My share counts are not showing, not updating or are inaccurate

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We know how important your social proof can be. It’s a powerful psychological indicator that you’ve created great, share-worthy content.

This is why we were so mad when Twitter killed off share counts, and why we worked so hard to get them back to you.

So what happens when you have a blog post or page and the share counts are not what you expect them to be? I’m going to walk you through how to troubleshoot this yourself.

Step 1: Are you set up to display the counts?

The first thing you’ll want to do is check your Display Settings inside Social Warfare > Display Settings to make sure you have the counts set to be activated.

share count display settings

We have three different settings here:

  • Total share counts: the sum total of all the shares from all of the buttons combined.
  • Individual button counts: the numbers on the individual buttons themselves.
  • Minimum share counts: the minimum number of total shares that need to be reached before any counts are shown. This is to avoid having low social proof. If you have a minimum share count set and the post/page in question has not reached that minimum count, this would be the cause of counts not showing.

Step 2: Is there enough space to display counts?

Occasionally a user might believe that their counts are not showing due to some sort of error when in fact it’s simply because they have too many buttons showing and there’s not enough room for the counts to display.

too many buttons example

Social Warfare is built to work with every screen size while maintaining the best possible aesthetic. In order to accomplish this, there is a sizing algorithm that determines how much available space there is and based on that space decides what size the buttons should be.

If there is not enough space to display buttons, counts and total shares, it will hide the counts in order to avoid looking cluttered and messy.

For optimal display, we recommend between 3-6 sharing buttons be active at once. Any more than this and the buttons begin to get very cluttered at smaller screen sizes.

It’s also worth noting that based on numerous studies on human psychology and data from some of our own users that having less sharing options actually increases the amount of shares. In psychology this is known as the Paradox of Choice.

Step 3: Have you set up your Tweet counts?

To make sure that your Tweet button is set up to get counts activated, be sure to visit the Social Warfare > Registration tab and follow the setup instructions.

Important: Twitter has officially removed support for tweet counts! As such, we rely on a third party who does the best they can to search for, find, and count the tweets containing your URLs. As a result of these limitations, there is very little support that our staff is able to provide beyond what you see here. When troubleshooting tweet counts, skip step 4a and go directly to 4b.

Step 4a: Have you checked third-party share count services?

Now we want to check several third-party services to see whether or not our share counts match theirs (or are at least a close match). Here are the services our team recommends:

These services use the same method our plugin uses which is to retrieve the share counts from the actual social network APIs (except for Twitter of course). This ensures the most accurate numbers possible.

If these services are showing different numbers, there’s a couple of reasons this could be happening. We’ll troubleshoot those later in the article.

For now, go up to your browser’s address bar and add the following to the end of your URL: ?swp_cache=rebuild

So your URL would look like this:
http://yourdomain.com/post-name/?swp_cache=rebuild

What this will do is force Social Warfare to fetch the most current numbers, instead of the previous cached versions.

Step 4b: Have you checked the official APIs?

If you want to go straight to the source of the counts, the social network APIs, you can do so yourself by using the following URLs. All you need to do is replace the http://yourdomain.com/post-name/ with your own post/page URL.

Facebook Share Counts URL

http://graph.facebook.com/?fields=og_object%7Blikes.summary(true).limit(0)%7D,share&id=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

LinkedIn Share Counts URL

https://www.linkedin.com/countserv/count/share?url=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

Pinterest Share Counts URL

https://api.pinterest.com/v1/urls/count.json?url=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

StumbleUpon Share Counts URL

https://www.stumbleupon.com/services/1.01/badge.getinfo?url=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

Tumblr Share Counts URL

https://api.tumblr.com/v2/share/stats?url=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

Yummly Share Counts URL

http://www.yummly.com/services/yum-count?url=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

Tweet Share Counts URL (via NewShareCounts.com)

http://public.newsharecounts.com/count.json?url=http://yourdomain.com/post-name/

Once you put your URL through any of these links, the page that loads will show you the number of shares that the social network has recorded. If it is different than what Social Warfare is showing, we definitely have a problem.

