WordPress Plugin: Social Media Widget

September 15, 2011

Expanding the visibility of your WordPress site leveraging technology and social media.

Social Media. As if getting through your web presencing experience wasn’t harrowing enough.

The thing with technology is… there’s always more. More. More. More. So you probably feel even more behind and like you have further to go now, then you did before, when you only needed a uniquely-you custom designed WordPress website.

But let’s flip it. Cuz, I’m optimystical like that.

The thing with technology is… if it wants to continue to grow and expand into more, more, more… it must become easy, easy, easier or else, no body will come to the party.

Think about that for a second… technology must adapt and penetrate into more of the market, where less people have the specialized technical training like me and many others like me, already have.

No, you don’t want to learn HTML. You want to be focused on that special thing you do, and doing it. Using a web presence and social media… technology in general, to help.

You will need to learn about some of it. My bet though, is this pool will become less and less of a deep-dive and more of a slow wade across calm easy waters; as you layer in your own growth and expand you & your web presence into all you want it to be, step-by-step.

I refer to it as “eating the cookie one bite at a time.” Come on over to the optimystical side, we have cookies!

Easy Does It.

If you read many of my posts, you’ll know I favor a particular focus on ease. And easy. Following easy has expanded me & my biz in unimaginable ways. Do you feel invited yet? Good, because I want you to come follow easy with me.

Start where you are. That means if you are not yet twittering, don’t. Not yet. Don’t put the pressure on yourself to be somewhere you are not (yet). Can we make that deal, right now?

If you only have a LinkedIn profile… great and so what? Now what.

If you are somewhere between thinking about web presencing and being web presenced and continuing to expand it, you will at some point begin to think about social media. The 21st century networking gig of our technology-times.

And your first step into social media can be from right where you are. Wherever you are. Or are not. Even if you’d like to be in both the majors (Twitter and Facebook) and now the goliath that is Google has released Google+ … here we go again.

Social Media Widget: How to add social media icons
to your sidebar.

This WordPress plugin offers an all-in-one sidebar social media widget for your website.

Equipped with more than 40 social media networks, you decide which ones you are already a part of and as you expand into new markets, simply return to the widget to add your new social media profile URL in the appropriate field and presto… a new social media icon appears in your sidebar next to the rest of ‘em.

Social Media Widget offers 4 different icon sets to choose from in 3 standard icon sizes: 64×64, 32×32 (most common) and 16×16.

Get It
It’s a plugin. You can get it two ways. The easy way – searching the plugin directory from your WordPress admin dashboard or the good-ole-fashioned way – visit WordPress Plugins directory and download it.

Lucky for you, I have a 5-minute video in this post  where you can watch me go through the steps of using a WordPress admin dashboard to search for and install a different plugin, however, you’ll use the same steps to search and install the Social Media Widget.

Use It
After installing and activating the plugin, from Appearance > Widgets, simply drag the widget into your sidebar or any widgetized area. Configure the widget by choosing a title, select your preferred icon size, your alignment (center, left, right) preferences and then add the URLs to your various social media networks you are a part of like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg and Myspace. If you are using Feedburner, there is also a place to add your RSS feed and email subscription link.

adding a new social network to your Social Media Widget plugin

Obviously I keep the number icons I display to a minimum. More means more effort on the part of your web visitor to decide what to do next, so keep it simple. My social media sidebar icons looks like this:

the social media icons i use

Integrating Google+ with Social Media Widget

Update – September 21, 2011: The developer released an update to this plugin so that it now automatically includes the Google+ input field.

Well I’m hoping very soon, the developer of the Social Media Widget plugin that I install to almost every single WordPress installation I complete… has plans to accommodate Google+, the easy way; by pasting in my profile URL into the appropriate “Google+” input field.

But since there is not yet a “Google+” input field, we can suffice with taking advantage of what the developer has already thought about… extending the features with custom options.

Right now, you can extend the widget’s feature set with custom selected icons. This could be a complete set of custom designed icons you found on the web or simply by adding a new social media “channel,” both via the widget panel. You’ll see it, when you take a look. A few more steps are required beyond simply pasting in your profile URL, but you can see below where you can add a G+ icon and insert your profile URL and you’ll be good-to-go, Google+ style.

adding a custom icon for google plus in your Social Media Widget plugin

Time to plug me.

Need some help with any of this? I can consult hourly or do the whole she-bang… a custom designed & uniquely-you web presence. Here are the best ways to contact me.

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