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Steal This! My Simple Social Media System for Building Your List

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As you may know by now, I’m not a fan of making business any more work than it has to be. In fact, I’ll forgo major business details if they seem to require more effort than reward.

As a result, I avoided Twitter for a really long time.

But one day I got an inner nudge to give Twitter a try. I setup my account and started goofing around. Within a few months, I was in love. Why? Not because of the bite-sized messages, the easy networking opportunities, and the cool factor. It was because being on Twitter simplified my list-building (and selling) in a major way.

I realized that I could use Twitter in a way that wasn’t much work at all, and it could get results for only a bite-sized effort.

Twitter Makes Self-Promotion Easier

Promoting yourself can be rough. You’re worried about saying too much or too little, mentioning your website and offerings at the right times and to the right people, or making an ass of yourself. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

However, when used correctly, Twitter totally removes that uncomfortable, pushy factor so many of us struggle with.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve created an easy list-building system for Twitter that has yielded great results for me… with a relatively small output of effort.

You and your amazing business deserve to be seen. So I’m going to lay it all out for you right here, right now, on how to get the word out with my simple social media system.

My Simple Social Media System for Building Your List

Step #1: Get clear on the numbers

Since you’re working on building your list, take a moment to consider your people. Who is your target audience? What are their interests?

Next, think about your social media presence in percentages.

How often do you want to talk about your offerings?
Post your blogs?
Mention your free stuff?
Share industry-centric info?
Talk about life in general?
Interact with others?

Don’t worry about rules or shoulds. Instead, think about a combination that feels right to you.

Step #2: Write tweets ahead of time

With your percentages in mind, write a set of standard tweets for each of the categories you specified. A handful of tweets for each area each week is a great start.

You can keep things interesting by using different tweets for the same offering. For example, I tweet several times each month about my free offers, but each tweet is different.

Keep in mind that your promotional tweets (to get people to opt-in to your list, check out your latest paid program, etc.) work best when they’re repeated regularly. Don’t worry about tweeting too much. If you’re reading this, you’re likely not promoting enough.

Be sure to pepper in more articles and quotes than promo tweets, so you’re still giving your followers plenty of non-salesy goodness.

Hint: You can reuse almost all of your tweets every few months because nobody pays that much attention to everything you’re posting.

Step #3: Schedule tweets, then dive into the conversation

To make the magic happen, block out one hour each month to schedule a month’s worth of tweets and Facebook posts using a service like HootSuite. This allows you to go about your regular routine and have your tweets and post automatically publish.

This creates effortless relationship-building as people respond to what you have to say over the course of the month, even though you posted it weeks ago. Take five to ten minutes everyday to reply to social media comments and engage with followers. This will help you build a connection and build your list without sucking your time away.

Step #4: Watch your subscriber count go up, up up!

It’s simple math:

Good posts + active engagement = interest, followers, and subscribers! Tweet that!

When you’re active on social media, and you show a genuine interest in connecting and sharing with people, you pique curiosity. That’s what gets your audience clicking your links, reading your blog, and visiting your site. And those riveted readers are also likely to opt-in to your list!

The Bottom Line

When you’ve got a clear strategy, Twitter can turn from time-waster to amazing tool.

Put this strategy into work in your business today, and watch what happens over the course of the month.

In the meantime, I want to hear from you…

Have you turned social media into your ally, or does it continue to be a time-suck for you?

What strategies do you have for using social media to build your list?

I share a ton of ideas in Get Your First 1000 Subscribers, but I’d love to know what has worked for you.

I can’t wait to hear what you’ve got!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sharon

Thank you so much!

Twitter is quite overwhelming to me – I have downloaded it onto the phone, but this has made me realise I need to try a little harder to ‘get it!’.

I am going to check out your ideas for more subscribers.

Thank you xx


2 Jenny Shih

I totally know how you feel. At first, I didn’t really get it. And to be honest, I’m sure there are things I still don’t do “right.” Simply adding tweets and engaging has done a ton for my business with little effort, even if I’m still far from an expert. You can do it! (that’s my inner cheerleader encouraging you on!)


3 Alicia

I’m bowing at your feet right now, Jenny! This is spot on advice and what I rah-rah about constantly (I cry a little inside each time someone tells me they spend hours a day on Twitter).

Thanks for laying out your system so clearly, and demonstrating that it really doesn’t have to be so hard.

Tweeting your post right now!


4 Jenny Shih

Yes – business (or any of this stuff) doesn’t have to be so hard! Amen!

I’m honored that you think I have a good system down, Alicia, since I know your Twitter Brilliance program is THE way to learn how to use Twitter effectively!


5 shannon

Jenny! Thanks for the great information. You are a shining example of a generous and wise business woman. Thanks for blazing the way.


6 Abe Crystal

Great tips!

We’ve found Buffer ( to be handy for the scheduling piece of the puzzle. It’s a bit more hands-off than HootSuite, which makes it easier to share interesting links without manually scheduling them.


7 Jenny Shih

I’ve heard great things about Buffer and opened an account, but haven’t used it much. You just gave me the necessary nudge to check it out further. Thanks for that, Abe! Nice to see you here!


8 Heather Thorkelson

Great article Jenny – I hadn’t thought of carving it out into percentages, but I do use Hootsuite and have scheduled tweets almost to the end of the year which is SOOO freeing. Great piece!


