At Invoke, we consider social to be a key method of amplification; a measure of engagement; and a core component of a brand’s digital presence. As such, most websites we build have social media content tightly integrated within them. That may include a feed of user-generated photos supporting a particular campaign, or an aggregation of social content from a brand’s various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo). Or, it may be a simple video feed from a YouTube channel that’s displayed with a custom video player.
Recently, we’ve realized that there isn’t an easy way to aggregate content from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, RSS feeds — or even all of the above all at once — and then manage this content on a website. Since we, and our clients, do it so often… wouldn’t it be easier to manage the social content through an admin panel? And wouldn’t it be more efficient if we could reuse the code?
Several of our greatest product success stories (like Hootsuite and Brightkit) were borne of a need to solve a problem of our own, and recognizing a gap in the market. We took the same approach, but on a smaller scale, with this one: since no WordPress plugin met our needs… we built one.
Our WordPress plugin aggregates social content from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube,Vimeo, and generic RSS feeds and then stores the content in a custom post type inside WordPress. The plugin runs on a daily basis, fetching new content on the selected platforms, and can be managed through the admin panel (so content can be easily moderated). And since it’s a plugin, we can quickly reuse it across multiple projects.
We found it quite helpful and the larger WordPress community might too; hence, you can find the Social Media Aggregator on the WordPress Plugin Directory for use on your own sites.
The plugin is easy to set up: enable the social platforms you want to use and add the relevant API keys/access tokens. Once the settings are saved, the plugin will start fetching social content, tagging it with its respective source, storing it in the custom “Social Content” post type, and publishing each item.
Displaying the content on the front-end is simple. You can use the plugin by including a shortcode into your post, page, or widget that will render out a gallery of items found in the “social content” post type. Options such as the number of columns to display and the ability to filter by sources are easily adjustable. It’s also possible to have multiple galleries on the same page and have them filtered by different sources.
While it’s great to have a simple way to render social content in a gallery via a shortcode, we feel the real advantage of the plugin comes from the API available: it gives developers the flexibility and control to structure the content in the front-end exactly as needed. This allows you to create mosaics or media pages while not having to shoehorn statically generated HTML to fit to your design. More documentation on this can be found on the plugin page.
One great example of how we are using the plugin can be seen on Freefly Systems. The social aggregator plugin pulls content from Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Freefly’s forum, Vimeo, and Facebook.
We hope you get the chance to use the plugin on your next project. If you have any questions or a suggestion to improve the plugin, feel free to send us an email. We’ll be glad to help out and hear about how the plugin helped you.
Header image courtesy of Joel Kramer.