The following tip is probably old hat to anyone creating content for social media:
Everyone has to repurpose content.
However worn down it may be, taking it to practice is another story. No business lives on social media 24/7 and creates completely new ideas for every social platform.
I own a content writing business, several blogs, two YouTube channels, and two email lists. I'm also a mom to twins. On top of running my business, parenting, and managing my blogs, I also have to be present online. Enter social media. With all of my projects, it's nearly impossible to create unique content multiple times a day, every day, for years to come.
But for content marketers and, specifically, social media managers, that's your job – having a social media workflow that uses repurposing to grow a business's customer base.
After all, there's the Rule of 7. It takes an average of seven introductions of a brand before a purchase is made, making repurposed content the perfect solution for brand awareness and leads.
In this post, I'll go over what content for social media really is and provide ways to repurpose content on each social media platform. Then I'll end with a demonstration of how to repurpose across platforms using a smart AI tool.
Let's get this out of the way: there is no cakewalk when it comes to social media
Social Media Manager Jenny Fowler knows the truth about all repurposed social media content.
While tweens and teens post without a care in the world to social media, creating well-thought-out content for social media takes time.
Creating content for social media and knowing if it did well is a continual process for businesses. "I would say it's an ongoing process, but it's easy to recognize what should be repurposed (i.e, did it perform well on the original platform)," says Zapier's Communications Manager Alexandra Duggan.
"We brainstorm alone before our monthly content planning sessions, which are about an hour long. From there, we build our content and schedule."
Let's break this down:
Social media writing: Think about the platform on which the repurposed content will go. Using a call-to-action with hashtags or emoji's on TikTok works for Wordtune, Sephora, and toy makers Melissa and Doug. On Instagram, however, these and many eCommerce brands share product details, promotions, and instructions.
Images: Images on Instagram are neatly packaged photos, while TikTokers relish the authentic, messy look that isn't salesy. But you can get away with memes on Twitter and LinkedIn, creating a story around the brand.
Duggan shares that Zapier regularly repurposes memes on these platforms and uses Twitter as a way to test out these types of posts.
"We post memes on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We often use Twitter as a testing ground for new types of content, so this is where our brand started experimenting with meme content. You can see from the examples below how we’ve expanded it cross-platform."
Details: TikTok favors repurposing user-generated content (UGC), YouTube pushes out Shorts – vertical style and shorter videos – and LinkedIn users enjoy thought leadership "micro" blog posts.
Above all, being authentic and genuine will fuel any social media campaign – repurposed or not.
Freelancer Bani Kaur spoke to 50 B2B SaaS CEOs. One thing she took away from her talk was how CEOs value authenticity – accents and grammar mistakes thrown in – over carefully curated content.
Finally, when repurposing social media content by cross-promoting, make sure there are a few weeks to a month between re-posting to appear as fresh new content to the end user.
Now that you know how to repurpose social media content let's go through each platform and see how it fits together.
1. Instagram (have a story arc that relates to the visual post)
While many think Instagram is synonymous with influencer marketing (and rightfully so – marketers spend 79% of their budgets on influencers), there's no need to leverage 1+ million follower accounts to drum up sales.
Take GoDaddy, for example. Their goal for social media marketing is to market the person behind the website as the hero in the story. They rely on the story arc – a proven copywriting principle that's effective in creating engagement.
Writing a blog post, for instance, should have a beginning, middle, and end. A newsletter or even an Instagram caption can do the same. Take a look at the structure like this:
- Beginning: Welcome your readers with an introduction
- Middle: Substantial content that isn't overwhelming
- End: Leave your reader feeling satisfied, inspired, or wanting more by tying everything together using a call-to-action or hashtags
Craft copy as a way to paint a picture that draws a reader in. You can do this easily with Reels to encourage viewers to stay on your video until the end.
With the constant evolution of visual and smart AI tools, a well-crafted story can help engage your customers through static posts.
Instead of focusing on their website builder, making it technical and sterile, GoDaddy flipped the script and shared success stories while driving traffic to the blog post about those stories.
For SaaS companies or "intangible" products and services, using storytelling in this manner evokes a connection between what users read and how they feel about it. GoDaddy's Instagram post on Harpeet's Toronto's pizzerias mentions a carefully-curated mashup between Indian spice and chicken wings. I don't know about you, but I can practically smell and taste this creation.
Takeaway: Repurpose successful case studies for Instagram marketing by telling a narrative arc from the beginning of an idea to what led to success. Sprinkle in sensory words like zesty or jaw-droppingly good in your copy for an all-your-senses memorable experience.
2. LinkedIn (bite sized educational lesson that sparks engagement)
While memes are shared on Linkedin – Zapier does this for their repurposed social media content, according to Duggan – what gets the most engagement from, and what I've seen, are bite-sized educational lessons in carousel format or video format.
This can work for many industries, even creative ones like Art, where the company can share a mini tutorial or cool information about the history of the art product.
SEO tool Semrush uses educational graphics and industry-leading information on LinkedIn. They often use multiple slides for their images.
