Social connections and community building are key strategies for building an audience and promoting your brand, and the right theme for your self-hosted WordPress website can help. Nearly every WordPress theme can be optimized for social sharing with the many social sharing plugins available from WordPress, but if you’re looking for ways to integrate your WordPress website with popular social media platforms, or to create a community right on your site, a WordPress theme that’s designed with sharing in mind might be just what you’re looking for.
Being Social Takes Many Forms
The phrase “social media,” most likely brings to mind familiar platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and promoting your brand on those sites is a time-tested strategy for creating brand awareness and promoting trust in your business or service. Creating a profile and being active on these kinds of sites allows WordPress site runners of all kinds to interact with customers, readers, and fans; share information, and promote products and services.
Alongside these platforms, it’s possible to create other kinds of social sharing environments, too. Rather than using the tools of third-party social media platforms to build a community, some WordPress users are creating those kinds of communities themselves, with tools for turning their own WordPress websites into niche-specific social networks, forums, and content sharing communities. Whether you’re a blogger hoping to build an audience, an entrepreneur who wants to create a membership site, or a publisher planning an online magazine, you’ll probably find the features you need in a WordPress theme designed with social media in mind.
Choosing a Social Media Theme
Free and premium WordPress social media themes are available from both the WordPress Theme Directory itself and a multitude of developers and designers around the world. These themes provide all the functionality for creating and customizing a WordPress site, along with additional features for things like sharing, commenting, and integrating social media profiles and feeds.
A quality social media theme should streamline the process of social sharing, with tools for posting and publicizing website content on relevant social media sites, and for showing social media activity on the site. Social media-focused themes can allow users to display news feeds, posts, and other activity on selected social platforms on the site, along with information such as likes, shares, and followers. Some also support cross-posting content directly to specified social media sites, such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
If you’re planning to create a social network or content sharing format on your site, look for a social media theme that works with the popular WordPress plugins BuddyPress and bbPress. BuddyPress adds functionality for creating a full-featured social media platform directly within your site’s theme, and bbPress can add a forum to any WordPress site.
Depending on the goals and purpose of your WordPress site, other social features to look for might include front-end content forms for contributors, membership and subscription signup forms, and tools for creating contact forms and managing comments. You may still need to install additional plugins to get all the functions your site needs, so it’s important to choose a theme that’s compatible with leading social media and contact form plugins available from WordPress and elsewhere.
There’s a WordPress theme for every budget, from free themes available from the WordPress Theme Directory that can be accessed from your site’s admin dashboard and a variety of third-party sources to full-featured premium themes that can be purchased from developers’ sites and digital asset marketplaces. Quality free themes should have good code and the features you need, but they may not offer updates or support. Premium themes, or the “pro” version of many free themes, typically comes with ongoing support and regular updates for quality and security, along with multiple demos, templates, and other customizable elements.
Here’s a collection of free and premium WordPress social media themes that include a variety of features and functions for social sharing and community building.
Designed for bloggers and small businesses, IAmSocial is available from the WordPress Theme Directory. This free theme can be customized with a variety of colors and fonts and supports easy connectivity to users’ social media profiles and content.
The Socially Viral theme can also be installed from the WordPress Theme Directory. This free theme is designed with bloggers in mind and includes tools for boosting social sharing and getting traffic from leading social sites.
Kleo is a multipurpose WordPress theme that is also designed for building social networks and online communities. This premium theme fully integrates with the popular network building plugin BuddyPress and is also compatible with Facebook and the WordPress eCommerce plugin WooCommerce.
Responsive and quick loading, Nuovo is a highly customizable theme that displays social media links in the headers, and RSS feeds and other links for sharing in users’ choice of several widget areas. Nuovo is available for free from the Theme Directory and from its developer.
BeSocial is a premium WordPress theme built around the BuddyPress social networking plugin, with additional support for the BuddyPress companion plugin bbPress that adds a discussion forum to the network. BeSocial also allows users to add the Facebook commenting feature directly to the site and includes tools for creating member profiles and making friend requests.
Social sharing and networking are essential components of a successful marketing plan. Creating social connections and interactivity around your brand can boost traffic and build long-term relationships with customers. WordPress social media themes offer the tools and features for seamlessly connecting your social media accounts and your website, and for adding social networking and discussion features that help build a community for consumers of your business or services. From displaying your Twitter feed to building a complete social platform on your site, there’s a WordPress social media theme for that