Sharing your blog posts via social media is a cost-effective way to promote your business. But if you’re not careful, social media marketing can consume a lot of your time.
To make the best use of your time, it’s worth automating some of your social media activities.
One of the best methods is to automatically share your blog posts from WordPress to each of your selected social networks.
In this review, we’ll look at how the free and premium versions of the Blog2Social WordPress plugin can help you achieve that.
Blog2Social free version
You can install the Blog2Social plugin in the usual way.
Either search for the plugin via the WordPress Admin panel. Or download the plugin to your computer from the WordPress repository, and then choose the Add new plugin option from WordPress.
Once installed, you can access Blog2Social via the WordPress menu option:
The connection process follows the standard authorization process for each network.
Blog2Social lets you connect to a wide range of networks: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Medium, Torial, Flickr, Diigo and Delicious
In the Free version you can connect to one account per social network; i.e. if I had two Twitter accounts, I’d only be able to choose one of them.
Each social network connection adds onto your Default Profile. You’ll use this later when you come to sharing posts.
Sharing an existing post
When you select the Posts and Sharing option from the menu, Blog2Social presents you with a list of all the published posts on your blog:
You can use the filters to narrow your search:
- Authors – As used on your blog
- Categories and Tags – As used on your blog
- Post Types – Post, page, and custom post types
- Statuses – Draft, scheduled, and published
Once you’ve found the post you want to share, click the green Share on Social Media button.
This takes you to the Custom Sharing screen.
There are plenty of options on this screen, so let’s take a look at a few.
1 – Not all options are valid
Some of the options on the screen are premium features only, e.g. the Best Time Scheduler. In the Free version, you only have the Share Now option.
2 – Social accounts
On the right-hand side of the screen, you have the Social Accounts panel. This contains the four accounts I connected previously in the Default Profile.
However, you’re not forced to share the blog post to all these accounts. You can click on a particular account to switch it off.
This is a useful option because you may not want to share to every network at the same time or with the same image.
3 – Individual network messages
The best feature of the Custom Sharing screen are the different message panels you have for each social network. These let you customize your message for each network.
For example, in the Twitter message panel Blog2Social has brought in the blog post heading. But I can edit this text by adding hashtags or mentioning @handles like this:
4 – Image selection
At the bottom of the Custom Sharing screen is the Image Selection panel. Blog2Social extracts images found in the blog post, including the featured header image, and lets you select which one you to use.
In this example you can see there are five images to select from:
You can only choose one image for each share. That’s a drawback because some networks are best suited to a portrait image (e.g. Pinterest) and others to a landscape image (e.g. Facebook).
When you’re happy with your text and image selection, then you click the share button.
Blog2Social displays a summary of where your post was shared:
Here’s the screenshot from Twitter showing how the post looked:
Did you notice the shortened URL?
It’s one of the options you can select in the Blog2Social Settings panel.
The Blog2Social (b2s.pm) Link Shortener generates a new link for each social media post, which is an excellent way to track how each share performs.
Alternatively you can integrate third-party link shortening tools such as Bitly.
After you’ve shared your posts, you can also check back on your history:
If you choose to re-share your post you return to the custom sharing screen where you can start customizing again.
The Free version gives you a taste of what Blog2Social can do. But its limited functionality does restrict the automation features that you’d probably want in a social sharing plugin.
The Custom Sharing and One-Step Workflow features are the best part. They allow you to tailor your messages for each social network. The downside is that you can’t tailor your images for each network.
- Network Choice – Cross-share to all popular social networks
- Custom Sharing – Edit or add comments, hashtags or handles.
- One-Step Workflow – One-page preview editor for all social networks for easy customizing
Blog2Social premium version
Having tried the Free version of Blog2Social, let’s upgrade and try the Premium version.
The upgrade process is straightforward.
You can try Blog2Social Pro for 30 days. (No credit card required). Follow the prompt from the dashboard to enter your name and email address. You’ll receive a License Key via email within a few minutes.
Activate the license key, and you’re ready to start using the premium features:
Creating additional network profiles
After upgrading to the premium version, the first thing I did was to create a new profile in the Network Settings. I removed Pinterest from my Default Profile and created a separate Pinterest-only profile so I could share relevant images to each network.