These images are repurposed from their blog posts in the form of infographics or graphics they highlight.
While Semrush shares other types of content on LinkedIn, these are purely educational slides showing the process of finding the right keywords with only a small image of their tool, not mentioning their tool or brand.
Simple ways to find educational repurposable topics are to take subtopics of a larger post to create an infographic to share on LinkedIn. Examples include:
- Highlight mistakes and fixes
- Show hacks and shortcuts
- Deep-dive one service or aspect of your client's tool
Don't shy away from UGC when repurposing on social media. The Gen Z audience, in particular, gravitates towards UGC – close to 80% of people say UGC has more impact than influencer marketing – and it makes for a potentially viral piece of content.
Takeaway: For digital marketing brands, LinkedIn content will naturally have a business-oriented or educational value. Go ahead and test out brandable educational content that doesn't mention your client's tool or service, and throw in some UGC posts to create a deeper emotional connection with the audience.
3. Twitter (scannable & witty real estate)
You only get 280 characters for an insightful tweet when you post on Twitter. Oh, and don't forget, an emoji counts as two characters. Don't ask me why but it does.
This poses a problem if you tend to overwrite and fill posts with unnecessary words for your social media repurposing efforts. For an effective Tweet, shorten, change, or rewrite your sentences to fit the character count criteria.
Content marketing platform Clearvoice doesn't have fluffy content, so for their Tweets, you can see they have streamlined their copy to only include the most important words.
What they are doing is repurposing their brandale content into an easy-to-read bullet list. Here, Clearvoice is grabbing the H3's of their blog post about content marketing ideation and word-for-word transcribing it for a Tweet or changing it up slightly.
Of course, brands can capitalize on GIFs and other UGC, as they are the most easily-recognized forms of marketing for businesses.
Starbucks makes use of animated photos for many of its Tweets. And from the retweet numbers, you can see how popular they are. Plus, this just reminds me of Harry Potter and movable pictures!
And suppose your social media strategy heavily focuses on repurposing content on social media. In that case, you might do what Zapier does and use Twitter as a testing ground since this business mostly repurposes content on its social profiles.
"We repurpose most of our content at Zapier. A colleague put it really well the other day, we want to make cake, not cupcakes, meaning we want to be able to hand out slices of cake cut different ways, not just create individual cupcakes. "
Takeaway: Whether you want to GIF it up or bust out the knowledge, Twitter has a place in your social media plan. Rewrite your sentences when repurposing content and add those emojis for more effects. Then throw in a GIF or two.
4. Facebook (Rinse and Repeat)
ICYMI – organic reach is abysmal on Facebook. But, businesses should have a Facebook page to play the social media marketing game.
This translates to sharing blog posts and repurposing content from other social platforms, especially for native digital brands. Adobe, for example, does a rinse and repeat process of sharing a blog post with a short call-to-action as its main form of copy.
But, their Facebook page feed is filled with repurposed content from Twitter and other social platforms.
If you look at the copy for each social media platform, you can see the same call-to-action: how two things come together to reveal the editing process for a Netflix show. Tweaking and changing up social media copy is a no-brainer when rephrasing your message for multiple social platforms.
In this example, there are ten rewrites for social media copy about this one call-to-action.
Zapier uses a similar approach.
Take the content you used on LinkedIn or Twitter and repurpose that into a Facebook post. On Zapier's Facebook page feed, you see memes, GIFs, product information, and latest blog posts.
Takeaway: Having a Facebook page is now the default when starting a business. Using the rinse and repeat method, you can take one form of copy, retweak it and repurpose it for multiple platforms, making your Facebook page marketing plan a simple process.
5. YouTube (fun shorts & helpful video scripts)
One of the newest forms of social media content is the YouTube short. Sure, it's very similar to the TikTok video and Instagram Reel, but YouTube has a solid, proven platform of over 2 billion users when they launched Shorts in 2020.
And with YouTube being a visual Google, it's in the best interest of businesses to use this platform and any new features it throws at us, including Shorts.
Jeff Thorman owns a home renovation business, and while his main channel garnered 2.55 million subscribers, when Shorts launched on YouTube, he jumped on this new marketing method. He created a separate Shorts channel in 2021 and now has 19.6k subscribers.
His Shorts channel compliments his main channel nicely because he's repurposing longer videos into bite-sized actionable content and then goes a step further and repurposes Shorts into a Tiktok video. He takes snippets of his main channel video to create these shorter forms of social media repurposed content.
He does wait about three weeks before repurposing, helping create fresh "new-looking" content on TikTok.
So, why would a business want to start a Shorts channel when they already have a TikTok and Instagram profile?
If you already have a successful YouTube channel, YouTube will cross-promote videos from either channel to viewers.
It's an optimized strategy because you grow your user base of people enjoying long videos, and those people will probably check out your shorter videos.
The rule is to create a separate Shorts channel and not to muddy your main channel views. The more channels you have on Youtube, the better a business will gain reach, growing their subscribers on autopilot.
