Ever heard of this joke?
“I have to break up with you. We’ve connected on so many platforms-Facebook and Twitter-but I just don’t feel LinkedIn.” – Derek Kessinger
The funny bone can be a short-sighted thing. When you think about it, coming up with good jokes is not the easiest thing. But if you have a knack for storytelling and a good sense of humor, you’ll be able to improve your content marketing strategies considerably.
Wonder why? Well, the answer is pretty straightforward. Laughter is the universal language that all people understand. After all, it was one of our first forms of interaction since humankind came into existence.
So it was only a matter of time until marketers started using humor in their marketing campaigns. Amusing content gets more shares on social media and evoking empathy is one of the most powerful forms of marketing.
But what else does entertainment have to offer — marketing-wise — on social media?
When people laugh, they feel good. The action itself increases endorphins, relaxes the body, strengthens the immune system, and helps relieve stress. So if you want your clients to associate good feelings with your brand, then you should make them laugh. Sounds simple, right?
And yet, how can we use humor in your social media marketing strategy? And what can we learn from brands that use humor as a central part of their strategy?
To answer these questions, we’ve done our fair share of research, and without further ado, here are 4 reasons why humor works on social media and how you can incorporate it into your approach to get the results you want:
- It Gives Your Brand a More Humane Look
When your sense of humor is connected to people’s daily struggles, social trends, or live events, sticking out will come easily.
Taking advantage of these kinds of moments shows your followers that you’re not just automatically shooting off basic tweets and hoping to be noticed. Instead, you’re posting on social media at the right time and in a way that comes naturally to you and them. This shows your audience that you’re paying attention and that you care about the things that they find important.
This can be especially successful when brands put a spin-off from the visual amplification of major events such as Oreo did on the Super Bowl XLVII blackout.
Another great example of humor used well are popular brand feuds. Be it at home, at school, or at work, we all experienced some playful rivalry. And brands using this concept created viral phenomena that have made headlines on various social media and news networks.
Some great examples of humorous rivalry shown in the media are the Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi or the iPhone vs. Android feuds. Below we can see two ads, one posted by Pepsi and the other by Coca-Cola, both of which being Halloween-themed. This is how the brands took a beloved yearly holiday and used it to their advantage.
The lesson here is that if you want to incorporate fun into your approach, do it in a way that demonstrates that you are up-to-date with current events and are keen to appeal to your audience. Most importantly, find an appropriate, but subtle link that will allow your brand to stand out.
- It Communicates without any Doubt the Position of Your Brand
Although humor can allow you to interact with your current audience, it can also lead you to attract a new audience. Creating humorous content is certainly a marketing technique that needs to be well thought out because it can completely change the way people view your brand. That is if it’s successfully implemented.
So who got it right?
Clorox, for instance, was able to take a slow product and bring it to life through social media. This company, which has been around for over 100 years, gave its brand a digital presence. Once that has been done, it created humorous content that clearly pushes the use of its product home.
Below you can see how they came up with the famous #WineWednesday hashtag to promote their brand.
Old Spice has done a similar thing, only they have concentrated their efforts on TV ads. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t remember the advertisements that have Terry Crews in them?
Along the same lines, social media humor became an opportunity for the brand Dollar Shave Club as well. With the help of satire on social media, the company was able to redefine how men’s razor blades were viewed in a tightly regulated marketplace.
Unlike other brands, the Dollar Shave Club relies on a social networking approach, meaning that they only promote their goods via social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
So, what would Clorox, Old Spice, and Dollar Shave Club have to tell you?
Firstly, no matter what it is, social media has the ability to bring any product to life. Secondly, having a highly active social presence gives you access to more potential leads as you get to interact with people who really want to see your content.
- Funny Content Spreads Like Wildfire
One of the most common reasons marketers use humor is that it is a common viral content denominator. In addition, studies have shown that satire and humor are some of the emotions that have the potential to make content go viral.
This can be seen more prominently in Elliot’s thesis “What makes a non-professional video go viral: a case study of “I’m farming and I grow it”,“ where he argues that positive emotions, such as joy and humor drive people to share content online.
We’ve also seen companies integrating content that has already gone viral on social media into their brand’s humor. They either give out sponsorships and have influencers represent their brands or hop on the latest meme bandwagon.
So, what can we learn from these brands? That viral content can originate from anywhere. Whether it’s content created by users, a big brand with an even bigger budget, or an unintentionally amusing tweet, social media has the power to spread the message like wildfire.
So be open-minded when it comes to the humorous material within your reach.
- People Love to Have a Good Laugh
A strong sense of humor can’t fix all the problems, but more and more evidence points to the constructive nature of laughter in relation to social media.
The main explanation of why humor works on social media is simply because it draws empathy to the surface. This is good for brands, as laughter is social, it holds people together. And when a brand produces unforgettable, funny content it can quickly become a conversation starter.
Just think about all the times you’ve shared some jokes with your coworkers or when you tagged your friend on an Instagram meme for a quick laugh. Getting fun, sharable content gives more visibility to brands and, thus, potentially more customers. Ergo, another reason social media operates better with humor.
Using humor on social media can work out marvelously for your brand! However, there is a ‘but.’ There are certain situations when you should think twice before tweeting a joke, a meme, or a sarcastic message.
Recommended read: 21 Best Sentiment Analysis Tools for 2021
What You Should Definitely Keep In Mind When Creating Funny Content
First of all, when contemplating using humor on your social media you absolutely have to think about the right tone. You don’t want your audience to misinterpret your message due to the tone and consider it insulting or mean.
Secondly, you need to learn where and when humor is acceptable to use. Trying to make a joke out of a disaster does not help the strategy for your socials or your brand. In fact, a mistake like this could very easily turn you into the bad guy and even loyal customers might want to sever ties with a company that has a bad reputation.
And lastly, consider how your target audience and actual audience perceive you. What kind of voice do they demand from you? What kind of commitment can you offer them? Is humor something that they are expecting from your brand? And will they lose trust if you start integrating humor into your brand image?
These are all questions that need to be answered before building marketing campaigns that revolve around funny messages and witty ads. Because although sharing business-specific memes once in a while can be acceptable, focusing solely on a humoristic delivery of your message might not.
This doesn’t mean that you should shy away from humor. It just means that you should make sure that it is the right move for your business and your brand.
The way we see it, using humor on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is multiple-sided. On the one hand, it can help you create a humane relationship with your audience in a world that is becoming more impersonal and digitized. It can also attract a lot of attention. But on the other hand, in order to send a clear message, content and humor must match your brand voice and image perfectly.
If you start exploring the funny bone of your brand then the first thing you have to do is to learn from the success of those who do it well. After you figure out what works and what doesn’t develop a sense of humor that will fit your brand. This will make your company stand out in a neverending social media feed.