6 Blog Add-Ons That Spur Social Media Activity

Got a blog? Are you on Facebook or Twitter? How about your readers—are they using social networks?

Want to make it easy for readers to share your great content with their tribes? If so, keep reading as I share six social media add-ons you can effortlessly integrate into your blog today. Your immediate result: much better engagement with your readers. And by the way, I’ve used them all—many on this very site.

An aside… The key to encouraging social activity is making it easy for people to act. The less friction there is between desire and action the more likely people will share your content or reach out to you. Fortunately these six excellent tools make encouraging activity easy—and dare I say, fun!

#1 TweetMeme—The Ultimate in Social Proof

In times past it was said that comments were the currency of bloggers. But far too often outstanding content only attracts a comment or two. What if there was a better way to determine if people like your posts (while also driving traffic to your blog)? Well now there is. Introducing TweetMeme’s Retweet Button.

TweetMeme’s button provides readers an effortless way to share your post on Twitter (and much more). Readers simply push a button and your post shows up on their Twitter feeds—driving more traffic to your page! But the real power is in the number it displays on your page. Every time anyone tweets about your article, TweetMeme tracks and displays a number on the page (whether they used the button or not).

This is one of the most powerful social barometers I have ever seen. The bigger the TweetMeme number, the more others feel compelled to read your content and share it.

You can add the TweetMeme badge anywhere on any page (blog or not). I like to display it at the top of the page. The higher the number, the more likely it broadcasts to readers, “Others think this is important, so you need to read this too!”

I really like the WordPress plugin (note that other platforms are also supported) because you can substitute your own Bit.ly account (a URL tracking service) and include your own Twitter ID in any retweets.

Here’s an added bonus. If one of your readers has a TweetMeme account (not required to use), when he or she clicks the “retweet” button, TweetMeme publishes the page to their Twitter account without leaving the page, a really powerful feature.

#2 DISQUS Comment System—The Ultimate in User Engagement

DISQUS is a VERY powerful comment system that takes over your existing blog’s comment functions and adds very powerful features. For example, with DISQUS readers can add video comments or leave comments using their Twitter or Facebook ID, and you can have multiple individuals moderate your comments.

I was a bit critical of DISQUS when I first reviewed it.  However, the service has since increased its features.

A few of my favorite capabilities include an indented comment stream (see image below) and the ability to add and display new comments without the page reloading. The experience is so user-friendly that I found people leaving a lot more comments after I installed DISQUS.

Also, if you have a free account with DISQUS, it recognizes you whenever you visit a site that uses the service. This means no need to type in your name and email, simply leave a comment.

A few pointers: As a commenter, you should register yourself with DISQUS. When you do, set up your name and website address so it will display properly when you leave a comment (under Profile | My Settings). So instead of non-identifiable ID I was assigned (like MikeS22) I can customize it to say “Michael Stelzner” and link to my site. If you do not do this, your name appears abbreviated and will not link back to your site, making it hard for folks to discover more about you based on your brilliant comments. While you’re in there, add an avatar or link to one from your Twitter account.

#3 Gravatar.com—Faces Make Comments Come to Life

Gravatar is a universal platform that displays a reader’s picture based on the email address he or she enters into a blog’s comment form. Thus, when you visit a blog and leave a comment, your email address is matched against the Gravatar database and your picture displays (see sample below). This only works if you have registered your email address with Gravatar and added a picture.

I’m pretty sure the latest versions of WordPress work automatically with Gravatar. However, if you are hosting an older WordPress blog, you’ll want to install WP-Gravatar for Gravatar support.

A few tips.  If you have multiple email accounts, set them all up under your Gravatar account to ensure your mug shot always appears, regardless of which email address you use.

#4 Sexy Bookmarks Plugin—The Easy Way to Share Great Content

There are a number of tools that allow your readers to share your post on different social networks, but none come close to Sexy Bookmarks.

This WordPress plugin allows you to display the social sites of your choosing and is visually appealing.  When a user “mouses over” an icon, it animates on the screen.  And yes, you change the “Sharing is sexy!” text.

The backend of this WordPress plugin is exceptionally sophisticated. For example, you can enter in your Bit.ly API code and the plugin will use your account to create tracing URLs.

