Don't Forget to Recycle…Your Content

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As people all over the world celebrated Earth Day this week, it seemed like an appropriate time to talk about recycling. No, not that kind of recycling, though that is clearly important too. I’m talking about recycling your content on social media.

Many brands and individuals are wary of re-posting the same content, fearing that their followers will see the same post more than once and revolt in some way. But by refusing to recycle content, they actually create much more work for themselves because every item on the content calendar is created from scratch. For brands, this adds quantifiable costs to write, edit, add visuals, approve, and post the content. For individuals, it requires a content creation cadence that is simply not sustainable.

Much has been written about ways to reuse and recycle content across platforms, including this great post by Peg Fitzpatrick (@PegFitzpatrick), who interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) about his well-known quote: “Hustle is squeezing every bit of juice from the orange.”

Is it really necessary? To find the answer yourself, just click on the “View Tweet Activity” icon (it looks like a little bar graph) on Twitter’s website or mobile app to see the number of impressions and engagements that each of your tweets has received. Most of the time, you are likely to be disappointed with how few of your followers actually saw your tweet.

I recently heard Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) speak at a conference and he said, “Repeat your tweets and you will triple your engagement.” So I decided to give it a try on my own account. I’ll share the results of two sets of tweets, one of which is a quote from the great Bryan Kramer (@bryankramer) from his book, There Is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H and one of which was directing people to a recent post of mine right here on Social Media Today.

For the Bryan Kramer tweet, I used one of my favorite lines from his book: “When someone tweets at your brand, the worst response is no response.” Each time I tweeted it out, I varied the sentence a bit without changing the meaning. For example, once I said: “When someone tweets at your brand with positive or negative feedback, the worst response is no response.” Another time, I tweeted: “What’s the worst thing you can do when someone tweets at your brand? Not respond.” I always included Bryan’s Twitter handle and his #H2H hashtag, and I often included the #custserv hashtag as well if I had space.

I intentionally varied the days of the week and times of day of my recycled tweets to a) determine when my tweets performed best and b) ensure a lower likelihood of my followers seeing the same tweet twice. The first tweet was on a Wednesday at 12:50 pm, followed by tweets on Friday at 6:45 am, Monday at 11:45 am, Thursday at 3:05 pm, and again on a Wednesday at 9:03 am. Unbelievably, the number of engagements (which I defined as Likes + Retweets + Comments) trended upward as I tweeted more, culminating in the 5th tweet actually performing best. Ironically, that tweet started with “Can’t say it enough:” and then used the same quote; turns out that’s truer than I ever thought.

For my post on Social Media Today, entitled “Customer Experience is Everything,” my first tweet got very few impressions (only 142, or less than 7% of my followers) and only 6 engagements:

Had I given up at that point, I would have missed an opportunity for significant engagement with both my tweet and my article. After several more tweets, I landed on one five days later that worked extremely well, delivering a whopping 8,043 impressions (nearly 4x my follower base) and 189 engagements. That’s right, for those doing the math at home: That last tweet delivered more engagements than the first tweet delivered impressions!

Buoyed by that success, I tried again a week later, back with the original image but a different headline, and still delivered 7,338 impressions and 121 engagements.

So what’s the bottom line? Whether you’re a brand or an individual, you want your content to be engaging to your followers – and their followers. Whether you are successful or not depends on a ton of factors, including day of the week, time of day, headline, hashtags, @mentions, visuals and (clearly) whether the content is any good in the first place.

Yesterday’s good content is still good content today, and will be good content tomorrow. It will likely even be good content next week, next month, or next year. So on Earth Day and every day, don’t be afraid to recycle.

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