I received an email from a wpliving reader asking how I went about getting tweets and Facebook likes in return for content on what has become the most popular post on wpliving: 65+ Free Seamless and Tileable Wood Backgrounds for Bloggers and Web Designers. Here is the original question:

I really like the idea of giving away some downloadable content in exchange for a like or tweet or other social site share. Can you explain how you accomplished that?

In this post, I’ll showcase two plugins that allow you to do this. The first is a premium plugin called Viral Lock. That’s the one I tried using on my blog. There’s also a great free plugin called wpLike2Get that has similar functions. Check that out below.

Setting up Viral Lock

To get started, here’s a quick snapshot of the end result:

There are several ways of going about this, but it’s almost certainly going to require a WordPress plugin of some kind. The plugin I opted for is called Viral Lock – Like, Google+1 or Tweet to Unlock. It’s a premium plugin available for download on CodeCanyon.

Once you install the plugin, you get a little blue lock icon on your WordPress composition screen. All you have to do then is upload your content, retrieve the direct url to download the content from your server and paste the url in your WordPress blog post. Highlight the url in the post and click the blue lock icon to wrap it with a short code snippet. Publish the post and you’re good to go.

The plugin comes with a number of options including the ability to select different social media services that visitors can click to unlock the content. The main ones are Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

This is a simple but very effective way of generating some social media buzz around a specific post on your site and an interesting alternative to paying for content with cold hard cash.

WPLike2Get

So this plugin works in the same way as Viral Lock. First you install it by going to your WordPress admin panel, select “Plugins” then “Add New” and search for WPLike2Get in the search box. It should come up and you should be able to activate straight away.

Once installed, you can then configure your preferred social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter etc.

Here’s a screenshot of the options panel:

Once you’ve configured the options you can then insert a simple shortcode in your WordPress post. It should look something like this:

[wpsm_codebox style=”2″][l2g name=”Download this awesome file” id=”999″ facebook=”true” twitter=”true” gplusone=”false”][/wpsm_codebox]

Here’s a screenshot of the output on a German language website:

So there you have it, two great plugins that should help you drive some traffic to your social media accounts. These are great options for running competitions or getting your audience to interact with your blog. Enjoy.