For us, implementing social media with WordPress websites has always been one of the biggest annoyances when it comes to developing projects. The ecosystem is filled with old plugins that are expensive, only do a few things, and require developer level support when it comes to making basic changes.
But, that no longer seems to be the case. WP Social Ninja was recently released, and promises to be the solution to all of these problems. It bills itself as a Swiss knife for social integration into WordPress - incorporate social reviews, social chats, and social feeds, all with one tool. In this review, we're going to take a look at the plug-in, ease-of-use, features and functionality, pricing, and more to see if it delivers on all it promises.
This tool ships with three core features that we will cover in more detail. It has social reviews integration, meaning you can display reviews from Google, Amazon, Facebook, and more on your website. This is great if you're an e-commerce brand, service business, or anybody else who is looking to inspire social proof by displaying real customer reviews from credible networks.
The social feeds integration is what you typically think about when it comes to a social media plug-in for WordPress. This allows you to display recent Facebook post, Instagram photos, Tweets, and more on a website.
The social chats side of things allows you to set up a customer facing chat link using Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, and several other services.
By now, you may be thinking, this plugin is combining the features and functionality of three separate plugins - and you would be completely right. There's nothing else out there that allows you to add reviews while also having chats and feeds, but it makes perfect sense because it's all using the same API and integration method. Now, let's take a deeper look into the back end of the plugin and how it works.
Currently, you can add feeds from Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Facebook is coming soon.
As a test, I implemented my personal Instagram account. It took under 10 seconds to do, as it used the native Instagram API authorization process, which took only two clicks.
After adding the account, we can then build a template to display my Instagram posts.
Here, we can change the source, select from pre-built templates, filter my Instagram images, configure the header, follow button, pagnation, and more. After saving, disc and then be added to the front end of the website by copying and pasting the short code in the header of the WPSocialNinja builder.
This process is the same for any other social feed you choose to add to the front end of a website.
Here's an example of what the YouTube feed looks like. For each social network, there are several templates that are branded to the look of that platform. It's incredibly well done, and can be customized further.
Social reviews supports virtually every platform you would need to display credible user reviews for your company. This is definitely tailored towards e-commerce brands selling on Amazon, service-based businesses with presence on Google My Business, and/or hospitality websites with listings on booking.com and Airbnb.
Implementation for all platforms should take under 30 seconds:
Once you've added your platform, then you can create a template that will display all reviews for your company on the front end of the website.
There's also the feature to add custom reviews which will be interspersed throughout the automatically synchronized reviews on your WordPress website.
For the synchronized reviews, you can select multiple platforms, choose your template, and change various settings to display business reviews on the front end of your WordPress website. The beauty with this plug-in is that it is incredibly easy to add additional networks, synchronize reviews automatically, and change the design ideology from the backend.
You can also can figure review notifications, which will pop up in the lower left corner of your website with new ones are added. This is helpful in terms of social proof.
Like everything with his plugin, you can insert it onto the front end with a simple short code.
The social chat side of things has a wide range of networks that you can choose from. Once you determine which network you want to use, selected, and enter your user name in the input field.
It will display with a widget somewhat like this on a single page or globally depending on how you set it up. This box as well designed, and relatively responsive. However, something to note is that this isn't live chat on the website. Instead, it will simply redirect the visitor to which ever social chat platform they have selected. In the example below, you would be redirected to the Instagram app to DM the individual. It would not happen on the website.
if you have multiple networks, they will display within the chat pop up, like so:
You you have the ability to change a lot of things regarding the design, messages, and more.
There are a few common questions in the Oxygen Builder official Facebook group: How do I add an Instagram Feed to my site? How do I show live business review with Oxygen?
This tool is your answer. With a recent update, the company launched a native oxygen builder element, meaning that you can simply create a feed in your WordPress backend, and then insert that specific feed onto your Oxygen Builder page canvas. Let's take a look at that:
Then, select a template which will automatically populate in the oxygen builder element.
You'll then have the ability to style your social feed or reviews further by using the standard oxygen builder CSS properties.
Pricing comes in at $79 per year for a single domain license, $249 per year for 25 sites, and $389 per year for unlimited sites. There is no LTD currently, but the company typically runs special offerings on holidays and promo periods.
This is an expensive plugin. However, when you take into account all of the features that it bundles into one platform, the ease of use, good design, and ability to style without needing to know any complex CSS, JS, and API access, I believe that it is well worth the price.
On the WordPress repository, which typically has to do with the free version of this plug-in, there is overwhelmingly positive support. Of all eight reviews, each is five stars:
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, this plugin stands alone and that it combines the features of many different plugins into one. With that being said, let's take a look at some of the closest competitors to WPSocialNinja.
The ElfSight Suite is perhaps the biggest competitor to WPSN, but differs in how it prices its product. ElfSight is a platform that allows you to make widgets using their UI, and embed them into a website using an iFrame or JS insert. With it you can do everything and more that WPSocialNinja. However, they charge monthly for every individual feature. For example, pro pricing for their Instagram feed - one feature - comes in at $10/month. It's easy, but pricey.
SmashBaloon is another social plugin for WordPress. Previously, they offered one plugin for one function - for example, if you wanted a Facebook feed, then you'd buy the Facebook feed widget. Recently, they released their bundle offering, which includes Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube feeds alongside a social wall.
When compared to WPSocialNinja it's missing the reviews side of things and comes in a $299 per year (and renews at almost $600). In our opinion WPSN simply offers more for less.
WPSocialNinja is a well-built social toolkit plugin for WordPress that offers a host of features for a good price. It's relatively new, meaning that you can expect many more features and integrations into the future. Compared to other offerings it either costs less while offering more, or combines the collection of feeds, reviews and chats under one roof which is something nobody else is doing.
Any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.