In the good old days, you could simply send the exact same evergreen tweet over and over again.
But these days, Twitter terms of service mean that even tweets that completely work as evergreen content are not allowed to be repeated. That means not one repeat, at all, ever!
These are Twitter’s exact words: “You may not post duplicative or substantially similar tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.”
So what’s a savvy content marketer to do? Explore your options and learn how to use evergreen content on Twitter, of course!
What if you have lots of content you want to share and re-share, and you want to make sure your tweets are substantially different from one another without having to reinvent the wheel every time?
Writing unique tweets to promote your content doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort.
In fact, there are a bunch of quick and easy ways to do it!
Today, we’re looking at simple methods you can use to write variations on your tweets – methods that other brands are already using when they promote the same content more than once!
Want to watch instead of read? Check out the webinar we made on this topic:
What is an evergreen tweet?
An evergreen tweet is a timeless piece of content. It doesn’t matter when you post it because it will always be relevant. If you keep reposting the same content over and over, it is evergreen. You need to be careful you don’t post the exact same tweet though, as you can get penalized by Twitter.
Can you repost the same link on Twitter?
Don’t worry, you can still share your blog posts multiple times by sharing the same link on Twitter. You just can’t use the exact same tweet each time you do this. You can introduce your blog posts with different headlines or alter the questions or quotes you include in the tweet.
What are Twitter’s terms of service?
Twitter made significant changes to its terms and services back in 2018. If you’re in violation of these terms, your account could get banned.
Recycling through your evergreen content to get the most out of your work and to make sure the majority of your followers see your work was standard practice in the past. Only 10% of your audience sees each of your tweets, after all.
When you have something you want to share more than once, though – like a blog post – the Twitter rules impose some clear limitations.
It also raises a big question:
What exactly are “substantially similar” tweets, and how do you avoid them?
Just how different do two tweets have to be for Twitter to consider them different enough?
Understandably, Twitter hasn’t specified this themselves. Leaving it open to interpretation means that both Twitter and their users get to make judgment calls about whether two different tweets are too similar to one another.
(Just changing a period to an exclamation point might be pushing your luck, but it’s up to you to decide if that sort of minimalist approach is worth a shot.)
But what can you do if you want to play it safe?
1. Rephrase what you say
This solution is so simple, we almost feel guilty about including it.
But when you’re in a pinch and need to whip up a few variations on a single tweet, a simple rephrasing of what you’ve written before can really do the trick!
Take a look at these examples from ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse:
These tweets promote the same piece of content and say virtually the same thing – just with a little rewording between the two. So, next time you schedule a tweet, rewrite a couple more in a different way.
You probably do this sort of rephrasing every day without thinking about it.
When you tell the same story to two different groups of people, for example, it doesn’t always come out exactly the same! Different people respond to different stories, so if you’re recalling something that happened to you to your grandmother, you might use different language than you did to your best friend.
Don’t forget to include an awesome call to action to pique people’s interest, and add in an evergreen link.
It’s not complicated, but it gets the job done – if you want to get a little more creative, though, this next method should do the trick:
2. Change up your media
Adding media like images, GIFs, and Twitter cards to your tweets has consistently helped improve engagement for years. (And years.)
On top of that, changing up the media you share can do a lot to differentiate your tweets from one another – especially when it comes to the amount of information and context you give to your audience.
Here’s an example from our own Twitter account:
The tweet on the left includes a Twitter card, which functions similarly to Facebook link previews by inserting an image, the title of the page you’re linking to, and some preview text – all in addition to the tweet itself! Someone who sees that tweet has a LOT of information about what’s on the other side of that link.
The one on the right links to the same blog post, but instead of using a Twitter card, we attached an image from the blog post itself. It gives less information, but sometimes, less is more – especially on a network built for skimming and quick decisions!
Here’s another example.
These three tweets all link to the same blog post:
The images attached to these tweets each give a different perspective on the article: one shows a specific hashtag being used, another shows an infographic, and another shows an Instagram profile.
While you should still change up your text when you’re creating and scheduling tweets with photos, varying that media changes the amount of information available to your audience, which makes it easier for you to organically vary the text that goes with each one. Think about how the text you write is informed by the media you choose and how it relates to the content you’re linking to!
3. Vary your hashtags
Hashtags are also a great way to make sure your tweets are showing up in trending topics, so take some time to research what’s trending on Twitter.
