In early 2018, Twitter announced a number of changes on their rules regarding automation and as of 23rd March, those changes are now upon us.

Even if you’ve never ‘automated’ any of your Twitter activity, as such, it’s still super important that you’re aware of the changes and that you time to review and adapt your strategy.

Understanding the context

Fake news, manipulation of trending topics and spam content and behaviour. These three problems are rife on pretty much all of the major social networks right now, including Twitter and, because of this, we are seeing a tidal wave of change across social media.

It’s a case of bad actors ruining it for the masses, and that’s frustrating for the rest of us for sure, but it is the situation we find ourselves in. We can either choose to stay stuck in the frustration or embrace the change and be willing to adapt our strategies for the benefit of our businesses.

So, what’s changed on Twitter?

These changes basically govern what you can and cannot allow third-party tools or apps to do on your Twitter account.

If you’re using a tool to schedule your tweets then it’s your responsibility to check that that tool complies with Twitter’s rules.

You can find Twitter’s Automation rules here <<

These rules cover all types of activity on Twitter, from tweeting to direct messages, following to retweets, so it’s well worth reading them through in full.

However, these are the three key rules that came into effect on 23rd March

  1. Do not simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts.“This applies regardless of whether the Tweets are published to Twitter at the same time, or are scheduled/queued for future publication.”
  2. Do not simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.

  3. The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as Likes or Retweets, across many accounts, is not permitted. To clarify that final point, this is the wording included in Twitter’s automation rules: “You may not post duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.”

    It is still absolutely OK to use a third-party tool to schedule your Tweets, as long as you and the tool you’re using comply with Twitter’s rules.  If you’re not sure, then contact the provider of your scheduling tool and they should be happy to explain what they’re doing to ensure their app complies.

Where does that leave recycled content?

If you’ve followed me for a while, you will probably know by now that I am a big advocate of reusing, recycling and re-purposing content.

The reason being is that, on most social media platforms, including Twitter, when you post only a tiny percentage of the people who follow you will actually see it. What’s more, even if someone sees your post in their feed, they are consuming so much other content that they may flick right past it. And if they do stop to look at your post, they may have forgotten it as they are quickly moving on to the next thing.

What’s more, you pour so much time and energy into creating content it’s only right that you extract as much value as you possibly can from each and every piece.

I’ve written about this many times before and, even in light of these changes on Twitter, there is still a place and a purpose for recycling and re-purposing content.

However, we need now to be smarter about how we recycle tweets.

In this blog post, I explained how you can create multiple tweets from a single blog post and create your own content library to make it easier to reuse those tweets in the future. Now that strategy is still well worth employing but it needs an extra step to be added. When it comes to scheduling your tweets, rather than simply copying and pasting them into your scheduling tool (or using a tool that automates that process) you will need to take a few moments to tweak your tweets so that they are not “duplicative or substantially similar.”

Quality over quantity… always!

Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s going to take more time and you’re already struggling to stay on top of your social media and share enough content on Twitter.

As with all aspects of your content marketing, quality should win out over quantity.

If you were tweeting 20 times a day and 80% of your tweets were recycled content then it may be that you now reduce that frequency a little and spend more time repurposing your content rather than recycling it in its current form.

Now is also a great opportunity to think about what might be missing from your content mix. If 80% of your tweets have been recycled content, is that because that’s all that your followers want and need to hear from you, or is it because that’s what was easiest to get out there?

Consider what else you could add to the mix now. Not only will that make you less reliant on recycled content but it will also add a new dimension to your feed and may well lead to more engagement with your audience.

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