Good WordPress social media plugin sets you apart from the crowd, while improving your brand’s value.
Using a WordPress social sharing plugin a site with only 10 posts can have higher traffic, compared to one with 2 000 articles.
It is a great way to make sharing blog posts easy and attractive for your readers.
Displaying a share counter acts as “social proof” that your content is relevant and engaging. It is also encourages visitors to share even more.
The exposure from social sharing can increase linkbuilding and boost your search engine rankings.
I couldn’t say which is best WordPress social sharing plugin. Every person has it favorite.
But one thing is sure. Encouraging social sharing is one of the best ways to form an online community. Let visitors talk about your content and share it with others.
You may wonder, which plugin is perfect WordPress social media plugin for your site?
There are a ton of WordPress social sharing plugins available. That can be confusing, and finding one that works well and displays the sharing buttons nicely is a challenge.
Most WordPress users test several free and maybe paid social media sharing plugins for their website.
I have been using WordPress for some time now so I have used many different social media sharing solutions.
Plugin X may have important features, but misses feature you cannot live without. No matter how many plugins are out there, each of them fails one significant feature.
What if there was a plugin that could be all you need? Could there be such a picture-perfect plugin?
As there are many WordPress social sharing plugins I have decided to pick three paid which I personally used and tested.
These plugins have proven to be good and offer various features. Some offer more, while some less settings. Which you will prefer depends on what you need and intend to use.
As I already wrote extensive review about Easy Social Share Buttons plugin, I will not repeat myself here.
Please check review and dissection of ESSB WordPress social plugin for more information about it.
In this post I will concentrate on Monarch Social Sharing Plugin and in next on Social Share and Locker Pro.
Comparison table between all three plugins can be found at the end of post if you are one of those who likes to get straight to the point.
Monarch is a feature packed plugin from Elegant Themes authors. It is designed to be fast, customizable, and to allow control over social media on your website.
Once Monarch has been installed and activated, you will find the Monarch settings area listed within the Tools section of your WordPress admin area.
The settings area is very simple, with the Monarch logo and orange colour scheme.
The top right part of the settings menu has a button for import and export and a button for statistics. It took some time for me to notice it.
Down the left hand side you will see three menu items: Social sharing, Social follow, and General settings.
There are five different locations in which sharing buttons can be displayed. If you like, you can display sharing buttons in all locations.
Social Sharing Locations
Social sharing locations are:
Sharing buttons look great. However, pop up box that displays on the centre of the page and the flyin box displayed at the bottom of the page can be a little obtrusive to visitors.
The locations you define in the main settings area dictate the standard rule for displaying sharing buttons. If you like, certain locations can be disabled on a particular page or item.
You will find the override settings at the bottom of the post editor.
You can select your button shape, colour and animation to change how it looks and feels on your page.
Monarch social media plugin for WordPress allows you to change the name of the network if you like. For example, you could change Facebook name to FB.
Your Twitter username can also be defined in order to add it to any shares of your content. Changing the order of networks is easy as it uses a drag and drop system.
Network can be removed by hitting the minus symbol on the network button.
25 social sharing network buttons are available. All major social media networks are available. There is also a print friendly button and a like button.
Social Sharing Networks
The plugin has a dedicated settings page for each sharing location. Each settings page allows you to change the icon style and the icon shape.
But there is no significant difference between each style and icon shape.
Each location also features display settings, color settings, and post type settings. The display settings are different for each sharing location, while color settings and post type settings are the same.
In the colour settings you can change the background color, hover background color, icon color, and hover icon color.
Sharing buttons are displayed on blog posts and pages by default. Other post types installed on your website will be available to pick too.
Display settings change the way sharing buttons look and what is displayed.
With the floating sidebar, you can change the animation that is displayed when your page is first loaded. You can fade in, slide right, slide up, or slide down.
Alternatively, the animation can be disabled.
The number of shares can be displayed with each sharing button. A minimum count can be displayed for posts. It means the article has to reach certain number of shares before the count is displayed.
The total shares and the color of the total shares text can be modified. You can also add spacing to icons to separate sharing buttons and hide sharing buttons from mobile devices.
Hiding your sharing buttons on mobile devices is a good option for the floating sidebar as you do not want your page to become too crowded.
Inline sharing buttons are displayed in your content area. You can choose to display buttons above your content area, below your content area, or both.
Icons can also be aligned to the left or in the center. Buttons can be displayed in one, two, three, four, five, or six columns.
There is also an auto width option that will choose a suitable width for you. Network names can be removed from buttons if that is what you want.