Add hashtags into your Twitter updates to not only make them have different variations but be discoverable by different user segments on the platform.
4. Quote thyself
The content you’re sharing is packed with useful information – so why not cherry-pick your best gems and use those to turn out a few quick tweets?
Choose a few of your best quotes from any given piece you write, and copy/paste those into an update!
They don’t even have to be quotes that you yourself came up with – here’s an example from BuzzFeed News:
Similar to what we saw with ProBlogger earlier in this post, these two tweets share the same message, just expressed in different ways – and in this case, those variations stem from two direct quotes.
The content you share isn’t just a resource for your audience – it’s a resource for you, too! Dive into what you’ve already written and pluck out your favorite parts to give your audience a tease of what’s inside. Schedule a tweet with a new quote and tada you have a new variation of the old content.
5. Embrace your sense of mystery
With its limited character count, Twitter is already a social network that forces you to choose your words carefully.
(And considering the importance of getting people to trust your links, you really do want to make every word count.)
When you’re creating your Twitter post schedule and whipping up some quick variations on a tweet, try varying the level of specificity you offer.
How much of the story does your tweet really tell? Can someone get the gist of an article without clicking all the way through? Does it pique their interest by teasing details instead of giving them away?
Here’s an example from Vox:
The tweet on the left is a lot more specific, even going so far as to include a quote from the article. The one on the right is much vaguer and alludes more explicitly to the article’s overall point instead of one of its anecdotes.
Here’s another example from Vox:
The tweet on the left indicates the function of the scene described in the article, while the one on the right is much more vague, indicating only that it’s something that the reader will want to see for themselves.
It’s a subtle difference, but just like in your email subject lines, it can really influence how curious your audience might be!
(Not to mention the fact that it makes the text of your tweets substantially different – which was the point all along, right?)
6. Focus on different details
The blog posts you write probably make more than just one point.
This one we wrote about the lessons we learned from broadcasting live on Facebook, for example, includes points like:
- Some of your video stats may be a bit misleading
- The majority of your views may come after your broadcast ends
- Promoting a past broadcast can be really valuable
- Captioning your past broadcasts is extremely important
That would be a lot of information to cram into a single promotional tweet – but we could write a different tweet for each one pretty easily!
So easily, in fact, that that’s what we did for some of our promos:
(See? Nothin’ to it!)
This is also a good example of how varying the media in your tweets can necessitate changing the text. Each of those images relates to a different point in the article, and contextualizing those images means the tweets need to say different things!
Let’s look at Vox one last time for another example of what this looks like in practice:
Each of these tweets focuses on a different aspect of the article being promoted – the one on the left highlights the unique scale and longevity of the franchise being discussed, while the other highlights a particular aspect of its history.
Here’s another example from BuzzFeed News:
The tweet on the left focuses on the variety of changes that the article describes, while the one on the right focuses only on one change and on the method used to make it.
When you use different tweets to focus on different parts of a single article as these examples do, you can easily rack up a whole bunch of variations!
7. Learn from your most popular tweets
Gather some insights by looking back at some of your most popular tweets. Look at your competitors too, and make a category out of their most popular hashtags. Challenge yourself to think creatively about introducing different types of language when you schedule tweets.
Use this as a way to shake up your social media strategy, try new things and don’t forget to experiment. We like to niche it down here at Edgar. Think about the general topics you’re writing about, and how you can pull out different niches from them.
8. Use Edgar’s suggested variations
You can use Edgar’s suggested variations to write your variations for you and comply with the Twitter automation rules! Creating scheduled tweets was never easier.
All you need to do is write one status update with a link to some content and Edgar will create variations for you from the link. You can give it a test drive for yourself, no sign-in required here.
Once you enter hit your status update and the link to your content and hit “Auto-generate variation” then Edgar pulls key phrases and highlights from the link and creates variations for you. From there, you can edit, delete or add variations as needed!
At Team Edgar, we love using this feature when we need help creating the perfect variation or when our brains are simply fried and we can’t think of another piece of content! The smart composer always helps jumpstart creativity and cuts down on the time it takes to create status updates!
When you add content into your queue, you can add a single status update as normal and you can also variations of this status so you have multiple variations that Edgar can post.
You can add as many variations as you want on this page and when you save them to your library, Edgar bundles them all together, just like a stack of cards.
Edgar won’t post two cards from the same stack in a row, so you won’t need to worry about posting the same content back to back. The only exception to this is if the stack is the only content in a category.
