We get many calls from small to enterprise corporate organizations asking us “please help make our site and online presence more social and get more customers.”
There is no easy answer to do such overnight, and no plug-in is going to solve your online marketing problems. However, there are few ways you can increase engagement in the short term as you work on building a real online conversion funnel and integrated strategy that will deliver results. One of the first ways it to ensure your website or blog is socially friendly. Make it easy for people to share, engage and contact you if they are interested to learn more about your products or services.
Below are 10 of my favorite WordPress plugins to increase engagement. While there are much more that could be included on this list, these are my favorite and what has helped my blog thrive the past few years.
Please feel free to add any I missed that you know and love in the comment section below.
10 WordPress Plugins to Increase Social Engagement and Build Community
1. Gravity Forms
One of the most important features any website or blog must have is the ability to contact the owner. Gravity forms make this easy. You can easily setup forms and use them on as many pages as you want with just a copy/paste of the shortcode via the WordPress toolbar when editing a page or post. Requires no programming or super technical skills to get started. You can set it up to send an automatic reply to a user submitting the form and also notify administrators as appropriate. It integrates easily with iContact and AWeber email marketing programs in addition to numerous other platforms and technologies.
2. Digg Dig
Enabling your visitors to easily share your content with their network is a key requirement for any successful blogger. Digg Digg is a social share bar that was acquired by BufferApp in 2011. I recommend including at a minimum the Twitter, Facebook like and share, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Buffer buttons. Buffer enables users to set a schedule for auto posting content to their social networks over a period of time versus all at once. Take time to learn how the plug-in works and how to modify it to your specific website design. There are options for the bar to float on the side of the page or have a single row of buttons below or above the content.
3. Social Stickers
It is important to make it easy for people to get to your social network profiles. An easy way to do such is to include these simple buttons in a widget on your sidebar or footer.
At the minimum, I recommend you include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your RSS feed and Google plus if you’re using it. Additional options are of course Pinterest, Slideshare, and more. Choose the buttons based on your goals, objectives, and audience.
4. Facebook Like Box
You can easily use the code provided by Facebook to include a like box anywhere you want on your blog or website. You can opt to include the conversation stream. At minimum, I suggest you include the faces of the people who like your page. By default, it will include friends of the person viewing the page if there are any.
5. Follow on Twitter button.
This is a one-click button to follow a Twitter account on Twitter. Within one click any visitor to your website or blog can follow you on Twitter. Pretty simple.
6. All in One SEO or Yoast for SEO Optimization.
One of the first things you also need is the ability for people to find your blog when searching for content. The model “just build it and they will come” is a myth. It no longer works that way, sorry. Truth is it never did.
Both of these plug-ins add much efficiency to properly optimizing your blog or website for the search engines. We use All in One SEO and have had great results for ourselves and client sites. However, we are also testing Yoast on a couple of sites right now. Both are good.
7. Facebook recommendations
Provide personal recommendations to visitors and encourage them to visit additional pages, share content with their Facebook community.
8. Facebook subscribe plug-in.
Makes it easy for people to subscribe to your personal Facebook profile status updates.