What does your social media strategy look like? Is it a mix of informational, educational and entertaining? Are you changing upwhen you post and what you post? If the answer is no, there’s room for improvement with your social strategy.
According to Darren D’Altorio, head of social media for digital marketing firm Wpromote, one of the most powerful strategies businesses and individuals can use on social media is pattern disruption.
“If you get people thinking in a universal pattern, their attention is going to diminish with every single post. They know what to expect,” he said. “Pattern disruption changes that.”
Pattern disruption, or pattern interrupt, is anything that forces someone to change their natural pattern of thought. For social media that means changing up the times of when you post and, more importantly, the content.
If you can help it, there shouldn’t be several posts in a row that stick with the same theme. If there are two informational posts back-to-back, sprinkle in something that is going to differentiate from it. Often, successful accounts will post several funny or lighthearted posts in a row to draw the user in, then hit them with some information that the company wants to get across or that is really important, D’Altorio said. Often that will increase engagement for all posts.
This is what forces users to change from what D’Altorio deems a “leaned forward” approach to a “leaned back” one. A leaned forward user is quickly scrolling through posts, not engaging heavily with the content, while a leaned back user is engaged and is allowing content to grab his attention. This most often happens with humor, which has shown to produce the most virality.
“After you posted several funny posts, the [user] is going to think the next post will be funny, they’re leaning back,” D’Altorio said. “Suddenly you’re hitting them with some serious stuff that is going to be a disruption for the user. And since they are still leaned back they will engage with the content.
D’Altorio likens it to those quizzes that show words jumbled up, except the first and last letter are correct. Most often the brain can decipher the word because of those two letters. It understands patterns well. The same goes for social media. The words might differ in a post, but if the content is similar, the brain will automatically identify.
“If you’re getting into a pattern with posts, people are going to start to tune out. Their brain is doing that work of, ‘I know what to expect,’” D’Altorio said.