If you believe that the counts being shown by the social network’s API’s (including NewShareCounts.com) are inaccurate, this is an issue you need to take up with them as Social Warfare can only be as accurate as the social networks themselves.

Important: If the numbers are only slightly different than the third party tools or official network APIs, it’s likely just timing as each system updates numbers at different timed intervals. If the numbers are drastically different, we’ll want to investigate further.

Step 5: Do you have any caching plugins?

Assuming you’ve started by clearing all caches, if you are using any sort of caching plugins, turn it(them) off, open your post/page again in a new (preferably Incognito) window and refresh the page for good measure. You can also use the ?swp_cache=rebuild string again to make sure the numbers are as fresh as possible.

If that worked, then congratulations, you’ve found the root of the problem!

seinfeld yay gif

However, now you need to go into the caching plugin(s) settings and see if there is a way to have the caching plugin exclude Social Warfare files from its caching. OR see if there’s a way for you to modify how frequently the plugin cache is updated to your preference.

If there is no obvious way to do so, we recommend reaching out to the plugin developers and inquiring about these options.

Important: If you’re using a CDN or services like CloudFlare you will need to treat them the same as you are the caching plugins as the same rules apply.

Step 6: Is a security setting blocking the cache rebuild trigger from firing?

Social Warfare uses a trigger that fires off after the page has finished loading in order to tell the server to fetch new share counts. This guarantees that the end user never sees a slower page load while the various social network APIs are being pinged for new counts. You can read more about this here.

To do this, we ping the server with the URL parameters that we mentioned above: ?swp_cache=rebuild. However, we’ve noticed that some security plugins like WordFence block and strip out all URL parameters.

You test this by simply adding ?swp_cache=rebuild we mentioned previously to the end of any post/page URL on your site. Again, it will look something like this: http://yourdomain.com/post-name/?swp_cache=rebuild

If the URL parameters remain in the address bar, this is not an issue. However, if those parameters disappear then you have a security plugin that is blocking that trigger.

The fix for this is actually quite simple. Navigate to Social Warfare > Rare Configurations and set the Caching Method setting to Legacy Cache Triggering.

caching method

Step 7: Is the server throwing an error?

In some instances, your server may be configured in a way that it doesn’t support the functions that we use to contact the social media API’s or it may even be actively blocking the API requests. To fix this, you’ll probably need to make an adjustment to your server. In most cases, simply copying and pasting this section into an email to your hosting provider will allow them to identify and fix the issue immediately.

First, you’ll need to test if this is indeed the case. You can do this by adding ?swp_cache=rebuild to the end of a blog post URL in your browser’s address bar. When you do this, one of three things will happen:

  1. The post will load properly.
  2. The post will stop loading when it reaches the content area. No errors will be shown.
  3. The post will stop loading when it reaches the content area. It will show an error.

Second, if scenario #2 or #3 occur, then there exists an issue with the server that needs to be remedied. Here are the most likely scenarios that we’ve encountered.

Problem #1: PHP – Your server is not using a version of PHP 5.3 or newer.

Solution #1: Have your hosting provider update PHP to the latest stable version.

Problem #2: cURL – cURL is not enabled, cURL multi functions are not enabled, or cURL is not on the latest stable version.

Solution #2: Have your hosting provider enable cURL, enable cURL multi functons, and update their cURL library to the latest stable version.

Problem #3: Firewall – Your server firewall is blocking the outbound requests.

Solution #3: Have your hosting provider whitelist access to the social media networks from which the plugin needs to fetch share counts.

Now your hosting provider will be able to check your error logs and see if any of the above is applicable. Just copy/paste this info and send them an email with it and they should know what to do to help you troubleshoot and fix this.

Step 8: Still not working?

For 99.999% of cases, this process is exactly what our team would do to troubleshoot and solve any issues with share counts.

If you have gone through each step and confirmed that your counts are still not what they should be, please feel free to contact our support team.

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