Have a Laugh! Incorporate Humor into Social Media

Ben-Huh-and-Social-Media-Humor-199x300Using humor in your social media activities is tricky business. Very few things are as subjective as what constitutes “funny.” At an SXSW session on March 11, “The Art of Making Fun of Yourself”, CEO of the Cheezburger Network, Ben Huh spoke about incorporating humor into your online personas and campaigns.

Brands looking to establish themselves on social media may be interested in a few takeaways from Mr. Huh’s informative, and humorous presentation.

Pay Up! Humor is Social Currency

Huh believes that the internet and social media largely run on humor. Across Twitter, Facebook, and other online forums, everyone is taking a stab at being a comedian. Why post or tweet anything unless, at least on some level, you’re looking for that “like” or retweet? It’s that social seal of approval that your update or content has indeed hit the mark with at least certain people. Brands looking to jump into social media for the purposes of engagement and spreading their message should understand that laughs are a valuable currency in the online space. You don’t need to be The Onion or Conan to add a touch of laughter to your social media activity.

We Are All Obsessed with Grumpy Cat!

Get your social media followers and fans involved in contributing humorous content, with memes as a classic example. Pay attention to which online humor sensations are catching fire and don’t be afraid to try to leverage them. Mashable took advantage of one of the moment’s biggest online sensations “Grumpy Cat” to attract huge lineups to their SXSW location this year. Indeed, the appearance of the feline phenom has been one of the biggest hits of this year’s interactive conference. That speaks volumes about how important humor is as part of a brand’s marketing campaigns. As well, keeping up regular engagement with your online audience will ensure that your awesome, knee-slapping content makes the rounds.

Viral, Schmiral

Only a tiny fraction of what we do will truly take off and “go viral.” When using comedy in your social efforts, don’t expect every humorous aside to garner heavy activity or be noticed by the entire world. The key is to develop your brand’s online persona first and become a consistent source of laughs. That’s far better strategy than constantly trying to catch lightning in a bottle and produce the next world wide viral sensation every time you drop new content.

First is the Worst, Second is the Best…

While the famous Oreo Super Bowl power outage response was terrific marketing, there’s no rush to be first to score humor points off current events. Rushing to make jokes around breaking news is where brands could find themselves in trouble. Those second or third to the ball can also take off. Consider Dos Equis (the Most Interesting Man in the World meme) and Old Spice (The Old Spice Guy) for example. Both characters share similarities with the Chuck Norris Facts meme, though the two branded examples came later and still managed to become well known humor hits. Real-time response is great but make sure your campaign is still in line with your brand’s established personality and history.

(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on March 12, 2013.)

Cover image via Flickr

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