Facebook, Twitter, and the Power of Repetition

by Ken Mueller on August 1, 2012 · 18 comments

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Repeat after me:

Repetition is not a bad thing

You can say that again!

Small businesses using Facebook and Twitter are often hampered in their marketing efforts because of their perceptions of how the various platforms work. When trying to promote events or get good content out there, they often forget that there is power in repetition.

Each morning my latest blog is posted to my business Facebook page and my Twitter account. A certain percentage of my fans have the ability to see it because of the time that they sign on in the morning. But if I post at 6am, people who log in just a few hours later might miss it, because they don’t see it in their newsfeed or Twitter stream.

Think about it: when you log in, how deep do you scroll down on either Facebook or Twitter? Probably not too deep, and I bet that how far you scroll down is inversely proportional to the number of friends you have. The more you have, the less likely you are to go very far as you look back at what has happened in the recent past.

On the other hand, there is (thankfully) that sense of  being perceived as a spammer. If we share too much content, and in particular too much of the same content, it will look spammy.

But there is a happy medium. You can, and should, share your original content more than just once on Facebook and Twitter. Whether it’s a blog post, some kind of special deal, or an event, you need to have some level of repetition.

Consider: if you’re a marketer or use social media heavily for your business, you’re not the average user. You are most likely logged on for a good portion of the day. This means that you see a lot, and quite often will some of the repetition that is out there. But most people aren’t logged in all day, either on their mobile or computer.

One example of this is from the world of radio. The all-news radio format is not intended for people who stay tuned in for a long time. You tune in, get the news you want, then switch the station, hence the slogan for all-news pioneer, 1010 WINS in NYC:

“You give us 22 minutes, and we’ll give you the world”

Programming is run on a 22-minute cycle, and if you stay any longer, you’ll begin to hear repeats. Same goes for the traditional Top-40 (or now 30) style of pop radio. The programming is designed around the listening habits of most of the audience. People are in and out of their cars, and they tune in for very short periods of time.

When you look at the social media habits of users, particularly with the use of mobile apps, we’re seeing more use, but it is spread out over the course of the day. Most aren’t logging in and staying on all day. So if you’re content isn’t right there in front of their face, they’ll miss it.

In addition to getting individual notifications via mobile apps, most people are accessing things like Facebook via the newsfeed. When they see your updates and content, it’s within the context of updates from other individuals and businesses. Most aren’t going to your business page to see that content, so they don’t see whether you have shared the same thing twice in a row. The same goes for Twitter. People rarely go to your Twitter page, and they are seeing your tweets surrounded by the tweets of others.

So if you share the same thing twice in the same day, it might appear on your business page twice, but people don’t care. And if you tweet your blog content out 3 or 4 times a day, spread out over the course of a few hours, most wont notice, and if by chance someone sees more than one of those tweets, it might act as a reminder or reinforcement for them.

A few tips on repetition on either Facebook or Twitter:

1. Make sure your content is good – Yeah, I know, we all think our content is worthwhile, but I see a lot of strong sales pitches repeated ad nauseum on Twitter. “Buy, buy, buy” is not good content the first time around, let alone as repeated content.

2. Space them out – Figure out what works for you, but make sure your repetition isn’t rapid fire.

3. Intersperse – Don’t just repeat the same thing without any other content. Post other content in the middle of your repetition. If you want to post links to your latest blog post in the morning and afternoon, throw in a few other tweets or posts in-between. This is what is known as being social…

4. Limit your repetition – I’ll tweet my latest blog post out about three or four times during the day, and post it to Facebook twice at most. But I might also send those same links out a few days down the line.

5. Know your audience – There isn’t a one size fits all approach to this. You need to know your customers (you do, right?) and their threshold for this sort of thing. If your core audience skews older, chances are they have fewer friends on Facebook, and are liable to see your posts more often. Older users are less tolerant of what they consider spam, so you might have to be careful.

6. Same content, different presentation – Each time you post your content, you might want to change the way that it is delivered. Perhaps changing the wording and context of how you deliver it. Gini Dietrich does a really good job of this on Twitter. She’ll tweet out her posts quite a few times during the day, but each time she describes the post differently.

Don’t be afraid to post your content more than once a day. If you build a strategy around how you post, you have a better chance of reaching more people with your content, and catching them at the most opportune time.

Have you tried repetition as a part of your strategy? What have you found that works for you?

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