2013 has been declared a lot of things.
The year that mobile finally matures. The year that social is fully integrated into business. The year that users fully integrate the smartphone and tablet into their daily routine. The year that brands combine convenience, simplicity, proximity, and real-time marketing.
For my money, the real opportunity exists in a brand’s ability to deliver contextually-relevant content that speaks to discrete audience archetypes and segments of a target audience – particularly as Google moves to context-based algorithms that get your content into the hands and eyes of users intent on targeted discovery.
According to the 2013 content marketing research reports for B2B and B2C industries by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 91 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers are using content marketing. Additionally, 54 percent of B2B marketers and 55 percent of B2C marketers will increase their content marketing spend in the next 12 months.
If you’re looking for ways to become a better and more effective content marketing pro, start with the basics where most of your content likely sits: your company’s blog. Social sharing and optimization plugins have lasting and measurable effects on your site’s traffic and engagement metrics.
Here are a few favorites, all compatible and tested on the most recent WordPress release.
Acquired by Buffer early last year, Digg Digg includes chicklet-sized sharing buttons for all the most commonly used social networks. You can include lesser known networks if you’d like, but look at your analytics and see where most of your referral traffic is coming from first. It can be configured to display social sharing buttons in either a floating sidebar or at the footer of each post.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Out of the box, WordPress has search functionality built in, but the WordPress packs a little extra SEO punch. When you’re writing digital content, you’re writing for two audiences: the human readers and the search engine spiders.
Optimizing title tags, meta descriptions and body text around keywords and phrases makes it easier for your writing to be found by readers and more easily indexed by Google.
There’s also social integration, so you can tie in Facebook Open Graph and Google+ sharing tags.
Facebook Social Plugins
With over 1 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the de facto social platform for most businesses. Use the official Facebook Social Plugins. The “Like” and “Send” buttons are the most popular. Compared to the other plugin recommendations included in this post, these require a bit of HTML know-how, but Facebook has provided ample documentation and sample code to make full use of their plugins.
A final tip: keep your plugin directory lean. Too many plugins and social sharing buttons can increase load-times on your site, as well as increase the likelihood of security breaches.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, so if you’re investigating other plugins to make your content more optimized and more shareable, make sure that they are regularly updated and have good support literature.
Did we miss any? What are your favorite social sharing and content optimization plugins?