Don't stop me if you've read this

The above photo is from New Old Stock, a website of vintage photos in the public domain.

It’s a rerun.

Or it recaptures history, as advertised in the website tagline.

It’s reborn.

This week, a post of mine on The Beer Runner Facebook page reached nearly 10,000 people, attracted 2,300 clicks and had nearly 200 likes, comments and shares.

Not bad for a re-post of a link that was a year old.

Summer is traditionally the time for reruns, and conventional wisdom holds that we don’t like repeats. We think we prefer the new and novel.

But in fact, research finds that our brains crave reruns. According to a study in Scientific American:

Sometimes choosing to do something again was about reaching for a sure thing — the brain knows the exact kind of reward that it will receive in the end, whether it is laughter, excitement or relaxation. They also learned that people gained insight into themselves and their own growth by going back for a do-over, subconsciously using the rerun or old book as a measuring stick for how their own lives had changed.

This effect also applies to social media, not just old episodes of Friends and Seinfeld. You only have to browse the hashtags #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFriday to see that nostalgia has arrived in new media.

Timehop has 15 million users who revisit their old social media posts with their app, and Facebook recently launched Lookback to show your comments and posts from that day in years past.

You can take advantage of the rerun effect as you manage your new social media posts.

For example, the previous Beer Runner post I referenced was posted automatically using Sumall. The day before they re-share an old post, you get an email from Sumall with a link to a scheduled post. You then have the ability to edit it, delete it, or simply let it post automatically.

You can also take advantage by keeping an Evernote document of notable milestones or mark your Google Calendar with important dates so you can re-share your posts when they have a timely hook.

If you don’t want to wait a year or similar long time, Buffer also makes it easy to see your recent top posts and drag and drop them back into your queue for future sharing.

Obviously, you want to balance out older content with new. Too many reruns get boring.

But don’t be afraid to pull from the archives. Your fans and followers will likely appreciate the blast from the past.

To paraphrase Heraclitus, you can’t step into the same stream twice.

Tim Cigelske is the author of Analytics to Action. SUBSCRIBE to my weekly newsletter and get FREE social media analytics tips!
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