The "best" Social Media modules

Best means for me: Easy to configure, easy to handle, flexible and reliable.

Below some recommended modules for the integration of social media into your Drupal website: 1. Giving your visitors the possibility to share content, 2. linking your website to the social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., 3. encouraging your visitors to "Like" (Facebook) or "Publicly Recommend" (Google +1) the content of your website, 4. encouraging your visitors to "Follow" or "Like" dedicated accounts/sites on Twitter and/or Facebook, 5. publishing your social media posts on your website and 6. inserting the "main" social media buttons/links without a counter.

1. If you want to give your visitors the possibility to share your content on various pages, you have different possibilities. Probably the most common ones: Add the links as a block, as a floating bar or on the node level. Personally I prefer the first two options. I can recommend you the following modules:

- Service links (block)
Is a highly flexible solution because it works with widgets and blocks. Widgets allows you to create different sets of links to social media services. You can also add other features such as emailing or print of pages. Furthermore you can use different blocks for the display of different sets. Although highly flexible, the module is easy to configure.

“The services included are various:, Digg, Facebook/Facebook Share/Facebook Like, Furl, Google Bookmark/Google Plus One, IceRocket, LinkedIn/Linkedin button counter, MySpace, Newsvine, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Twitter/Twitter widget, Yahoo Bookmark, and many more, they are split for language in different packages: basque, dutch, farsi, german, hungarian, italian, polish, russian, spanish, swedish.”

- ShareBar (floating sharebar)
Implementing social media links for sharing, one often encounters the dilemma of placement: Where should the links optimally be displayed? On top or on bottom? Many sites solve the dilemma, by adding links both on top and bottom. This may create an “overload” of links and is maybe still not optimal, because the links are not available throughout the page (very often one reads something and while reading one thinks about sharing it with someone). The optimal solution for this dilemma is probably the floating sharebar:

“The Drupal Sharebar module lets you easily add a "floating" social media submission bar on your website (like that found on Mashable) that includes share buttons for the most popular social media websites online such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google +1 Buttons. Configure ShareBar with these Social Buttons below and more: Twitter, Facebook Like and Share Buttons, Linkedin, Google +, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, Dzone, DesignFloat, Email-to-friend option, Add many others at your own discretion...”

- Easy Social (node, block or views field)
If you want to add the links of the currently most important services on a node level, as blocks or views field, then the Easy Social module is really an easy way to do it:

“Easily add share buttons to your nodes! Centered in a single place, you don't need to worry in including external javascript libraries, and enabling several social modules. Despite a bunch of other social modules, this module fits exactly if you want simple share buttons without worrying about messy configurations. Easy Social is available both as blocks, attached to nodes, comments and also as a Views field. The following widgets are included by default: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn.

2. If you want to link to your sites on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc. I recommend you the following modules that are easy to configure and handle. Both of them allow you to display the links to your social media sites as Icons within a block. This gives you a high flexibility, because you can move around the block and determine for what pages, paths, content types, etc. the block shall be displayed.

- Social media presence On The Web
“This module provides a single block that can show social media icons that link to your brand's content located elsewhere on the web. The icons will not show up unless you provide a link to that site. As of the 1.4 release links are added on the module configuration page. (Before the 1.4 release they were added as part of block configuration),Icons provided for: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, LinkedIn, Delicious, FriendFeed, iTunes, RSS.

- Social Media Links Block
“The modules provides a configurable block that display links (icons) to your profiles on various popular networking sites. With this module, a website can be quickly extended with a "Follow us" functionality. Or you make the block available for your site editors, and they can configure the social networks themselves." Current supported Social Networks: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, etc. Recently the first stable and recommended version of the module has been released (2013-Nov-06). Furthermore there is a commit in the pipeline, which will make the block output fully customizable via the Drupal theming layer (theme functions).

3. If you want to promote your site and encourage your visitors to "Like" (Facebook) or "Publicly Recommend" (Google +1) the content of your website, you can use one of the already mentioned modules from section 1:

- Service links
- ShareBar
- Easy Social

4. If you you have dedicated accounts/sites on Twitter and/or Facebook, you might want to encourage your visitors to "Follow" (Twitter) or to "Like" (Facebook) these elements. For this purpose I can recommend you the following modules:

- FB Likebox

"The Like Box is a social plugin that enables Facebook Page owners to attract and gain Likes from their own website. The Like Box enables users to: See how many users already like this Page, and which of their friends like it too, Read recent posts from the Page, Like the Page with one click, without having to actually visit the page. This simple module provides a block to integrate this plugin into Drupal, and allows users with 'administer blocks' permission to configure the different attributes provided by Facebook in the block configuration." If you just want a simple block with title, picture and like button, you can very easily configure the block that way.

- Follow Button

"This module creates a block with a configurable Follow Button from Twitter." Important Note: There are currently no recommended releases available (July 2013). But in my experience the currently available release "7.x-1.x-dev 2011-Jul-06" works without any problems.

5. If you want to publish your social media posts on your website, I can recommend you the following modules for Twitter and Facebook (as it seems a comparable module for Google+ is not yet available).

- Twitter

Allows you to publish Twitter posts on your website. The great advantage of this module is, that you can define the content and style of the Twitter feeds to be published. Thus the content can be very well integrated into the website. Important is also the possibility to associate multiple Twitter accounts with the website.

"This module provides API integration with the Twitter microblogging service. Out of the box, it allows users to: Associate one or more Twitter accounts with their Drupal user account. List tweets in different ways thanks to Views. Post to their own Twitter account or a site-wide Twitter account whenever they create new content or based on Drupal Actions or Rules. Log in to your Drupal site via Twitter. Format twitter @usernames and #hashtags as links to"

- Twitter Block

This alternative to the module "Twitter" allows you to publish Twitter posts in the classical way i.e. in a very similar style as they appear on "Twitter Block is a lightweight module which allows administrators to create blocks which display embedded timelines."

6. There are many reasons why you might want to insert the "most important" social media buttons/links without a counter. A very common reason might be, that you want to include social media in a more discrete and stylish way. Another reason might be, that you are just launching a new website and that zero counters all over the website don't give the best impression. If you want to implement the "most important" social media buttons/links wihtout counter using modules, it is not so easy to find the ones, that support this possibility without additional css coding. Testing different modules I found the following possibilities:

- Easy Social

Allows you to choose whether you want to display the count for Google+, Twitter Tweets and LinkedIn Shares. Go to admin/config/content/easy_social and choose "Extra Widgets" to do so. You might want to have a small space between the icons, what you can achieve by adding a padding in the CSS code (Example: #widgets-element-socialmedia_twitter-tweet-no-count {

- Widgets Block from Social Media module

This module provides you support for social media widget sets (sets of social media icons) that can be displayed as blocks. If you want to display the Twitter tweet button wiothout count you can create a new set or override an existing set and add the "Twitter tweet button (no count)". This approach gives you also a possibility for Facebook, although it is not a "clean" solution: Choosing the "Facebook like button" you can remove the counter by narrowing the "Width".

- Follow Button

Allows you to display the Twitter Follow Button with or without counter. Go to admin/config/followbutton and choose whether you want to display the counts or not.

If you choose different modules and thus have different blocks for the various elements, you might want to display the icons in a row. One possibility to achieve this is to float all the elements on the left or right side (CSS Example: You want to display the icons of the Easy Social and Social Media blocks beside each other on the left side: .block-easy-social {float:left;} #block-widgets-s-addthis-share {float:left;})


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