Case Study: 11x More Shares for jiveSYSTEMS


Will Franco (aka Flywheel) runs a video email marketing software called jiveSYSTEMS. In this case study, we examine how he increased his social shares by a factor of 11, by using WP Sharely.

Will has a similar issue to the one I experienced with my IM Impact blog: he creates good content and he has very good interaction and engagement with his customers (in his case via email), but in terms of social shares, he’s not getting too much traction.

As many bloggers know, social media is not a meritocracy – it’s more of a popularity contest. Just creating good content is rarely enough to get social media attention and for every “authority” who receives hundreds of shares for each piece of drivel they publish, there are hundreds of bloggers who don’t get the attention they feel they deserve.

WP Sharely is built to put some more control over this into your hands and Will gave it a try on his blog.

In his post “How to Create Videos that Don’t Suck“, he added a Sharely element below the main content.

Let’s look at the results and then do a quick analysis of the post.

Social Sharing Results

Here is a comparison of the average share numbers from the five posts before the “Videos that Don’t Suck” one, compared to the share numbers generated with WP Sharely in the post:

Platfom: Avg. Shares: Sharely Shares: Improvement:
Tweets 1 15 x15
Likes 5.4 57 x10.5
Google +1s 1.6 17 x10.6
Total Shares 7.6 89 x11.7

As you can see, the effect is anything but subtle. Sharely boosted the number of shares generated by a factor of more than 11!

Post Analysis

There are several factors that contribute to the result, apart from Sharely being implemented. Here’s a quick analysis of the post:

jiveSYSTEMS post

Title: the title is catchy and makes for a good, shareable text. There are hundreds of ways in which Will could have come up with a much more boring headline, but he chose something slightly edgy and that tends to help for gaining social traction.

Image: right below the headline, there’s a simple but eye-catching image. It’s not necessarily a vital component, but it helps make the post more visually unique. Imagine the post without the image and you’ll see that it just wouldn’t be quite the same. Plus, it adds an image to go along with the post if someone shares it on G+ or Facebook.

Main Content: the main content is delivered by video (which makes a lot of sense, considering the topic). The content itself is good content. The video is short, to the point and useful. This is very important. Sharely is a great way to give people the nudge to share your content, but they won’t do it if your content sucks.

Regular Sharing Tools: The usual sharing bar is present in this post and that’s a good thing. With extra shares coming in through Sharely, those numbers go up, increasing the social proof or “social authority” of the post. Sad but true: people are more likely to pay attention to your content if they see it has been shared a lot. And they’re also more likely to share it themselves.

WP Sharely: finally, there’s the Sharely locker below the video. Will created a simple cheat sheet, related to what he was talking about in the video and offered it in return for shares. An important point is that the video already delivers on the promise made in the headline. The cheat sheet is just a nice extra, that you can get for the low “price” of a share.


WillSo, the result was good, but was it a lot of effort, too?

Here’s what Will had to say about it:

“Creating the content for visitors to unlocked when the visitor shares my content was EASY. At least, the way I have developed to look at it made it easy. I didn’t do anything new. I just held back a little piece of the content and asked them to share to get it. I give a lot of valuable information away for free already. I’m still giving it away for free. I am just requiring my visitors share to get a piece of the information.”

And what did the blog visitors think about it? Were there any negative reactions? I asked Will about this. His answer might surprise you, but makes sense when you remember that he’s also a marketer:

“Quite the opposite. I had people email me and thank me for the content. Remember, that is the exact same content that used to appear in the post. The fact they have to perform an action to unlock it, gives the content a higher perceived value. As a result, they study the content more attentively and appreciate it more! Sharely creates a micro-commitment and with that, it solves the fundamental problem of FREE – that people don’t value free!”

Bottom line: this is an example of Sharely delivering good result, even at a relatively small scale. Don’t get me wrong: many bloggers and website owners can only dream of getting ~90 social shares on a single piece of content.

My point is that what happened here was not some server-melting viral traffic-storm (like many social media tools promise, but never deliver). But it shows that even with a small “seed”, you can get a very good result and it’s one that’s systematically repeatable.

Click here to learn more about jiveSYSTEMS.

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