Providing visitors an incentive to subscribe to your blog is no new practice – many bloggers offer something free upfront in exchange for a subscription, such as an ebook or report. So, what’s stopping you from doing the same to grow your social following?
Exclusive Content for Your Social Following
The key is to diversify your social activity – don’t re-post the same thing to Twitter and Facebook … that makes it pointless to follow you on both platforms. Instead, consider creating exclusive content for each platform, then offering it only to the following of that platform.
You can see an example of this at CreativeBlogger, where I’ve published a post called Using Facebook Groups to Build Targeted Email Lists.
Obviously, the goal of this particular content is focused on providing the community following Creativeblogger on Facebook with something relevant and valuable. Because the follower is on Facebook, I know he or she will be interested in tips related to Facebook. However, there’s another reason for this approach. The overall goal of this strategy is to encourage readers or visitors to connect to you on Facebook and thus grow the community following you on Facebook. This reveals social proof, this provides you the connection in a safe environment people trust, and this helps amplify your maximum reach.
Create Locked Posts
To do this, I’ve simply created a locked post in WordPress, which requires a password to unlock it. Once published, I shared the post with the community at Facebook and provided them the password I set. This first step is about following through on your word to deliver your following exclusive content.
The next step focused on promoting the post just like any other post. Bookmark it on Reddit, Tweet it out to a few friends, sharing it on Facebook with my personal profile, mentioning it in relevant guest posts … the idea is to gain as much exposure as possible. The more exposure the post gets, the more people will see I’m offering exclusive content, and furthermore, that they have to connect via Facebook to get it.
This type of activity is more of a fun way to grow your following. It’s not guaranteed to work, because if a reader were to click over to your page on Facebook, she would be able to see the password on the wall. If she wanted to, she could access the content without connecting. I have a feeling, however, that though this will happen, a dedicated reader will likely connect for the sake of convenience and support.
Facebook Groups As An Alternative
You could avoid this whole problem by focusing this type of strategy toward growing the community of a particular group, using the email option or privacy options to conceal the password from non-followers.
However, a Facebook group simply isn’t the same as a Facebook page.
To Unlock, or Not To Unlock
The question of eventually unlocking the content so non-followers can enjoy the content as well is entirely up to you.
At the moment, I’m not entirely sure what would be best, but I’m leaning toward unlocking it eventually. Now it just becomes a matter of time.