#5 Twitter Follow Badge—The Simple Way to Grow Twitter Followers

Twitter Follow Badge creates a nifty little button that always remains on the page as users scroll through your content, making it easy for them to follow you on Twitter. You also can customize it to match the color scheme of your site and determine where you want it to live on the page.

The main benefit of this little widget is folks can easily follow you on Twitter.

#6 Meebo Me—Adding Live Chat to Your Page

Ever been to a website that said, “Click here to speak to a live agent”? How would you like something like that for your blog (or any web page for that matter)? You can with Meebo Me, a simple embedded chat system you can place on any page (or all pages) of your site.

This free service allows anyone to chat with you immediately. What’s cool about this is it integrates into all your other chat accounts. So now you can have them all in one interface AND still answer live questions from your readers.

This chat capability is very powerful and should also be used on your product landing pages.

So what do you think? Do you use any of these tools with success? Do you have others to share? I’d like to hear from you. Just type in your message below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.webuildyourblog.com/ Andrew Rondeau

    I recently installed the TweetMeme button for my clients and myself. It has made a huge difference to my traffic and my clients love me!

    I do like the look of the Sexy Bookmarks Plugin. I currently use the Sociable and Share This plugins but the sexy one looks…SEXY!

    I also have the Twitter Counter plugin installed. It helps increase your followers especially when they see you have a big following in the first place.

    Andrew

  • http://www.gregprogramming.com/ Greg

    I’m a fan of sites using the TweetMeMe; I think its a good help

  • http://redefinetheexperience.com/ Sherryayn

    I had all but Disqus and Meebo. I agree, these are amazing tools!
    Does Disqus increase PR rating more than another comment plugin with the same features?

  • http://twitter.com/sherryayn sherryayn

    I notice you don’t use the Gravatar plugin! lol – I’d rather have that than the pop up to register to the site. Although the login with Twitter is cool too. Though now I’m registered and I didn’t want to be.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Sherry,

    I do use Gravatar on another site. Because I use the DISQUS comment system here I do not use Gravatar. DISQUS used to automatically pull your pic from Gravatar, but I do not think it does that anymore.

    With DISQUS there is no need to register if you comment as a guest. BTW, since you did register, change your name to something different than sherryayn (like first and last name).

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Can you elaborate what you mean by PR rating?

  • http://twitter.com/mishanestor Misha Nestor

    Great post! Thanks a lot!

  • http://Foodservice.com David Smania

    A very helpful list – thank you. I have found DISQUS really easy to use as well.

    As a publisher, does the commentary content still reside on your servers, or is this hosted by DISQUS?

    Side note: The “link to comment’, option in the DISQUS email notification has been broken recently, resulting in an Error 404.

    David Smania / Foodservice.com

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey David – The good news about DISQUS is that comments stay in WordPress AND in DISQUS, so there is a backup if you ever remove DISQUS.

    Mike

  • http://twitter.com/mariansparks marian sparks!

    Hi Mike,Great list of Blog Add-ons to spark social media activity. Now you’ve got me taking inventory…#1 – I installed Tweetmeme on my “sandbox” blog but never activated it on my main. No acceptable excuse other than, it’s on “the list” {smiling sheepishly!}. I think what stopped me was deciding (gets people all the time) whether I want the button at the top right or at the bottom. While I get the logic of the power of putting it on the right. It’s a little off putting when the # of re-tweets are low to zero for a given post. [Note to self: Let it go, do it and see what happens]#2 – I was debating switching from native WordPress comments to either DISQUS or IntenseDebate. And I’ve selected DISQUS for the reasons you’ve highlighted here. Now to go from “one day list” to just installing DISQUS. It would be wonderful if more of the blogs I read used DISQUS. I’ve found myself logging into my DISQUS account and getting inspired by some of my past comments! Of course, some of the value-added comments I’ve shared on other blogs aren’t included {frown face}. That means less visibility to others who may have benefited.#3 – DONE!#4 – I’ve been very happy with the Sociable plugin. However the downside is that it does NOT integrate to bit.ly so that I can track those links with my existing account. The fact that the Sexy Bookmark plugin does (& I can change the name) is enough to get me to consider changing. THANKS, Mike!#5 – That’s where it is! I’ve been wondering where people have been getting this badge and now I know. THANKS, Mike!#6 – This is news to me! I heard/saw Meebo or similar. It’s something I’ll consider. The only downside to Meebo (quick scan of their forum) is that Meebo does not integrate with Skype. Users have requested integration for the last 3 yrs but there seems to be some sticking point. Given I’m a big skype user, I may consider imo.im which is skype & facebook enabled. Mike, have you had any experience with imo? Thanks again for the 6 and it looks like I have run out of excuses ~~ reasons~~ to not implement the ones I’ve mentioned, especially given the time I invested in typing this comment. I could have activated at least 2 of these plugins already! Thanks for sparking me into action! Cheers ~ Marian