Takeaway: when deciding on a Shorts video, think about the main channel video first by outlining and then injecting where a Shorts video would fit nicely based on the video script. That way, it will be a seamless video that looks like it was only made for Shorts.
6. TikTok (fun and clever video scripts)
Whether your client is a drop shipping company, eCommerce platform, or SaaS business, 55% of Gen Z bought something after seeing it on TikTok. I want it, I got it.
I confess, I only started using TikTok recently, but for the short time I've been on the platform, I can already use the #TikTokMakeMeBuyIt hashtag to share my latest purchase (a shacket from Costco).
Since TikTok is the toddler of social media platforms, many businesses are trying to repurpose TikTok videos into Instagram Reels – a more familiar platform.
You know what I mean – you scroll through your IG feed and see a video, open it up, and there in the middle on the left-hand side is the TikTok watermark for all to see.
This is a faux pas of repurposing content on these social media platforms. While you can execute the same content idea, you gotta create a new video or have new copy. Of course, you can tweak your video to remove or minimize the TikTok watermark.
Sophia Lee, the owner of BSL Designs, a home restoration company, and lifestyle blogger, shows how to do this right.
On TikTok, she's real, she's messy, she often has her hair in a bun and she isn't wearing makeup while sharing decor tips, cooking tips, and more.
But on Instagram, her photos are professionally done, she takes her time creating Instagram Reels stylistically, and her brand is carefully curated.
Everything from the location to the camera angle and sound quality, Lee demonstrates how she can repurpose an idea – her new college planner – on TikTok (UGC) vs. Instagram (official marketing launch).
Of course, she isn't 100% creating two different videos for the same idea. Still, more often than not, she's portraying a professional look on Instagram while a more young woman lifestyle on TikTok.
Yogaware company Lululemon is another company using TikTok and Instagram the right way. Over on their TikTok account, they share personal stories like "meeting" your first crush.
But on Instagram, their feed is heavily focused on product launches, new gear, and showing off their yoga clothing brand to their followers.
Brands need to be authentic on Tiktok as this helps with building personal identities and can help with sales. Wordtune's Co-CEO Ori Goshen recently noted that copywriters hired to produce content for businesses need to inject their signature style to repurpose content.
"Perhaps a piece of content originally created for an internal business report needs to be adapted to a more fun, casual and engaging style for the company’s website or social media. Writers could apply their signature style to that existing content and watch it update before their eyes."
This directly applies to social media writing for businesses. Whether you use a proven copywriting formula – like the story arc – or look at UGC and how the user talks about a product or services or quickly rewrite a blog post introduction to share on Facebook, writers need to not only speak the brand but infuse their style of writing. It's a skill that needs to be nurtured and that only happens when copywriters practice writing for their clients.
Takeaway: For TikTok repurposing, social media managers need to strip away the marketing and look at the person behind the brand. Go beyond the product and see how the product is integrated with a person's life rather than focusing solely on the product improving one's life.
Turning one piece of content into several pieces
Let's look at how to turn one piece of content into several pieces of content for social media. I will use my brand as an example.
1. Think of the main idea + call to action
Over on my blog, I have a post on work from home jobs and decided to play around with different ideas based on which platform I'm posting on. The call-to-action will change depending on my message for each social media platform.
For example, on TikTok, I used UGC and showed off a testimonial of one of my students landing a high-paying work from home job. This person was able to make a full-time salary, only working part-time.
I was able to mention how she achieved this, making that my call-to-action.
2. Take the idea and apply a repurposed piece of content
Next, on Twitter, I created a summary of the blog post I was thinking of using and mirroring what ClearVoice does with their Twitter posts.
I took the H2's from my post and used them to build my Tweet.
Since my goal for repurposing is to grow my traffic and email list, I wanted to make sure to link to a blog post when possible.
Over on Facebook, I took the introduction and repurposed that as my Facebook copy, using the Rinse and Repeat method.
3. Create new graphics for repurposed social media content
Instead of using the same feature image for my blog post on all social media platforms, I wanted to change it up and create a new graphic for this project.
I decided to do this for Instagram and use Canva to create the graphic, and then I took the stats in my post and tweaked them to fit with my copy for Instagram.
Over on LinkedIn, I used another Canva template and created a short animated video on working from home.
This is a zero-click repurposed social media post idea and is similar to Semrush's content plan for LinkedIn.
I published these throughout the month to appear as fresh new ideas for my social media audience.
With one main idea, a call-to-action, and an easy-to-use AI tool, I created five pieces of content in literally minutes.
Repurposing content for social media is a smart strategy for businesses. For Zapier and many other SaaS businesses, it's their main way of sharing content on social media. And while it's easy to take one piece of copy and repurpose across platforms, to succeed on each social media platform, you have to play by their rules and create snippets of new content from existing content (think: a piece of cake, not a cupcake).
This article was co-written with Wordtune. Wordtune didn’t write the whole piece. Instead, it contributed ideas, suggested rephrasing alternatives, maintained consistency in tone, and of course - made the process much more fun for the writer.