With Blog2Social Pro you can also add up to 5 accounts per social network. If you have multiple accounts that you want to share your content to, then this is most useful.
Setting up a schedule
A key feature of the Blog2Social premium version is the Best Time Scheduler. In the Settings menu, you have the option to set a posting time for each social network.
Click the Best Time Scheduler button, and Blog2Social will populate your schedule:
Blog2Social recommends the best times to post on each network, but you can set your preferred time if you wish.
Once you’ve set up your schedule for each social network, then save the settings for later.
Sharing posts more than once
When you go the Custom Sharing screen, you now have more scheduling options with which to work.
#1 – Share Now – immediately shares the post once.
You still have the Share Now option, as you did in the Free version, but there are better choices.
#2 – Schedule Once – shares the post once at a scheduled time.
The first improvement you can make is to use your saved time settings:
When you click My Time Settings, your saved time is added to the panel:
This option lets you schedule your post once. You can change the date and time if you wish.
The next option is where Blog2Social gets smart as you can also choose to schedule the post more than once.
#3 – Schedule Post Recurrently – shares the post more than once at various scheduled times.
Now you can schedule your post for up to 52 weeks starting on your specified date. You can also choose which days of the week it is posted:
But there’s even more.
Because you can add more posting times so that you can reach different people at different times on different days of the week.
In this example, I’ve created three different schedules:
- Mon-Wed-Fri at 09:00 AM
- Tue-Thu at 6:45 PM
- Sat-Sun at 11:15 AM
This schedule is for my Twitter account. You can create independent programs for each social network.
The only drawback is that you have to use the same image for each network. If you wanted to share different images, then you’d have to create separate schedules.
Reviewing the schedule
You can review your schedule at any time in the Posts and Sharing Menu.
Select Scheduled Posts. If you’re unhappy with a particular date or time then you can make changes:
Another setting you can switch on in the Premium version is Auto-Posting.
When you publish a new blog post, you can select the checkbox in the WordPress Post Editor to share it automatically. You can either share the post immediately or at a scheduled time:
Blog2Social pros and cons
- Auto-Posting to multiple social networks whenever you publish a blog post
- Schedule once or recurrently to multiple social profiles, pages, and groups
- Use the predefined Best Time Scheduler or define your custom schedule
- Increase the visibility of your social media posts with individual network messages
- Use the One-Step Workflow to preview and customize messages
- Review all scheduled and published social media posts in the calendar
- Flexible Free and Premium License options available
- Integrations with third-party link shorteners
- The URL is always placed at the end of the message
The Blog2Social Premium version is definitely a time-saver with its auto-posting and unlimited scheduling options. The recurring option could keep your evergreen posts going for a year.
- Auto-Posting – Automatically share your posts whenever you publish a new blog post
- Best Time Scheduler – Choose pre-defined times to post or define your own time settings
- Custom Scheduling – Schedule once or recurrently to multiple profiles, pages, and groups
- Reporting – Review all scheduled and published social media posts
There are three price plans to choose from depending on how many users and social network accounts you have:
- Smart – €69/year
- 2 users or domains per license and up to 3 accounts per network
- Pro – €99/year
- 5 users or domains per license and up to 5 accounts per network
- Business – €249/year
- 15 users or domains per license and up to 15 accounts per network
All premium plans include support and updates for one year.
The Blog2Social website has some excellent video tutorials to help you get started. Plus there’s a FAQ page covering the most common questions. If you can’t find your answer there, then you’ll discover the support team responds promptly to new issues that you report.
The Blog2Social free version offers little to help you save time when sharing your blog posts. You can only share your posts immediately via the plugin.
By the time you’ve logged in to your WordPress Admin Dashboard and selected the post to share, you could just as easily used the social sharing buttons on your website.
On the other hand, the Blog2Social premium version is a super time-saver. You can set up recurring schedules to multiple profiles that last up to one year.
That’s the type of set-and-forget automation you want with social media, leaving you more time to engage with people who comment on your social content.