Over the past year I have been using a little social locker trick to help drive social shares across the entire blog every single day on complete auto pilot.
This resulted in a total of 43,094 social shares to date.
All without having to lift a finger.
Today I’m going to reveal my dirty little secret and how you can do exactly the same for your own site.
What Will I Learn?
Social Sharing Gone Wild
Before I reveal my dirty little secret I want to show you the real world results of my strategy.
The graph below shows the number of shares this blog has received over the past month as a direct result of my secret social locker strategy.
In the last month alone there have been a total of 3,185 social shares!
I would have missed out on all of those shares if it wasn’t for my sneaky social media sharing strategy.
This strategy makes it easy to squeeze as much value as possible out of your traffic without having to do any extra work – my favourite type of strategy :)
The Problem With Social Sharing
However I want to quickly address some of the problems with social sharing and why it isn’t as effective as it used to be.
When social share buttons first appeared on the scene visitors shared content like there was no tomorrow. However over time visitors have become less and less motivated to share your content.
As more sites have adopted social share buttons visitors have started to place them in their psychological blind spot. Much like banner ad blindness visitors are now getting use to seeing social share buttons and ignore them subconsciously.
Even when a visitor really likes your content – they are not sharing it like they used to.
So how do we address that problem?
Revealing My Dirty Little Social Locker Secret
When I launched my tiered link building tutorials over 2 years ago I wanted them to be shared everywhere.
To encourage people to share I decided to put together an exclusive pack of resources that could only be unlocked if someone shared the tutorial on social media.
This would not only bring new visitors which in turn would bring more social shares but would also give the pages social signals from an SEO perspective.
To give you an idea of how it worked, this is what it looked like when I first integrated the strategy on the blog-
It wasn’t pretty and was a very clunky solution – but it worked and as you can see it certainly helped to drive social sharing.
I was happy with how the initial testing went so it made sense to develop the strategy further.
Taking It To The Next Level
I wanted to take what I had learnt, develop the strategy a little more and then roll it out across the entire blog.
The problem was the integration sucked and was causing huge problems with caching. It took a lot of time to setup for each post and was pretty basic.
So I started looking for other solutions and came across the OnePress Social Locker plugin.
This plugin was much more developed, compatible with caching, looked pretty, was easy to setup and provided a range of useful stats. It’s easily the best social locker plugin for WordPress.
So let’s take a closer look at the social locker plugin, how it works and how I use it to drive thousands of shares across social media.
A Closer Look At The Social Locker Plugin
All the Onepress Social Locker does is lock your most valuable content behind a set of social share buttons.
When someone shares your page, they unlock the additional content.
Try it for yourself below, just share the page and you will be able to download a PDF copy of this post-
It is pretty simple really but that basic theory can be applied to your site in a number of ways with the social content locker plugin.
There are lots of different ways you can use this plugin to your advantage.
Here are a few ideas to help get your creative juices flowing-
One of my favourite uses of this plugin is to create a set of exclusive resources that are relevant to the current tutorial.
For example at the end of my TheBestSpinner tutorial people can share the page to unlock the extra resources.
This is one of my favourite uses for the social locker plugin and it really helps to drive those social shares.
If it’s not possible to create a set of exclusive resources then you can just make a PDF copy of the post available to download like I have with this post.
This is really east to do and it takes less than a minute to create a PDF version of your post using the Print Friendly browser extension.
This is a strategy I’m starting to see a lot of bloggers user now – just remember where you saw it first :P
You could also upload the PDF to SlideShare to get even more value nudge nudge wink wink.
If the post is video based then you can just make the video available to download-
I just use Format Factory to create a lower resolution mobile version.
Promo Codes & Discounts
You could also put an exclusive discount behind a social locker to not only increase sales conversion but to also attract new visitors as well.
You could place the locker on your homepage, product page or if you run an e-commerce website on the thank you page after checkout.
One of the other great ways to use the social locker is to hide some of the content in your blog post.
For example you might write an awesome post where you reveal all of your juciy secrets in the last few paragraphs. You could put those behind a social locker.
Terry Kyle did exactly that with this post.
How To Create A Social Locker For WordPress
To create a social locker for WordPress is really easy once you install the OnePress Social Locker plugin.
Once installed just go to Social lockers > Add social locker and configure it how you want.
I will show you exactly how a social locker for WordPress is set up on this page.
The first to take care of are the basic options which are really simple!
All you have to do is enter the header text and message you want to display in the social locker itself.
You can also choose which theme you want to use and how it locks the content. I always use the classic mode like I have in this post, but you can also lock the entire page.
There are 4 themes to choose from by default but I will show you how to customise them later.
Next you have to choose which social networks you want to be active to unlock your content.
There are a range of options here including the usual Google +1, Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet and LinkedIn Share.
But you can also get people to follow you on Twitter and share directly on Facebook/Google+.
You can also change the order they are displayed in by dragging each network up or down. Personally I always have Google+ first, then Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Last but not least you need to setup the visibility and advanced options.
As you can see there are a range of visibility options to choose from but I usually leave these at default.
There are also a range of advanced options to choose from, again I leave these at default except for the Ajax option which means people can’t see the locked content in the HTML source code.
You can see a live preview of your social locker as you tweak the various options.
This is really helpful and makes editing/tweaking the social locker a breeze.
When you want to insert the social locker into a post you have a couple of options.
You can either do it manually by copying/pasting the relevant shortcode into the post where you want the social locker to appear. This is what I do.
The other option is to use the batch lock feature.
The batch lock feature makes it easy for you to lock all of the content across your blog in a couple of clicks.
For example you can have the social locker to hide content on every single post after the 4th paragraph.
I tend to create a unique social locker for every single post I publish so I like to use the manual locking feature.
Each social locker you create has its own shortcode that you can place anywhere you want it to appear.
So with this post for example I’m offering up a PDF download in exchange for a social share.
This is what the code looks like in the post editor-
This makes the social locker appear and when the user shares the page, it reveals the Thank You For Sharing section between the shortcode tags which includes a link to the PDF.
Customising The Design
Using the StyleRoller addon it is possible to create and customise social locker themes easily.
You can create as many different themes as you want to use on as many social lockers as you want.
The interface is really easy to use and gives you full control over the styling and appearance of the social locker itself.
Here is a quick example of what you can do-
The style roller makes it really easy to integrate the social locker into your existing sites design or to make it really stand out.
Stats & Google Analytics Integration
One of the things I like most about the OnePress Social Locker is the direct integration of usage statistics.
You can view the statisics in a couple of different ways.
Built In Statistics
By default the plugin will track usage statistics directly within the WordPress admin dashboard.
It will show you how many social shares each of your social lockers are getting on which networks for the date range you select.
In the image above you can see the performance of the social lockers for August so far along with which lockers have received the most shares.
You can also enable Google Analytics tracking in the options panel.
This works with the old version of Google Analytics along with the new universal analytics.
It will detect which you are using automatically and insert event tracking tags across all of your social lockers.
This information is really handy to have in Analytics and you can setup goals based on those events to track conversions easily.
Wrapping It Up
So there we have it.
My dirty little secret to unlock thousands of social media shares is all yours!
You can download a free version of the social locker for WordPress right here.
Spend time creating relevant resources for your content and drop it behind a social locker.
You’ll be amazed at the huge difference that small change will make.
If you are feeling extra lazy don’t forget you can just create a PDF copy of your post and put that behind a social locker.
What other creative ways can you think of to use this strategy? Let me know in the comments!