A graphic of an elliptical figure 8 with famous social media icons (Facebook, Tik Tok, etc) dotted throughout. There is a recycling logo in the middle of the figure 8.

Reuse & recycle: repurposing content for social media

october 31, 2023

Putting together a social media calendar lays bare just how many posts you really need to make across platforms day in, day out. One way to make the most of your work is through repurposing your content.

What is recycled content & how is it helpful?

Content recycling, sometimes called content repurposing, is as simple as taking content that you’ve already created (and, often, already published) and presenting it in a new way or on a different platform. One example of repurposing is taking a blog post and fashioning it into a series of stories on Instagram or a thread on Twitter.

There are a few different reasons why you might want to repurpose your existing content for yourself, your brand, or your clients. If you already have high-performing content, you can retool it and redistribute it, thereby getting an approved message in front of different audiences. This is the definition of working smarter, not harder.

  • It’s a time saver. It can save you hours of brainstorming if you take an iterative approach to what you know works. Instead, you have an approved message that meets brand standards that can be repackaged for different social media channels. Free social media templates from Microsoft Create are another easy way to save time as you're creating content.
  • Promotes consistency. By posting a single message on multiple channels, your brand has a consistent presence and voice. You can take comfort in knowing that the tone of your brand is the same on each platform because you’re working with a well-developed voice.
  • Ensures visibility. By having a steady stream of repurposed content to post, you can help your brand get in front of its desired audience more regularly. There’s no reason why one high-performing blog post can’t be linked to or even recycled multiple times on different channels. You can pull a quote and use it for a post on just about any channel, and then pull another relevant quote and repeat the process.
  • Engages multiple channels. Your audience may all be in a similar demographic, but they may use different social media platforms. By recycling content and posting it on different channels, you can connect with users where they are. This differs from simply posting a campaign on social channels, which is also known as cross-channel marketing.
  • Increases engagement. The more frequently you post, the more likely your audience is to interact with it and boost your brand’s engagement rate.

How to repurpose content for social media

A graphic of social media icons around a recycling icon.

Before you get started, consider that not all content may be ideal for recycling. Consider your posting goals: Are you trying to raise brand awareness or drive organic traffic to your website? You’ll also want to take a close look at your high-performing content and determine if it’s event-specific or seasonal, or if it’s more evergreen and will be relevant at any time.

Just because a piece of content is performing in one place doesn’t mean that it will lend itself to all social media platforms. Think about the story you’re trying to tell, and how it can translate to different social media channels, and how your audience uses those channels and what they expect from your brand. Consider these social media content recycling ideas:

  • X/Twitter threads. If your brand has an active X/Twitter account and an engaged following, you can repurpose the key points of a high-performing blog post into an informative thread that links back to the original post. Use relevant hashtags to draw in a larger audience and gain traction.
  • Convert a webinar into a video. Many brands make use of their YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram accounts for sharing videos. If you’re giving a recorded presentation, you can pull engaging snippets for Instagram stories, or share the whole thing on YouTube. You can cross-post a YouTube video on other platforms, like LinkedIn and Facebook, which can put your content in front of an even larger audience.
  • Post user-generated content. If your audience is actively engaged with your content, you can repurpose some of their relevant comments and responses into new content. Many bars and restaurants will frequently turn negative Yelp reviews into taglines for their businesses. Other businesses will take positive reviews of their products and services and make them into standalone posts. It’s good practice to check with the user first, before using anything they’ve posted, especially if you plan to attach their name to it.
  • Create infographics. You’ve put a lot of work into creating informational content, why not create an infographic that you can share on multiple platforms that helps explain the concept visually? Or if you’ve already created an infographic for your post, share it on another platform and let it link back to the original post.
  • Pull quotes from existing content. Recycle content that you’ve already written by pulling choice lines that resonate with your audience and using them in other content. You could use that line as a post on X/Twitter that links back to your original post, or as part of a graphic on Instagram where they can make an impact.
  • Rework written content for Instagram. While the app is moving more in the direction of videos, as opposed to static photography, Instagram’s users will readily share content and interact with brands. Some ideas for sharing written work on this platform include turning key points into reels or stories or turning a longer post into a multi-side story with images and text.

Repurposing content doesn’t have to be a long, involved process. Keep it simple and rely on visuals. A simple post with a quote on a branded background can be effective for getting shares and likes.

When scheduling your posts across various accounts and platforms, a tool like Microsoft’s Digital Marketing Center can help you publish your content and review key metrics to gauge performance.

Related topics