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How to Place Instagram Feeds in WordPress Sidebars

Do you want to add Instagram feeds to your WordPress website? Social media websites have become a staple in how websites and businesses market themselves. Instagram is one of the largest social media websites in the world and boasts the best engagement.

This is what makes it one of the best social media websites to advertise on your site. Social media has become a very sought-after talent and many marketing teams focus on it. This is because collectively, social media websites have billions of monthly views.

Facebook on its own has over 1 billion monthly views. There are many ways to improve your social media skills, especially on Instagram.

Today, I will demonstrate how to place an Instagram feed on your WordPress sidebar using the Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed plugin.

Why Place Instagram Feeds in WordPress

Instagram feeds are a great thing to display on your website, but you need to make sure they fit your website. If they do not, either your website needs to be brought in line with your Instagram feed or your Instagram feed needs to be changed to match your website.

Many Instagram feeds for a company will include product placement, commercial screenshots, and other typical things you would expect. However, they also contain lots of things that you wouldn’t expect like Apple showing off animals.

As you can imagine, animals are not related to the tech giant in any way, but everyone loves animals. Placing pictures of things that are loved by the majority of people is a great way to get attention. You must also keep in mind the time of year.

For example, the holiday season is full of many different holidays. Promoting one exclusively is not considered friendly. However, you can use your Instagram to share pictures of different holidays to make your website inviting to everyone.

How to Place Instagram Feeds in WordPress Sidebars

Step 1: Install the Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed Plugin

The Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed plugin has over 1 million active installs and gives you a lot of functionality. And don’t worry if you have multiple Instagram accounts, you can link all of them.

The best part about this plugin is how easy it is to use. All of the Instagram feeds are added by using shortcodes. It is completely free to use, but there is a Pro version that has a lot of additional features you may like.

Note: This plugin also handles Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube feed integrations. You can even create a social wall to place all of your feeds on one page. That said, this tutorial will only focus on Instagram.

Let’s begin by clicking on Plugins and selecting the Add New option on the left-hand admin panel.

Add New

Search for Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed in the available search box. This will pull up additional plugins that you may find helpful.

Smash Balloon

Scroll down until you find the Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed plugin and click the “Install Now” button and activate the plugin for use.

Install Now

On the left-hand admin panel, click on the Instagram Feed option. This will pull up the main settings page.

click on the Instagram Feed option.

Now that the plugin is installed, you need to link your Instagram account or accounts with the plugin. This will allow you to post your Instagram galleries to your WordPress website. It is very easy to link your account.

Click on the “Log in and get my Access Token and User ID” button.

Click on the "Log in and get my Access Token and User ID" button

A new page will open up with an Instagram sign-in. Sign into your Instagram account. You must make your account public. If it is set to a private account, you must change it or you will see an error message.

Once you have logged in, you will be asked if you authorize the Smash Balloon plugin for WordPress. Click on the “Authorize” button.

Click on the "Authorize" button.

The Access Token and User ID will now be viewable on your WordPress website. Your account is now linked. It is time to start setting up the Instagram Feed plugin.

Step 3: Setting Up Instagram Feeds in WordPress

The first thing you need to decide on is what you are actually going to show. The free version of the plugin only allows you to display from a user ID. Copy the User ID and paste it into the User ID text box.

Paste the User ID here.

This will allow you to display feeds from the Instagram account you linked earlier. If you have multiple accounts, separate the User ID with a comma. Click on the “Save Changes” button to save your work. Click on the Customize tab.

Click on the Customize tab.

This tab has all of the main settings to change. You need to carefully go through each setting and make sure it is correct for where you are placing this. For example, placing your feed directly on a page or post is different from a sidebar.

Sidebars are much smaller and you need to properly size the content. Once you have gone through all of the settings, click on the “Save Changes” button. Click on the “Display Your Feed” tab.

Click on the "Display Your Feed" tab.

There are no settings on this page, but it provides all of the shortcodes you can use. All of the ones that have a red background will require the pro version to use, but the free ones should be more than enough.

If you ever need to use multiple Instagram feeds, you need to separate the User IDs with a comma. For example, here is a single feed:

[instagram-feed id=”1234567″]

and here is a double feed example:

[instagram-feed id=”1234567, 2345678″]

You can have as many different feeds as you would like.

Take any of the shortcodes you need and paste them into a text editor on any page, post, or text widget. The text widget will let you place them in your sidebar or footer areas, but remember to properly size them.

Congratulations, you have learned how to add Instagram feeds to your website by using the Instagram Feed plugin. This plugin is a great way to share all of your feeds and galleries with your visitors. It is also a great way to get visitors to recognize your Instagram account.

Beware of Page Slowdowns

One negative aspect of integrating any type of social media feed into WordPress is the impact on load times. While clever web developers can optimize these tools or use code to integrate them into their website with minimal impact, not everyone can.

Thus, be sure to check your website’s performance by using tools such as GTMetrix.

In the case of the plugin above, too many images in your sidebar may reduce site performance. If you find this to be the case, try to limit how many images you share at once.

Integrate Social Media With WordPress

The integration of social media into websites is necessary to be successful in today’s world. Social media attracts billions of views every year and even a fraction of that attention could mean millions of views.

There are lots of ways to integrate different social media platforms and many of them play into their specific strengths. For instance, you can create a YouTube gallery in WordPress to showcase your content and add video content to WordPress.

However, it’s also important to remember that they are not the center of attention.

Your website is about your content and social media should be a way to get the word out about it. It should never be the main focus of your website. The only exception is if the website is an extension of social media account.

Like a Youtuber’s private website that may be in place to show Patreon supporters videos early or sell merch.

How many Instagram feeds have you used on your website? Do you have other social media features on your website?

Author: Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been writing tutorials about WordPress and other CMS for over 3 years since joining the GreenGeeks marketing team. Thanks to this, he has had the opportunity to research and master several areas of WordPress including plugin usage, SEO, website design, and social media integration. When he is not creating content for WordPress, Robert is digging up new content ideas for environmental pieces. These range from the pollution in our air to the danger’s wildlife face. And with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, he is always eager to discuss the way our technologies are affecting the environment, especially when it comes to solar energy.

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