The title and the message displayed in pop up can be modified. This is useful if you want to write own custom message and attempt to increase shares.
The number of columns and the alignment of buttons can be changed.
Ten intro animations are available: fade in, slide right, slide up, slide down, light speed, zoom in, flip, bounce, swing, and tada. The animations can be disabled.
The pop up can be displayed right away if you wish. Alternatively, you can display it after a defined number of seconds.
The pop up can also be triggered when the reader leaves the page or when they reach the bottom of the article.
The pop up can be limited to once per session in order not to annoy visitors.
Share counts, total share counts, network names, icon spacing, etc, can all be modified too.
The flyin sharing box can be displayed at the bottom left or bottom right hand side of your page.
The last social sharing settings page refers to the sharing buttons that are displayed on images and other media items.
There are a few basic options such as icon alignment and displaying share counts and total share counts.
Monarch plugin has a couple of predefined triggers including:
All you need to do is specify the desired trigger with action and watch it roll.
NOTE: If you’re using the time trigger, you need to calculate an effective timeframe. Too soon and you come off as obtrusive, too late and you’ve lost a potential share.
A unique feature of Monarch is its native pop-up sharing boxes.
The Automatic Pop-Up can be customized in a variety of ways:
Fly-ins are another Monarch feature. Similar to Pop-Ups, Fly-in can be set to slide from either the bottom left or bottom right of your screen.
These are a great visual prompt for readers before they decided to leave your website.
Fly-Ins have a range of settings:
Trigger settings for Fly-Ins are very much same as for pop-ups. You can set your Fly-In to display as your reader leaves a page, when they scroll to the bottom of a post or after a pre-set amount of time.
Monarch’s Floating Social Sidebar will be placed left of your screen, flush to the edge. Unfortunately, there is no option to put it right.
Though this is not big problem, as most webmasters also put it on the left. But it could represent a problem depending on your website layout.
There are over 5 hover designs, it’s mobile friendly and it’s always visible. Your readers will have access to sharing buttons all the time.
Share counts can be displayed either individually or as an overall total. You can also use the native colors from each social network, or overhaul them with your own colors to match your theme.
Monarch allows the integration of social sharing buttons within your images as they appear on the page.
Plugin will detect whether there are images on your page or not. Alternatively use a custom shortcode to wrap around any image on your site.
Either way your buttons will display beautifully and in mobile friendly way.
A cool picture will have a significantly higher chance of being shared in social media.
Each and every media element in your site including photos and videos get the social sharing buttons embedded in them.
As soon as you hover your mouse over any image, the social sharing buttons will come up.
Monarch automatically detects all the media elements on your site/blog. But, if I am not mistaken, image sharing doesn’t work on custom post types.
In case you’ve defined some custom elements, then you will need to wrap it around using Monarch’s shortcode to enable social sharing.
Most plugins give you a few basic customization options.
Here’s some of the Monarch customization options:
Some of the basic features include:
Triggers based on user interaction
Monarch also helps you grow your social following.
With the social follow widget you can display your social networks anywhere in your sidebar or within individual posts or pages using shortcode.
Monarch can automatically update your followers count. All you have to do is activate your networks’ APIs and they’ll update as your following grows.
But be noted, for most networks you will have to manually enter your followers count. This can be pain in the ass if number of followers changes often and you want to reflect correct numbers all the time.
Here’s what else you can do with the Social Following settings:
Everything that you can do with the inline sharing buttons, you can do with your Social Following buttons too.
The social follow widget works in the same way as social sharing. All you need to do is select your networks. Once you have selected your networks, you can drag and drop them into the order you desire.
The number of followers you have for each social media network need to be entered manually. You can use the API for some networks like Vimeo, Instagram, and LinkedIn, in order to connect to your profile and retrieve the count automatically.
Your profile page will be linked in the large rectangle button. If you like, your profile page can open up in a new tab by default.
A total of 39 different social media networks and services are available for selection. A like button can be displayed too.
The settings for the social follow widget are almost identical to the settings for sharing locations. You can change background colors and the icon style and shape.
Network names can be removed from the buttons if that is how you want.
You can also remove the follower count from the widget, define a minimum follower count before a count is displayed, change the outer text color of network names, remove the icon spacing, disable the total follower count, change the number of columns, and change the icon placement.
Social follow can even be displayed using a shortcode. The settings are almost identical to the settings for the widget.
The main difference is that you can display your social media follow buttons in up to six columns.
The general settings area only has few options. The first setting allows you to change the frequency in which counts are updated.
