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The Lifespan of Social Media Content

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Compared to the blog posts, long-form articles, and white papers that you publish on your website, most of the content you post on social media platforms has a remarkably short lifespan. However, a short shelf life doesn’t necessarily equal a lower value. Discover the lifespan of social media content on each major platform and find out how you can extend the life of your brand’s social content.

How Long Content Lasts on Social Media

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Although you can always retrieve older social posts, social media content doesn’t stay on your followers’ radar as long as most other types of digital content. While most social content peaks within a few hours of posting, each social platform has its own average content lifespan. Take a look at how each of the major social platforms ranks.

Facebook

When you publish content on Facebook, you can typically expect it to last for five hours, during which time the average post receives about three-quarters of its total engagement. Impressions plateau in half that amount of time, as most posts receive 75 percent of their total impressions at the 2.5-hour mark. Note that Facebook algorithms can impact content lifespans substantially, and this figure represents how long content typically lasts in the platform’s non-chronological newsfeed.

Instagram

The content you publish on Instagram tends to last much longer than Facebook posts. The average Instagram content lifespan is 48 hours, during which time most posts receive 75 percent of their total comments. While engagement tends to taper off after the six-hour mark, by which point most posts receive half of their total comments, studies have shown that some of the best-performing Instagram posts take closer to 12 hours to reach momentum.

Twitter

If you’ve ever spent even a minute on Twitter, you’ll notice that this platform constantly pushes new content to its users. It comes as no surprise that content posted on Twitter has one of the shortest lifespans, at an average of 18 minutes.

Snapchat

Content posted on Snapchat has a shorter lifespan, however. Snaps typically last just 10 seconds, which means they can get lost in your followers’ feeds almost instantly. In contrast, Snapchat Stories have much more staying power, with an average lifespan of 24 hours.

Pinterest

In terms of longevity, Pinterest rises above all other social platforms. High-quality pins can continue to garner repins and engagement for a year or more, making this platform a smart bet for long-term social engagement.

How to Improve the Lifespan of Your Social Media Content

If the lifespan of your social content is shorter than you’d hoped, you can take steps to make your posts last longer. After all, there’s no reason for your social content to be average. Try these five strategies for extending your social media content’s lifecycle.

Prioritize High-Quality Content

The most effective way to give your social posts a longer life is to share great content that continues to resonate with your followers. To do this, you’ll need a content strategy that includes high-quality blog posts that educate and convert your audience, high-level content that builds brand awareness and offers added value to your audience, and interactive media that engages and drives conversions.

Each time you share branded content, take the time to craft strong messages with effective calls to action (CTAs), too. Whether you want your social followers to share, comment, learn more, or buy a product, tell them exactly what to do to increase your success rate.

Repurpose Your Best Content

While you shouldn’t hesitate to share your best content multiple times, you shouldn’t necessarily repost the same message repeatedly, especially on certain social platforms. On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you’ll want to mix up your message to avoid annoying followers, but you can repeat the same message to extend content life on Twitter, given the short lifespan of most posts.

For best results, share content in multiple formats, such as posting a link to your newest infographic one day and sharing a link to a blog post that elaborates on the infographic later in the week. Be sure to create targeted messages for each platform to connect with each group of followers in a unique way.

Use Platform-Specific Tools

To make your content last as long as possible on each social stage, take advantage of platform-specific tools. For example, rather than posting a YouTube link to your brand’s new video, consider uploading videos directly to Facebook. Research has shown that native video can generate 10 times the reach that you can get from sharing a video link.

On Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, the Stories feature allows you to give your image and video content new life. Rather than posting content once, you can repurpose it via Stories, which gives your followers another chance and more time to engage with it.

Optimize Your Posting Schedule

Posting at the right time increases your chances of connecting with your followers and improving the lifespan of your content. Naturally, posting at a time when your followers aren’t active could drive your content lifespan far below average. In contrast, posting when your audience is engaged and more likely to share or comment can help your social content gain more traction and remain relevant longer.

To assess when your followers are most active, analyze the audience insights from each social platform. Then schedule your content to publish at peak times, and monitor content performance closely so you can engage with your audience and extend the life of your content.

Find the Ideal Posting Frequency

Determining the right posting frequency is key to maintaining an engaged audience and improving the life of your content. When your audience knows to expect high-quality content and can anticipate when you’ll be publishing it, your followers will be more apt to engage and give your content a much-needed boost. To zero in on the right frequency, review up-to-date research and make sure you’re striking the right balance with your social posting schedule.

Your social posts may never last as long as some of your best digital content, but your social content can still offer ample value. With a smart strategy and a plan for publishing high-quality content, you can extend the lifespan of your social content and get more out of your social efforts.

About the author

Anna Sonnenberg