Social Essentials is a WordPress plugin that mainly does two things:
It allows you to easily add social sharing buttons to your posts and/or pages.
It provides you an overview of your social sharing stats, across all of your posts and pages.
Plugins that add social sharing buttons are a dime a dozen, but we've taken things a bit further with Social Essentials. We've created an very easy-to-use interface where you can customize and style your buttons. Change the button order with drag-and-drop, pick small or large icons, automatically insert the icons at the beginning and/or end of your posts, pages and your homepage. In addition, you can easily add a call to action, such as "Share this Post!" next to the icons, to call attention to the buttons and increase your visitors' social engagement.
More importantly, with this plugin, you'll get an overview of your social sharing stats. You'll easily be able to see all the sharing stats for facebook, twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon and Pinterest, for each of your most recent posts and pages. Plus, you can see your top most successful posts, ranked by how much they've been shared across all those networks. This will help you determine what kind of content has the most viral potential, on your site and what topics to create more content about.
You can download Social Essentials from the WordPress plugins directory. Once you've downloaded the .zip file, unpack it and upload it to the wp-content/plugins/ folder on your server.
And easier method is to log in to your WordPress admin area, go to "Plugins" and "Add New" and then simply type "social essentials" into the search field. The first result that comes up will be this plugin and you can then install it simply by clicking on "install now":
Note that when you first install Social Essentials, all the button options are deactivated. This means you can install and activate it and then set up the type and style of buttons you want to display, before anything goes live on your site.
There are two settings you need to activate and save, before buttons appear on your site:
[caption id="attachment_4150" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="1) Select at least one button to display."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_4151" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="2) Select at least one of the display options."][/caption]
Please note that especially on the homepage, the automatic insertion of the social buttons might not work. There are so many different themes with so many different homepage styles, we can't accommodate for them all.
Alternatively, you can insert the buttons within the contents of any post or page, by using this simple short code:
[code] [social_essentials] [/code]
Or you can edit your theme's PHP files directly and add this code snippet:
[code] <?php echo do_shortcode('[social_essentials]'); ?> [/code]
You can also use these short codes to insert large or small buttons, independently from the settings in the main setup menu:
[code] [social_essentials_small] [/code]
[code] [social_essentials_large] [/code]
How to Use Social Essentials
The stats mostly explain themselves. I recommend using the stats to figure out the "socially hot" topics on your site. If you have a post that was especially enthusiastically shared, it might be worth expanding on that topic and it might also be worth expanding, updating and re-publishing the post at a later date.
As for the social sharing buttons, I recommend not adding all of them to your site. We've already kept the selection of buttons to what we believe is a reasonable minimum, because we know that it's better to have buttons for the best, most popular, highest-traffic social sites than to have hundreds of buttons for sites no one's ever heard about.
In general, the more options you present to your readers, the less likely they are to take any action at all, at a certain point. I recommend using between three and four of the six available buttons. Of course, it's up to you. Different buttons make more or less sense for different types of sites, depending on the topics you cover and the types of content you publish.
If you haven't used buttons before, simply look at your stats and see what social sites people have been using to spread your content on, of their own accord. Or, if you previously used a plugin or widget with dozens of sharing options, check the stats to see which ones were used the most. Then, set Social Essentials to only display those buttons.
Updates and Bugs
Several updates are planned. If you have suggestions or if you've found a bug, please leave a comment below! Thanks!