This is a guest post by Jonathan Mead of Paid to Exist.
Most people say that social media traffic isn’t something you can really automate. It’s one of those things that you have to engage in daily to see a big return in. I think that’s partially true.
You do get back what you put into it. Followers and retweets aren’t just going to spring up out of the ground without you putting in any effort. However, there are ways you can automate parts of the process.
I found a way to do this with my newsletter sign up page (squeeze page) and so far it’s resulted in over 600 tweets. In this post I’m going to walk you through exactly how I did it.
Most people never get their squeeze pages shared. Actually, most people are embarassed to even show them to anyone because they’re typically filled with over-the-top marketing. Think GIANT RED HEADLINES and animated .gif arrows.
Not exactly something you’re really proud to show off to your mom.
So, some people think it’s kind of weird that I was able to get my squeeze page (of all pages) shared. Blog post? Sure. Manifesto? Sure. But a squeeze page? Seems highgly unlikely.
But rather than talking about it, I’ll just show you the proof:
[Source: To see the full page, you can go here: http://www.illuminatedmind.net/armory/]
Granted, this is over the course of several months. It didn’t happen over night. It took time and careful tweaking to get that many tweets. But now I regularly get 20-30 new optins per day just from people retweeting this page.
Here are some of those tweets over the course of a couple of days:
The best part is that these come in without me really doing anything. I’ve just set up a few key calls to action in various places, and everything else happens on autopilot.
Here’s what’s going on under the hood with this strategy:
- A highly valuable opt-in library of guides
- A pre-written tweet and link set up on ClicktoTweet.com
- A carefully written call to action in the welcome email
- Another call to action on the confirmation success page after they submit their name and email
Under the Hood: Why This Work So Well
The most important element going on here is definitely the “library” of guides people get when they opt-in (we call it The Armory). Please note that I use the word “library” loosely. It’s only three guides, but most people only deliver one manifesto or ebook for opting in. We wanted to go above and beyond and really kind of overwhelm people with value right away.
While we’re on the subject, let’s look at why this works so well and why reciprocity and social goodwill is so powerful.
When you genuinely give because you just want to help people, those you help are naturally inclined to want to give back. As humans we’ve developed with value of sharing throughout our evolution and it’s been critical for our success. Whenever we gathered or hunted food, we shared it with the rest of our tribe. Those that hoarded or didn’t share their food were punished. This ensures that the group as a whole stays strong and is able to ward off any encroachment or threats from competition. Other mammals only share food from mother to child until they are able to fend for themselves, but parents of humans share until adulthood (source).
Naturally, the more you give and support your community, the more they are going to want to give back to you. Your livelihood then becomes dependent on how much you give.
The same rule applies and works powerfully in the tribes we build and serve online.
The more you give freely, the more others are likely to respond in kind.
Giving with Abandon
Naturally a fear can arise when you think about giving people your best stuff. “What if I have nothing left to offer, or what if people won’t need to buy my products” is a discouraging thought that many of us face when we’re stuck in a scarcity mindset.
But the truth is, the more you practice giving with abandon, the more you have to give. The more you give away your best stuff freely, the more great ideas flow. When you hoard your knowledge and expertise, you essentially block it’s flow.
Giving is like a river, it must flow continuously or it becomes stopped.
Action step: Think about how you can create an immense amount of value when for someone that subscribes to your email list. How can you blow them away?
Setting Up for the Ask
The key with this strategy is not just giving people a ton of value and then saying “If you like this, why not share it?” We need to be a bit more tactful and deliberate than that.
If we’re going to make it compelling enough for our new subscriber to share, we need to speak to their emotions. We’ve done the hard work of giving them a lot of value, now we need to speak to their sense of identity and deeply seated beliefs.
Here’s the exact copy we use in our welcome email:
“PS: Did you find the guides you’re about to dig in to helpful?
We think more people need to stop following a template and start working and living on their own terms.
If you agree, click here to tweet about them and spread the good word.”
Notice how we’re focusing on them doing this not asking for a favor (a selfish reason), and not just to return a favor we’ve given them with the guides. We’re appealing to their sense of identity and affinity with the cause that we’re together working toward: helping more people live and work on their own terms.
People are more inclined to not only take action when they’ve been given something first, but when the action is aligned with something that they deeply believe in.
Action step: How can you create a sense of identity and a shared cause within your community?
Pre-populate Tweet & Calls to Action
You’ll notice from the example retweets above that they’re all the same. That’s because whenever someone clicks the link to “click here to tweet about it” in our welcome email, we’re controlling it with a pre-populated message.
The way we do this is with a tool called ClicktoTweet.com.
It allows you to write a prewritten message so you can add a link for someone to “click to tweet” about it in a blog post, autoresponder email or really wherever you can post a link.
Here’s a breakdown of the message we use with ClicktoTweet:
Part 1: Three incredible guides to help you work on your own terms: — reinforces the value of our guides for anyone else that might see their tweet
Part 2: http://bit.ly/nDYocX — link to our landing page shortened with a url shortener that allows us to track clicks
Part 3: <– really valuable via @jonathanmead — a simple value enforcer, along with my @ username on Twitter so I can see who’s tweeting our stuff and how many tweets we’re getting
Again, this is pretty basic copywriting stuff. Nothing too fancy going on here. The important part here is to really communicate the value of your opt-in and create a strong call to action in the tweet.
Once you’ve done this, I’m sure you can find all sorts of other secondary calls to actions for the tweet. Of course you can limit it to the welcome email, but you can also add it to your “Thank You” page after they’ve subscribed, other follow-up messages, and inside the free guides themselves if you’re using PDFs.
Action step: Create a Click to Tweet message with a strong call to action.
Putting it All Together
The best part about this is that while it’s a lot of work up front, once you put everything together it just sort of runs on autopilot without you having to do much of anything.
The more you can automate list building with social media, SEO or whatever strategy you like, the more your community will grow without much conscious effort on your part. These are what I like to call evergreen community building strategies.
Just to recap, the process-flow works like this:
Step 1: Create compelling library of guides or comprehensive toolkit
Step 2: Set up the ask in the Welcome email (and various points)
Step 3: Create the ClicktoTweet link
I hope you enjoyed this case study. And when you implement this strategy, please let me know how it’s working out for you on Twitter or by sending me an email. I love hearing about people implementing and getting results.
More than anything, I hope you find ways to give unabashedly to your audience and surpass what they ever could have imagined. That’s the real way to build your tribe and create something worth remembering.