*Editors Note: Updated January 2019
Twitter caused a real stir when they announced that as of late March 2018, it would be very against the rules to recycle your Tweets and use the same exact updates more than once.
In the past, this sort of thing was generally only problematic in clear cases of spamming, but Twitter has made it clear that duplicative content is no longer welcome on their network at all.
Their exact words?
“You may not post duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.”
When you have something you want to share more than once, though – like a blog post – this imposes some clear limitations.
(Namely, that you can’t just write one Tweet and keep using it over and over.)
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?
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!
That’s why 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!
And we’ll start with the simplest way to do it:
Rephrase what you say
This solution is so simple, we almost feel guilty 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.
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!
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:
Change up your media
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 Tweets with different media attached, 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!
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.
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 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 more vague, 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?)
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 like these examples do, you can easily rack up a whole bunch of variations!
Update January 2019:
Since we published this article, we introduced a few new features here at Edgar to make it even easier for you to create variations with your tweets so you can keep your queue filled with content.
The first feature is variations. 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 on 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!
But wait, that’s not all!
Edgar wanted to make it even easier for you to create variations so he can now create variations for you.
Edgar’s Suggested Variations
Edgar’s suggested variations writes your variations for you! 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 create 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 you 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!
Got a favorite trick for quickly turning out variations?
When you’re promoting a post of your own, what are your shortcuts for creating a quick batch of Tweets?
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!