Social media is an integral part of modern life and the role it plays in your business is no exception. Humor, also plays a pretty substantial role in life, so it makes sense that integrating humor into your marketing and social media would make sense.
Getting it right, however, can sometimes be a bit difficult.
Businesses are constantly working on improving their social media strategies – finding ways to improve on their images or make videos that “go viral”, but sometimes they lose track of the fact that social media activities aren’t about necessarily about the pretty pictures or well-produced videos, they goal is to find a way to engage your user.Social media marketing isn't necessarily about content that goes viral. Engagement with your community should be the ultimate goal. Click To Tweet
The goal might be to get them to re-share a pretty photo or like an informative video, or maybe laugh and share a funny meme but the outcome has to be measurable, otherwise it doesn’t have much value to the business.
Why “Bland Brands” Fail
One of the main reasons marketing efforts frequently don’t work is that brands aren’t paying enough attention to being human and relatable. For the most part, people don’t visit social media channels to be marketed to.
They don’t want to be sold to.
They might tolerate ads as the price for the using a free platform, but they don’t come to social media for advertisements.
So, what about brands that focus their content on creating articles that educate their customers? While that might work for some social media users, there is a segment of who don’t really care about helpful content. They aren’t searching for how-to articles or DIY articles…they come to have fun.
Yes, there is a decent segment of the population that just uses social media for fun. They like cat videos, they like funny memes, they like social media because it entertains them.
And those brands that have figured that out are grabbing the spotlight.
Spicing Up A Boring Industry With Social Media Humor
Let’s use Wendy’s as an example. They have done a great job setting an example of how brands can interact with their audience and grow a massive following.
Does Wendy’s spend a lot of time developing “how to” content or tweeting out their nutritional information? No.
Do they tweet industry news about the restaurant or food-service industries? No.
Why? Because that’s not what their audience is interested in.
Instead, Wendy’s has gained a massive following because of their fun humor and snark. They use comedic posts to share information about new product releases and seasonal promotions and they infuse a sense of humor into most of their communications.
Sorry Durrr Burger, you got the frozen beef and we wipe you off the map.
Who’s next? https://t.co/CfLxgYUvu5
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) December 6, 2018
Add to that, they work hard listen to the conversation and then engage with their followers. Sometimes, they use humor to taunt their competitors. They understand that the business of hamburgers isn’t necessarily a sexy one, so they use humor to liven things up.
Does it always work, not necessarily.
Does it work most of the time? Definitely.Sometimes, adding a comedic twist to your otherwise boring content can help make it more interesting to your online community. Click To Tweet
Knowing Your Audience Is Key
If you’re thinking about using humor as part of your communication strategy, you need to take some time and conduct an audience analysis. It’s important that you understand whether humor would resonate with them and whether it’s appropriate.
Don’t feel like every serious topic is completely off-limits to humor, though. Some police departments across the country have done a great job being humorous, despite the fact that they are in the very serious business of protecting and serving.
When you show up to a loud party call and all the intoxicated party go-ers think you dressed up for their party. #imarealcop, #idontwanttreatsiwantids, #WeirdestHalloweenEver @jimmyfallon
— Orem Police Dept. (@OremDPS) October 31, 2018
Be diligent in understanding your audience and think about how humor might be received by them in a positive manner.
Not All Humor Is The Same
There are a lot of different types of humor out there. Just compare the differing comedy styles of Jim Gaffigan, Bo Burnham, and Amy Schumer and you’ll see that there is “clean humor”, “dirty humor”, “political humor”, “family humor”, “food humor”, and TONS of other types of comedic styles.
Take a look at the video below that features a family using a bit of food humor, combined with just some gross humor to help raise awareness about their insurance company. Does it work?
So, choosing the right type of humor and injecting that humor at the right time can launch a business or brand from obscurity into a household name overnight.
The key is to know what type of humor will work with your audience and finding ways to make that work with your brand messaging.There are tons of different types of humor. If you're going to inject humor into your marketing, be sure it doesn't offend your community. Click To Tweet
The Are Plenty Of Pitfalls
Being the “right kind of funny” isn’t easy.
There are many mistakes you can make. You could unintentionally offend a group, or an influencer, or come off as attacking an individual person or another brand. Your competitors might turn your humor around on you and attack back.
Sometimes Twitter wars might seem like a fun idea, but they can go badly
@OldSpice Is your deodorant made with really old spices?
