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Once a year, I head to the backwoods of Maine for a week off-grid. No phone, no Internet, nothing except my family, a cabin, and a lake. It’s a wonderful, glorious experience that helps me to recharge, refocus, and recover from the stresses of modern life.

However, as a marketer, a week with no activity doesn’t help my marketing. All other things being equal, activity yields results in digital marketing; no activity means no results. So, my plan for a week off hearkened back to classic television: summer re-runs. While I was away, software would do the sharing for me of previous content.

Methodology

The next question I had to tackle: which content should I re-share?

Instead of just picking content at random, I chose a data-driven approach. I scanned all my blog posts from 2016 for the most shared posts of the year, then re-queued those in Buffer for the week. After all, if I’m going to have a week of re-runs, best to re-share the things people liked most the first time around.

Using the social sharing scanner I built for SHIFT Communications, I identified these 25 posts based on their popularity the first time around:

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If you’re not one of my clients, feel free to just use the native analytics built into Facebook, Twitter, etc. instead. Or, become a client of mine at SHIFT and you can have access to the fancy tools 🙂

Results

How did the experiment do? Did my re-runs do better than taking a week off entirely?

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  • I began with a total of 2,278 shares across 8 social networks.
  • Over the week, that total rose to 2,637.
  • Overall, I netted 359 additional shares.

What was most interesting was where I picked up new shares.

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While most articles picked up a handful of new shares, a few broke through the pack and carried the weight for most of the re-sharing, such as:

  • Keeping your marketing skills sharp, 37 new shares
  • The future of social media measurement, 56 new shares
  • How we’ve failed marketing automation, 68 new shares

These top three newly re-shared posts have little in common; this time around, audiences approved of these posts instead.

Other Insights

What else did I learn from this experiment?

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Sharing isn’t traffic per se, but it sure helps. I saw a week over week increase of 62% in traffic driven from social networks.

Conversely, because I was posting no net new content, I didn’t please our search overlords. Week over week, I saw a decrease of 3.27% in organic search traffic. I also saw declines in other areas such as referral traffic because I was away, not conducting normal marketing activities.

Conclusion

Should you use the same recipe to populate your social channels when you’re on vacation or otherwise unavailable? I can’t give you an absolute answer, but my results indicate that re-runs are better than nothing. Give them a try using the data-driven methodology of your choice and measure your results. You might be surprised at what gains new life in your content.


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