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Marian! Just do it :)

    I have not heard of imo… What is it?

  • http://www.qualitywriter.com/2010/ phildunn

    Great new site, Mike. And superb post. Useful, practical, fun.

    Wondering at what point these become too cluttering… a fine line between adding traffic and distracting from content.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    I think we use most of these here with little of that outcome Phil

  • http://www.qualitywriter.com/2010/ phildunn

    Good to know. I noticed that the TweetMeme plugin option to suppress on home page does not work with WordPress. E.g. “Display the button on the front page (home)” if unchecked does not take it off. Probably should take up in TweetMeme forums.. but just in case anyone here had similar problem.. checking.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Just tested and it worked for me :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this fantastic post! I cannot WAIT to install Sexy Bookmarks. :-) Since my blog is new, in fact I haven’t ‘officially’ launched it, I don’t think I want to use the Tweetmeme quite yet. It would be said to see “0 Tweets.” :-/

  • Anonymous

    You gave me the push I needed to upgrade my blogs. Thanks.

  • http://www.gotteethguide.com/ Saundra

    #5 – I looked for the site template on WP and couldn’t find it. Is it called something else. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/mariansparks marian sparks!

    Mike~ http://imo.im does same as Meebo. It’s a web-based instant messenger that integrates IM, voice chat and video conference using multiple IM platforms (i.e. Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo, AOL). The reason why it’s attractive is because it uses Skype. Meebo doesn’t. For now I’ve decided not to install either (despite the geek in me wanting to do it. I’m a just a little “overcommunicated” right now-LOL!). But will revisit in the near future…BTW not sure if you or anyone else had this experience. I imported all my comments into DISQUS but noticed that the comments on my WordPress pages ARE NOT showing up on the pages. I can see the comments on DISQUS and they are showing as “approved” but for the life of me they’re not showing up on the page. And yes, I do have comments enabled on the specific pages in question. It’s an issue I’ll track down elsewhere but thought I would raise here in case someone else experienced similar and has a “fix”.

  • http://twitter.com/mariansparks marian sparks!

    Hi Paula,
    I know what you mean re: Tweetmeme. Just an idea….what if you just used the small icon of Tweetmeme? Mike is using the full size icon and has it on the upper right. I’ve seen people use the smaller icon and have it at the BOTTOM of their posts. That way, after someone reads the entire article, the Tweetmeme icon is “handy” right there in the bottom to click. Just an idea to encourage you….

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Marian! That is a fantastic idea! Didn’t realize that you could do that. I appreciate for the tip very much! Oh, and VERY nice blog!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Marian;

    Thanks for the info on imo.

    Regarding your comments not showing up. That’s a new one to me. Try selecting the following under “Advanced Options” and see if this helps “Check this if you have a problem with comment counts not showing on permalinks (more info).

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Saundra – Not sure I fully understand. But go here if you are looking for the Twitter Follow Badge: http://www.go2web20.net/twitterFollowBadge/

    Mike

  • http://www.qualitywriter.com/2010/ phildunn

    Tweetmeme thinks my custom theme is the culprit. I’ll hang with it.

  • http://twitter.com/thesexygeek Rosemary Jean-Louis

    Michael,

    These are amazing tips to improve your blog. What I love about it is that it all involves using quick and easy applications. We’re planning to use disqus for the online newsletter I manage, so it’s great to see this endorsement.