9 Jenny Shih

Though not a literal suggestion to bring out the calculator, percentages help when someone scopes you out. I know I’ve checked out people’s twitter streams and it’s pages and pages of their blog post links. That’s not very interesting — I want someone who has a little variety to their presence! The idea is just to avoid that one-way-only push on social media because it doesn’t work well to lure people in. I know you know this because you do it well!


10 jo ebisujima

So great tips and having a good mix is so important, before I follow anyone I look at their recent tweets, if it is all links and self promotion, I don’t follow. I fell off the twitter wagon for a while, maybe now is the time to jump back on.


11 Hanna Cooper

I’ve also been using Buffer and liking it for scheduling tweets. The free version only allows you to schedule a few days in advance, but you can get more free slots via referrals to Buffer. I’m not sure what the paid version costs, but I can’t imagine it’s much.


12 Linda Ursin

Social media is where I find my clients, so it’s definitely my friend. I do use to schedule my marketing, but I still end up spending way too much time in there, chatting and catching up.


13 Amethyst Mahoney

Great post, Jenny. I hated Twitter at first, but then I discovered Hootsuite and learned how to bulk upload my Tweets. I went from overwhelm to 2 hours a month on Twitter, and I’m getting more than just clients. Twitter is also about building relationships, and you can use it to find speaking gigs, guest blog posts, etc.

Most people focus just on getting clients, but there is so much more than that! I explain it in “The 6 Pillars of Twitter” ebook I’ll be releasing next week. It’s part of my “How to Add 10,000 Twitter Followers This Month – Even if You’re Starting from Scratch” course. A few years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be helping others navigate that particular crazy, fun social media site!

I find that turning over some of my social media to my assistant and setting a timer have been the best ways to help me manage my social media time. The most important thing is to have a plan of why you’re on each site, though. Without that, you’ll be pinning for 6 hours a day. :-)


14 Jenny Shih

Your last point is so important, Amethyst (though all your points are good!):
“The most important thing is to have a plan of why you’re on each site, though. Without that, you’ll be pinning for 6 hours a day.” So true!

Know exactly what your goals are for all of your social media time and it will cut down on wasted time and maximize your results!


15 Mary Diridon

Thanks, Jenny! I’ve been resisting Twitter because of the time suck factor but now I see how I can make it work for me, not the other way around. I’m a total systems geek so I love your approach!


16 Jenna Dalton

Thanks for the tips, Jenny! I’m still working on managing my social media time because I know I’m spending a lot more time on it than is necessary. I’ve started to develop a system though and slowly it’s getting quicker to schedule everything.

One tip I heard the other day is that, although there are some things you usually post on Twitter and Facebook at the same time (like blog posts, etc.) sometimes you want to mix things up and not post the exact same thing everywhere. With Hootsuite it’s so easy to just post the same thing everywhere but I’m trying to diversify a bit now.


17 Joanna

I havent had much luck on twitter, but I have taken the advice and set it up. Let’s see what happens :-) I have about 600 followers, but they are not very interactive :-(


18 Caroline Frenette Master Intuitive Coach

Playing Goblin’s advocate here :)
I’m a little perplexed at your comment: “Hint: You can reuse almost all of your tweets every few months because nobody pays that much attention to everything you’re posting.”

If people are not paying attention why is it worth that much effort then? Social media is really time consuming.

I’m willing to test your tips in combination with google analytics to see the conversation rate.


19 Jenny Shih

It’s not so much that people aren’t paying attention to anything. What I meant was that we can’t see everything everyone posts. Even if you only follow 500 people and check Twitter twice a day, there’s no way you’ll see each tweet each person publishes. So it’s okay to repeat because we can’t see everything. Sort of like commercials on TV. An advertiser doesn’t just put their commercial up one time on one day for one TV show. They repeat their ads at different times on different days during different shows, because different people will watch at different times. It makes sure their message gets out and reaches people when they happen to be watching.

And of course, yes, check your analytics to make sure it works for you. Always!


20 Aradia

I started working with LKR and that made a big difference in my social media use. I hedged at first with Hootsuite & Buffer thinking to myself…omg another tool to learn yikes! Now I’m in love with Hootsuite because it lets me set things up during my “nose to the grindstone” moments at night so I can hop on and off for real time interaction.

I too recommend Buffer and I implemented it into my Product Listing System. I always always always post awesome articles like this one to my Buffer queue so that when I don’t get around to listing something for a few days-weeks as the case may be, or maybe I’ve had trouble with blogging I still have some “regular” stuff going out. I also try to make my Buffer shares more about things outside of my work but things that other peeps like me will appreciate and things my audience will like.

For me the percentages were interesting, I noticed I did all of these things a few times a week on average up to a few times a day depending on what it was. Recently though I pared down my pre-scheduled posts because I “felt” that the extra wasn’t working. When I’ve checked out my numbers I haven’t noticed a big deal so really I think I was right. Now I’ve got 1 post / day for various and each day cycles out a different tweet (eg. directing people to my shop, various social media profiles, and my blog…).


21 Jen Vertanen

Holy hell, woman, it’s as if you read my mind! Creating a twitter strategy is my #1 strategic goal for March. This. Is. Golden! Thank you :).


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