If you need to edit any of your variations, you’ll find them nicely bundled together in your library. You can quickly edit, delete or add more variations to your stack and then save them back to your library for Edgar to pull from.
Variations are the easy way to stay in line with Twitter’s TOS and not have to be loading tweets over and over again into your library!
Got a favorite trick for quickly turning out tweet variations?
As you’ve learned, it’s pretty simple to get around the Twitter duplicate tweet rule. You just need a little creativity and the helping hand of a Twitter posting schedule to make sure you don’t repeat anything.
When you’re promoting a post of your own, what are your shortcuts for creating a quick batch of tweets for Twitter?
Do you swear by your GIF collection? Are you a quote-pulling master?
You’ve seen some of our favorite strategies – now share your own in the comments below!
A few months ago you shared some proposed screens of what you were working on at Edgar to combat this. This showed a screen where you could input 4 or 5 variations of a tweet at the same time and then Edgar would automatically schedule them in a spaced out way over a period of time. How is that coming along?
Should be dropping next week, actually – so keep your eyes peeled!
They are peeled and poised to receive………..!
Adding variations without any of them ever being tweeted more than once still means we’re manually inputting every single tweet, which doesn’t cut down on time spent building our social media presence (in comparison to allowing recurring tweets). Do you have any plans to make your service more worthwhile than any of the free tweet schedulers out there?
We just released auto-variations last week that generates variations by pulling quote-worthy lines from a piece of content automatically – check it out here: meetedgar.com/blog/autovarions
Lots of work for sure! I will not likely produce a blog post a week anymore. I will probably still do my weekly podcast. I will however, put more effort into promoting the content I have already created.
It seems still as time consuming as coming up with a completely new tweet whichever way you spin it.
The time you spend with your fingers on the keyboard might not be all that different, but in our experience, it’s the part that comes beforehand that can be a real hurdle — that moment when you’re looking at something you’ve already promoted before and wondering, “What else can I even say about this in a Tweet?” Once you’ve figured out your approach, you can crank out your 20th update as effortlessly as your first, so this is all meant as a way to get those creative juices flowing!
very true. Sorry if my message sounded mean spirited too…. I didn’t mean for it to come across that way but looking back the use of the words ‘spin it’ (especially to americans haha) might not be a good idea. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I love EDGAR and I love the fact you guys are actually talking to your users. Currently not a user because my job changed but my old company remain using it, and if I am back in a position of doing social updates I will be back into it again. A lot of what you talk about I can apply and use to my new job in general and I will be an Edgar fan for life and consider Laura a total genius and an inspiration for both men and women everywhere. #golaura #goteamedgar #hellofromnewzealand 🙂
It probably didn’t help that I dislike twitter with an intensity and it’s never given any benefit to my businesses I have worked with here in NZ.
Not to worry! You’re definitely not alone in feeling frustrated by Twitter – it can present some real challenges even for its most devout fans. We really appreciate all your feedback and thoughts!
Great tips! I want to work on embracing the mystery and piquing people’s interest. I totally agree about the fact that we rephrase things in the retelling.
My strategy is to build a thought-library by frequently recording my little random thoughts that I have throughout each and every day. I find there’s always opportunity to write down what I’m learning or thinking about. Sometimes, it’ll just be a sentence or two. Other times, I’ll get down several paragraphs.
The cool thing about building a thought Library is that you are taking advantage of the thoughts that you would normally lose because most of us don’t think to write when we are “not writing”. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have all my best ideas when I’m doing something that doesn’t even involve writing. That’s why I finally decided to stop staring at the blank page and just do most of my writing when I’m out and about on my smartphone. As a result, I am capturing higher quality content and much more of it than I ever have before.
It’s an awesome technique that pretty much guarantees you’ll never be out of fresh content no matter what your writing: tweets, articles, books. Basically, instead of trying to force words onto a blank page you’ll never have to start from scratch because you’ll have a massive library to pick from.
This is excellent advice – thanks for sharing so much about your process! You’re absolutely right about how ideas can come at unexpected times, whether they’re major breakthroughs or pithy “shower thoughts.” Keeping track of them as they come can make your life so much simpler in the long run, and it sounds like you’ve worked out a solid system for yourself!
Hey, thanks Tom. Love what you guys are doing! The advice that you gave in the “Quote thyself” section of your article reminded me a lot of the strategy that I use.
This is utter genius!!
Glad that it could be of help. And thank you for the kind words.