Grow an Audience Using Zapier, Buffer and Twitter

Grow an Audience Using Zapier, Buffer and Twitter

Published by Patrick Griffith on Mar 26, 2017

If you're reading this chances are it's because I promised to give you access to this guide if you sent a Tweet that I pre-crafted for you. And clearly you did send that Tweet, because you're here, so thank you!

Update: just kidding. I'm not implementing this anymore. But I'll still leave it up in case somebody wants to copy the idea.

Within 15 minutes of sharing that Tweet you received a reply Tweet from me containing the link to this guide. But I didn't actually send that Tweet. Zapier did.

As promised, I'm going to show you the exact how and why of my setup so that you can do something similar for your next project.

Getting the email address is only half the battle.

Optimizing your site to convert visitors into audience members at the highest rate possible is important. But it's incomplete. The other half of the equation is that you need visitors.

How do you get visitors? You could pay for them (expensive, sometimes prohibitively so). You could get them through search (largely out of your control). Or you could ask for them.

If you were to ask someone to refer people to your website, who would you ask? I'd ask people who have already shown me that they love my website.

My existing fans. My existing fans are people who like my content enough to share it. But just because they like it enough to share it, doesn't mean that they'll follow through with sharing it.

There are a million reasons why someone might love one of my articles and still not share it. They might not think about it. They might be distracted. They might not think that it will make any measurable difference. All valid reasons.

This incentivization tactic isn't meant to turn non-believers into believers. It's meant to turn people who would share my content into people who do share my content.

One of the beauties of this is that your incentive does not have to be some insanely valuable offering. For example, at the end of one of my chapters I ask for a Tweet in exchange for a GIF of me attempting to do a cartwheel.

Sometimes, when people like you, all you have to do is ask. But you have to ask in a way that catches their attention, otherwise it just gets lost in the never-ending sea of social media links that people have been trained to ignore.

No Cheaters

I got the idea for a tweet-based content upgrade from the Traffic 1M VIP Access Page. But with their implementation you only have to click the button that takes you to Twitter. You don't actually have to post the Tweet. I know this first-hand because I didn't post the Tweet.

That's obviously less than ideal. I liked the page enough that I would have Tweeted it if I had to. But I didn't have to, so I didn't. I cheated.

Unlike that and other social incentive implementations, though, this implementation can't be cheated. You can't get the content upgrade unless you actually follow through with the Tweet. Sure, you could delete the Tweet 15 minutes after posting it, but by that point I'll already have gotten much of the value out of it.

The Setup

There are a few different Tweets you could have sent to get access to this guide. This example uses the Tweet from my “Make Money Online Without Getting Fat“ (which doesn’t exist any more) Thank You page. But it's the exact same process if you Tweeted from somewhere else, like the welcome email I send to new email subscribers.

You're going to use Zapier to search for and respond to Tweets that contain a specific unique string. So you need to make sure that you have people Tweet something that contains a specific unique string, one that Tweets from other random Twitter users would never contain. My initial thought was to do this is by appending custom parameters to the url that you want people to share. For example, I would share this link:


Unfortunately, while those parameters will allow me to track the success of these Tweets, they are not searchable via Zapier. That sucks, but it's not the end of the world. We just have to be a little more thoughtful in making sure that our Tweet is unique. The Tweet I went with for accessing this bonus chapter was:

[email protected]'s course has some sweet audience growth ideas. And I guess they work because I'm tweeting this ;) /make-money-online-without-getting-fat?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=mmo-zapier&utm_campaign=give-me-the-bonus

The "." in the beginning is important because you won't benefit much from people sending you direct mentions.

Zapier Trigger

Create a Zapier account if you don't already have one. The free account is just fine.

Make a new Zap.

Make a New Zap

Choose Twitter as your trigger app. And then select "Search Mention" as the trigger. Hit Save+Continue.

Connect and authenticate your Twitter account. Save+Continue.

For the search term you'll enter something that will uniquely identify your Tweet. I included my username, a portion of the text, and the url. I don't think this will result in any false matches.

Sweet Audience Growth Ideas


Zapier will want you to test this trigger. You could skip this step, but testing is always a good idea, right? So go to and post a test Tweet to make sure it works.

Grow your audience.

After you post your test Tweet, go back to Zapier and click "Fetch & Continue" If all is well, you should see this:

Twitter Zapier Success

Zapier Action

Choose Buffer for the action app. This is an unfortunate complication because Zapier doesn't let you directly @mention a user via Twitter. Probably because it would be used for spammy purposes, which penalizes people like us who want to use it for legitimate purposes. But it is what it is. Luckily we can get around this by using Buffer as the middle woman. Choose "Add to Buffer" as the action.

add to buffer


Connect your Buffer account. Create one first if you don't have one. A free account is sufficient.


Make sure to use the appropriate Buffer channel (if you have multiple). Then craft your Tweet making sure to respond directly to the user who Tweeted you. Use the little menu icon on the right hand side to populate your reply Tweet with pre-defined variables.

Buffer customization

And finally, set the "Now?" option to yes, so the user gets their itch scratched as quickly as possible. The result should look like this:

Add to Buffer from Zapier

Continue. Then Create+Continue on the next screen. And if that works, you should see green goodness.

Buffer Test

So go over to your Twitter page and make sure that the reply came through. Voila. We're all set.