If you change this setting to zero, it will check counts immediately. I recommend setting this at least one hour (the default is three hours).
The second setting allows you to add your own custom CSS. This is useful if you want to change the way your sharing buttons or follow widget is styled.
Import and export functionality is included in plugin. This is something that most social media plugins lack.
You can simply export your settings and then import the settings into your other websites.
This saves time and is very welcomed feature in every WordPress social share plugin.
Another great feature is Monarch’s statistics dashboard. Here you can get an instant overview of what’s happening with your posts, how often they’ve been shared and which networks are working best for your site.
You can view bar graphs of your statistics from the past 7 days, the past 30 days and the past 12 months.
The all-time stats will also show you the total number of shares across all platforms, your total number of followers and the total of all of your “likes” across all of your pages.
The social sharing stats page displays the total number of shares, total number of likes, and the total number of follows.
Unfortunately, there is no breakdown like this for your social media following.
There’s extensive documentation for the Monarch Social Plugin. A look at the documentation page shows you a detailed overview of everything you need to get your plugin running.
There’s also the Elegant Themes support forum which can be accessed from your account dashboard.
Here you can browse for topics covering your problem, or submit a ticket yourself for support.
In terms of pricing, Monarch is only available on an Elegant Themes Developer or Lifetime Membership.
Personal pricing plan doesn’t allow access to plugins made by Elegant Themes, any by that you won’t have access to the Monarch Plugin.
The Developer membership will cost you $89 per year. This will give you complete access to all themes, plugins, technical support, layered Photoshop files and updates as long as your subscription is active.
On the other hand the Lifetime Membership costs $249 and is a one-off fee. This means you’ll never have to pay for it again and you’ll get complete access to everything.
One can say that $89 for a social sharing plugin is a bit too much, and they would be right. But keep in mind you also get 87 premium WordPress themes with updates and technical support plus 6 plugins.
You could also get the developer pack at a one-time payment which will save you a lot of money in the long run. If you don’t like what the plugin is doing with your site, there is 30 day refund policy available.
Monarch WordPress Social Media Plugin Pros
Monarch WordPress Social Media Plugin Cons
Ultimately Monarch appears to be great success for the Elegant Themes team.
They’ve built a plugin that does what many developers and WordPress users have been requesting for some time.
Be it a WordPress beginner or a seasoned webmaster, anyone can get used to the plugin’s controls, thanks to its intuitive design.
Overall I am not very pleased with Monarch plugin. Easy Social Share Buttons plugin, as you can see in comparison above, offers much more for less price.
Monarch has some downsides and opportunities to improve. I will mention some.
You cannot display three networks in your content area, seven networks in your floating sidebar, and two networks in your flyin box.
If you decide to use Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, that is what is going to be displayed in all locations.
The media sharing buttons share the page URL, not the image URL. It would be good to have the option of sharing the image location instead.
This would be useful for Pinterest pins. It would also be more relevant when someone shares a gallery image. Also media sharing is restricted to posts only.
Most major WordPress sharing plugins allows you to display a more button. This allows you a visitor to list many other social media networks.
Monarch lacks this. You cannot display three social media network sharing links and link to another ten through a more button. You need to display every network you want to offer.
The icon styles and shapes that are available are almost identical. Tesla Themes need to offer a variety of styles. If not, all websites with Monarch plugin are going to look the same.
The stats feature is a nice addition, but ultimately, it is not very useful. You cannot see which posts are being shared. So you cannot really do much with the information it provides.
You cannot even see the most shared blog posts or pages. Elegant Themes should develop a proper social metrics feature that displays the total number of shares from social networks in a list.
Easy Social Share Buttons is nice example how this can be done.
Most social media plugins are able to retrieve the count automatically from services such as Google+ and Twitter. Monarch does not.
API integration has to be improved. Website users cannot be expected to update their count manually every week’ particularly when it is possible to retrieve the information using official APIs.
As always, I would like to hear what you think. Have you use Monarch? What do you think of it? Let me know in comments below! If I made any mistake feel free to unleash your rage on me (or politely notify me).
Ultimately Monarch appears to be great success for the Elegant Themes team. They’ve built a plugin that does what many developers and WordPress users have been requesting for some time.
Hello, my name is Matija but everybody calls me Kasa. I started this site to earn lots of money so that I never have to work again. Just lay down on a beach, drinking cocktails day after day while hot, beautiful chicks fight for my attention.Ok, now seriously. I love making websites, especially in WordPress. Hope reading content on this site you will find helpful tips, tutorials, comparisons, and product reviews for your business.
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