  • http://agenda-mea.blogspot.com/ Ciobanu Nicolae

    I liked the Disqus comment system and implemented it on my blog. Thanks!

  • Guest

    I used disqus for a while but I started having a lot of problems with it. I stopped using it, that doesn’t mean its a bad plugin but I just think it isn’t for me.

    Tweetmeme is the best social media plugin followed by sexy bookmarks. Sexy bookmarks is working on the next official release and I know they will be adding a lot more social media sites and I am excited about that.

  • http://NaomiTrower.com Naomi Trower

    Oh wow! I overlooked this post! So I use tweetmeme, gravatar and disqus but didn’t realize that Disqus commenting was a plugin! I wonder if my commenter recent post love will still show up with their commenting system. Time for some testing! :) The chat feature option is pretty darn cool. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=making+your+daydreams+come+true&meta=&rlz=1W1ADFA_en&aq=f&oq= i have remained private on twitter. As A Secret and LOA book lover I am aware that posting certain links like the above could cause the wrong kind of traffic. How do you protect your intention as being genuine, sincere and for the common good and not give readers the wrong idea about what your goal/dream/desire is – for fear of attracting the wrong people

  • Anonymous
  • http://beingwelllifestyles.com Dr. Jay Warren

    John Assaraf referred me over to this post this morning and after a few hours, I’ve implemented Tweetmeme, Disqus and Gravatar into my new blog – THANK YOU! You are very helpful.

  • http://www.typingbug.com/ Deneen Wilson

    I use Zoho Chat on my website and it works wonderful. It not only ties in all my other IM sites but also gives my clients a way to direct chat with me via my website. I also do not have to download any software and when I travel, I can access it directly through the web. Very pleased

  • http://twitter.com/Karyn_Barnes Karyn Barnes

    Hi Mike,
    Thanks for these excellent ideas and timely too as I’m working on my company blog site.
    We’re using Joomla…any tips for that?

  • Guest

    Hello Micheal? Great article as you guys always write.

  • http://www.inconsequentiallogic.com Roschelle

    excellent tips. My blogging platform is Blogger so I’m limited in some of the things I can add. I utilize the retweet button and would love to be able to install the Gravatar option. Maybe one day…..a girl can dream can’t she??

  • http://twitter.com/mariansparks marian sparks!

    Hi Mike,

    Wanted to close the loop on the DISQUS issue I had (& in case others here come across same).

    Very often I use pages WITH comments in self-hosted wordpress. The problem I discovered with DISQUS is that when you have comments turned OFF on a specific wordpress page, you get “Comments for this page are closed” plus the subscription, reaction & trackback sections. WITHOUT DISQUS, there is no trace of the comment form in native wordpress. So the latter is the experience I wanted to replicate.

    As of this writing I could not find an automatic fix on DISQUS for this. Finally I discovered (emphasis on the word “finally”) there’s one line of code that needs to be added to the DISQUS.php file (this is more tech than I really wanted to know). Typing that in solved the problem. It can be found here: http://bit.ly/3xFfg1

    Bottom line, I can now arbitrarily turn comments on and off my wordpress pages much like I was able to do prior to switching to DISQUS.

    Thanks again.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Marian,

    You may need to upgrade WordPress. I have comments shut off on my pages and there is no such information on the bottom of pages. But thanks for your feedback as it may be helpful for folks who experience a similar issue.

  • http://twitter.com/mariansparks marian sparks!

    Hi Mike,

    In my case, I have a need for specific WordPress pages to collect and display comments (I’m running WP 2.8.5). The ‘fix’ enables me to get what I need (flexibility) and still use DISQUS. Thanks again for the gentle nudge to get it going :)

  • http://vancopytotcontent.blogspot.com/ Copydimitri

    Great tips!. Already had Tweetmeme running, but added Disqus to my blog also. Somehow the twitter badge didn’t work, but maybe that’s a Chrome thing.

  • http://sexybookmarks.net/ Josh

    Sorry for the late reply here, but thanks for mentioning SexyBookmarks in your list! It is greatly appreciated… I try to respond to everyone who mentions us, but as the plugin gets more and more popular, I’m realizing that the web is an awfully big place, and searching through millions of Google results is definitely an undertaking! haha

    Thanks again!