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) July 9, 2012
This is why you need to be extra careful with any humor attempt. Just like any marketing and communication strategy, you have to have a plan.
You need to think ahead as to what could happen, even if it doesn’t.
You should plan for the worst and hope for the best.
And, most importantly, you need to be sure that your executive leadership is on-board with the plan of injecting humor into your messaging. The last thing you want is to have a crisis arise and your leadership is caught off-guard and unprepared.Before you launch a marketing strategy that is based on humor, you might want to make sure your company leadership is on-board. Click To Tweet
Trust me…that won’t go well for you and your team.
There Are Plenty Of Benefits, As Well
While adding humor to your social media activities might sound a little daunting, there are some real upsides to doing it.
It can make your brand seem more approachable and likeable
Brands often have to overcome the issue of appearing impersonal or ‘faceless’ when targeting their audiences. People who use social media are fully aware of when they are being targeting by advertising and commonly the response is for the user to ignore the message of the advertisement.
Humor can be a solution that catches people’s eye and helps keep them from ignoring a marketing message. People love to laugh and will feel drawn towards anything which makes them do even if there is a cheeky sales pitch somewhere in there.
Gone is the faceless brand trying to sell them something and in its place a relatable and interesting brand which is bringing them comedic value.
If you want to make sure users continue watching your video instead of continuing to scroll down, you might want to include some
It can help you to stand out among your competitors
The truth is that people are inundated with advertising and social media campaigns so standing out isn’t always easy. On an average day a social media user will see somewhere between 100 and 150 advertisements while going about their business online.
“Adverts are also becoming more and more ingrained in the user interfaces of social media apps, meaning users have no opportunity to passively avoid the ad and must actively choose to ignore it by scrolling down or clicking off of it. For these reasons you will need to ensure you really catch people’s attention and maintain it through memorable content, which often means funny content,” says Joel M. Martin, a social media manager at 1Day2Write and OriginWritings.
If your competitors aren’t leveraging humor, take advantage of that and find a way to add it to your communication plan.
Humorous online content is a talking point
UK brands such as Go Compare and its viral songs and the kitchen roll brand Plenty and its mascot Juan Sheet are classic examples of comedy in advertising, which even after several years is still well and truly lodged in collective minds of UK consumers.
Social media is now more accessible and widely used than ever and multiple hugely popular influencers such as Unilad use a large part of their platform sharing comedic material, so having humorous content on your social media can really help increase awareness of your business and get users talking about you amongst themselves.
Humor hides your sales strategy
As mentioned previously, people know when they are being pitched to and their reaction is likely to be completely rejecting what is being marketed at them.
“Humor hides a sales pitch perfectly, often causing the viewer to forget they are interacting with a company altogether,” says Linda G. Shafer, a content writer at Write My X. Consistently posting humorous content will build rapport with your followers and go a long way to inspiring brand loyalty.
Help your customers cut through the heave sales pitch and give them something to giggle at.Don't want to be all salesy in your social media activities? Try injecting a little humor around your company or products. Click To Tweet
Things to consider when incorporating humor into social media
While an endlessly useful tool humor can all too easily go wrong, there is a fine line between funny and offensive and it is best to stay well away from that line and play it safe.
Keep your comedy simple and easily digestible for maximum outreach and impact. Make sure you know your target audience and what kind of humor will appeal to them before posting anything.
This is essential in carrying out the right kind of funny. Also aim to keep your content up to date with current events, holidays, and talking points to ensure your business is seen as relevant.
It can be a delicate balancing act, however, mastering the correct use of humor on social media can make all the difference for your brand. Like other emotions, humor can be power when used properly in a content strategy. There are potential downsides, though, when used inappropriately.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to incorporate humor into your social media and content marketing strategies. The key is to anticipate how your audience will react to the type of humor that you plan to use and then execute at the right time.
Have a good (or bad) example of a brand that has used humor in their strategy? Share a link to your favorite funny brand message in the comments!
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Monday 20th of January 2020
Thanks for sharing this food for my brain. I will use this to my writing company for improving the Social Media strategy. At least I will bring more things which are needed for my audience, but not me.
Monday 22nd of April 2019
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing
Monday 18th of February 2019
Thanks, Hazel Fogg, over time I have been a traffic prisoner. I think applying your techniques will be helpful.