Not only for businesses but also for individuals, it's essential to show your social activities to visitors. You have written many helpful articles, and they're worth sharing. Integrating your Joomla site with social media channels will help you drive more traffic to your site and advertise your articles better. I've tested many Joomla 2.5 extensions and in this article, I am going to tell you about some of the best free social extensions that you need. Firstly, you should have a look at several types of extensions I will mention today, categorized by functionality:
- Display your channels
- Add comments
- Bookmark and share
- Display social profiles
- Login using a social network's account
Display your channel
When I build my social media channels, the first thing I do is show them on my website for people to notice. It's really difficult for me to go to each channel and grab the integration code. I need one extension that allows me to show all my channels easily. Stalker is a great Joomla social extension for that need. The main reason I chose this Joomla 2.5 extension because I can show up to 52 social media channels to my visitors: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+, just by entering my user ID for each channel. I can also add more networks or customize my icons to fit my template. Moreover, Stalker can display icons anywhere on the site: in a module position, directly in an article or even in a Community Builder profile.
Stalker module on the site
This extension contains two parts for you to install: the component to control multiple links to social media, and the module to display the icons. If you only want to show one link, you can install only the module. Registration is required for you to Download Stalker but don't worry it's all free. After downloading and installing the extension, you can configure all the settings in the module manager page.
Module manager page of Stalker
Add comments with social media accounts:
Recently in many websites, people can add comments for articles by using their social media account. That helps you to avoid spam as well as connect to visitors better. So which social extension can be used in this case? RokComments is one recommendation. Some other Joomla 2.5 extensions only support one comment platform; RokComments can be set up to use all the most popular comment platforms now: IntenseDebate, Disqus, Facebook, etc. You can change the platforms whenever you want without new extension installations as well as choose the menus sections or categories to display in the comment area.
Disqus comment platformYou can download RokComments and install it like other extensions. A step-by-step quick guide with images is included in the settings page so you can look at the guidelines and do the configuration in the same window. Choosing and configuring the comment system just takes about one minute. After that you will get the comment area under your articles.
RokComments setting page
Bookmark and share articles to Social media channels
Nice Social bookmark
One of the best ways to promote your articles is to put bookmark and share buttons for each blog post. This approach is very popular, so many Joomla extensions support the functionality. One of the most famous plugins is Addthis. However in my opinion, it's too simple and doesn't encourage people to share your articles. You might need a sharing tool which puts a series of sharing buttons, with the number of shares displayed alongside, put at the end of your articles. I recommend Nice Social bookmark, another free Joomla extension. Nice Social bookmark only supports 13 of the most popular channels but I think that's enough. (Addthis allows over 350 channels but I'm sure you are not going to use more than 20 of them).
Nice Social Bookmark preview in website
Even you are a Joomla newbie; you will find it easy to use this extension. Download Nice social bookmark and install it. You can then configure which channels appear using Module manager. Additionally, you can customize 4 more icons and links.
Nice Social Bookmark settings pageNice Social bookmark and Addthis can make a great combination to encourage visitors to share your articles.
Display your social profiles
When I have a fan page, I can get the Facebook fan box code to show on my website. Unfortunately I still have to fix an issue, in which Joomla 2.5 strips html and iframe code to get the code to work. In addition, FB fan box can't be easily resized as I want. That's the reason why I use a Joomla social extension. You can read Add the Facebook like box : How to do with a Joomla website to have more information. It's not difficult to find an extension to display a FB fan box as there are plenty of them. I personally choose ITPFacebookLikeBox because it has many useful functions: you can rend your code in an iframe and control your box's appearance (dimension, colour, stream, header, language, etc.) with just a few clicks.
Facebook like box on website by using ITPFacebookLikeBox
You can download ITPFacebookLikebox without registration and install it on your Joomla site. After that you can go to Module Manage to configure it. All settings are very basic and knowledge of coding is not required.
ITPFacebookLikeBox setting page
Twitter is the second most popular social media channel at the moment. Twitter was born long before Facebook so there are many more Twitter display extensions available than for Facebook. One of my favourites is Twitter Show. This free Joomla extension allows you to show your Twitter profile with 8 parameters for dimensions, appearance, number of tweets, etc. In my opinion, Twitter Show supports more functionality compared to other Joomla 2.5 extensions.
Display Twitter's activities on website
Download Twitter Show and you will see how it works. There's no documentation for this extension because you won't need it. All settings can be configured in parameters and the box will be displayed with one backlink at the bottom. If you don't want to have the backlink, you can use another similar extension: Optimized Tweets. However you must type the color code without the # and there is no color picker.
Twitter Show's settings page
Login using a social network's account
Nowadays, social media profiles are so popular that many websites allow you to login with your social media account, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. Therefore people don't have to register another account on the website. And in my opinion, the best Joomla 2.5 extension for this functionality is Social login. This extension can be used stand-alone or integrated with Joomla's traditional login. It gives you access to more than 15 ID providers, and also includes social data and analytics. You can choose the most convenient methods to login. This social extension comes with a nice design so you won't have to worry about customizing the CSS.
Social login is displayed on website
It is easy to download Social login and install it, as it doesn't require registration. However, you must login to the provider's website Loginradius using your social media account (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, etc,) to get the API key and API secret. Every time you want to change ID providers, you need to login to the Loginradius website and choose the ID providers you want to add. That could be a bit difficult for users but I think it's alright because it doesn't take much time and if you don't want to make future changes, just select all providers at the beginning.
Social Login setting page
So, I have listed 6 free Joomla 2.5 extensions you should have for your social media marketing. Which extensions are you using for your site? If you know of some more useful extensions, please feel free to tell me by leaving a comment below. Finally did you notice that we use social media buttons? They are for you to share this article if you are interested in... :D