    PS. – More great things coming soon from SexyBookmarks in the next release.

  • http://sexybookmarks.net/ Josh

    Sorry for the late reply here, but thanks for mentioning SexyBookmarks in your list! It is greatly appreciated… I try to respond to everyone who mentions us, but as the plugin gets more and more popular, I’m realizing that the web is an awfully big place, and searching through millions of Google results is definitely an undertaking! haha

    Thanks again!

    PS. – More great things coming soon from SexyBookmarks in the next release.

  • http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com/ Cendrine Marrouat

    Excellent article! Thank you very much!

  • http://gisnap.com gisnap

    Its really cool, I came to know this really worth visiting, just bookmarked your site.

    http://gisnap.com/
    The place where fun never ends

  • http://www.1socialmediaagency.com/ Social Media Agency

    well nice info. i would definitely follow your instruction to get better results….

  • http://DCincome.com/blog chiropractic social media

    Disqus is one of the best comments system I use when doing blogging and other marketing strategy and this time I very impress with their new releases project that have a good purposes on us, social media reaction.

  • http://www.webwurm.net Webkatalog

    Thank you for this great Tips. There were even new tips for me. Now i installed the disqus comment plugin on one of my website… just to start a dialog on my page.

  • http://www.werkstoffpruefung.de/ Werkstoffprüfung

    Hi…Your post really got me thinking man….. an intelligent piece ,I must say.

  • http://jinosbrovens.10freehost.com/index.html welcome to jinos.

    I like the statistics provided on social networking for small businesses.Social medias such as facebook twitter are most used for this stuffs.The only thing I would have like to see would be actual screen shots of the facebook fan page.

  • http://mycollegesandcareers.posterous.com Shennan T.

    I’ve never thought of using chat with a blog, but I think that’s a very good idea.

  • http://www.livyahyarnblog.com sriga

    thanks for the good info, i am not really familiar with twitter and disqus yet and will consider using them for our new blog.

  • http://twitter.com/ShawnHakimian Shawn Hakimian

    what do you think about the facebook comment social plugin?

  • http://www.mutuellesante.org sante mutuelle

    It is a wonderful blog. You give us an excellent article and interesting. Good luck for your blog!

  • http://www.netconsultingvalencia.es Ramón

    We love the Twitter Follow Badge Add on. Simple but efective.

  • http://www.reallyeasycart.co.uk Ecommerce Software

    A very interesting blog. The terms are groovy but proper. I enjoy reading your post. I hope I could read more post from you.

  • http://motorcycleinsights.com/ Jason

    Love the chat plugin! Trying to figure out Discus.

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  • http://www.GoClickCash.net Go Click Cash

    I find that Facebook has some great add ons, that can get you a boost. I get more from Facebook that is why I cater to their apps.

  • http://www.kooldesignmaker.com/ web design company

    Disqus and social sites plugins have increased the visibility of blogs because they are more easy-to-use and popular among the users.

  • Kashif

    Another one of the best ad-ones for live chat which you can install on your blog is banckle Live Chat plugin (http://banckle.com/apps/live-chat/default.html) You can install it on followingblogging platforms.

    blogger
    Wordpress
    Joomla
    Drupal
    For more Details: http://banckle.com/marketplace/live-chat/default.html

  • Gojirapeth

    This post is very helpful! coming from a new SEO marketer in a university this is a perfect site to help you out.  My blog will help you find other articles to help you out as well http://digitalmarketingdegree.blogspot.com/

  • Gojirapeth

    This post is very helpful! coming from a new SEO marketer in a university this is a perfect site to help you out.  My blog will help you find other articles to help you out as well http://digitalmarketingdegree.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.attacross.us/ computer repair services

    Discquss commenting system is very user-friendly therefore it can help a lot to get a lot of comments on our blog then social media is very important and effective thing to increase traffic on blog.

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  • Jacob Wagner

    I know this post is from a long time ago. But the TweetMeme site says that it is no longer available. Is there an alternative that you would now recomend?







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