How to Use Humor to Build Your Brand on Social Media

August 7, 2015

How to Use Humor to Build Your Brand on Social MediaWho doesn’t like laughing?


I’m pretty sure the answer to that is no one.


So why not be a funny brand and make your followers happy?


With the rise of social media, a new phenomenon has arisen in the world of day to day marketing –humor as a consistent marketing technique!


That means not just being funny every now and then in a television commercial, but actually being funny in your day to day interactions with your fans and customers.


It’s a pretty cool and pretty effective marketing technique, and in this week’s post you will learn all about how to start using humor in your marketing!


Why Use Humor?

I guess before getting into a discussion of how to use humor in social media marketing, we should discuss why it’s an effective marketing technique.


The way I see it it’s pretty straight forward – social media is a platform meant to be used to create personal connections. Therefore, by using humor you can show your fans that you are human and relatable, so that more people will like you (like actually like you, not like you on Facebook).


In addition, humor is attention grabbing! It sets you apart from your competitors and gets people to notice your brand in a crowded space.


Finally, all of these things contribute to more shares. More shares = more exposure.


So, even if humor doesn’t lead to direct sales, it is a great way to build awareness and grow loyalty!


Create Your Brand Voice and Use It!

Your brand voice is essentially the tone that you take in your website content, social media posts, etc. You can be serious, informative, funny, helpful, etc.


There are countless tones that you can take.


So, the first thing you need to do is to determine if humor fits your brand voice.


Are you generally light hearted? Does the product you sell lend itself to being talked about humorously, or do you sell something like insurance – in which case you’ll probably be posting boring stuff like this post from Progressive (who we will get back to in a minute):


progressive tweet


If your brand does lend itself to humor, then you should work on developing your brand voice. You can go for one of two options – Be funny and helpful, or just be ridiculous!


To do this simply decide what you want the tone of your posts to be, and get started! Remember to try to present one unified image to your customers, though. Meaning if you are going to go full ridiculous on social media, then you should be ridiculous on all your social accounts, and probably on your website as well.


No one has achieved this better than Old Spice. Not only does Old Spice own one of the most wacky sets of YouTube ads that we’ve all seen (if not check them out here), but they are also fully wacky on social media as well!


old spice ridiculous facebook


Or on Twitter:


old spice ridiculous tweets


Old Spice has created a strong brand voice that enables it to write stuff like the above Tweet and it is still promotional for the brand!


Now, remember I mentioned we would get back to Progressive? Well that’s because they did something very clever.


Clearly the Progressive brand is a bit…well serious, so it isn’t exactly the place to inject humor, which is why they created Flo the Progressive Girl (a StoreYa customer!) – their funny “mascot” who acts as the face of the brand in all of their commercials.


The beauty of this, aside from great commercials, is the fact that progressive created a second persona for itself – it has the brand voice, and now it has Flo’s voice as well which has enabled them to post stuff like this:


flo progressive girl funny tweet


This tweet wouldn’t fit in at all on Progressive’s feed, but it fits perfectly in Flo’s and makes people like Flo even more, which in turn makes people like Progressive.


Pretty cool, right?


Brand Related Humor Works Too

Just because you’re being funny on social media doesn’t mean that it can’t be directly related to your brand.


In fact, by being able to tie your humor into your brand your humor could potentially be more directly beneficial (because you mention your products, so the humor gets tied directly to your product).


Newcastle Brown Ale is a company that has really done an amazing job of joking around AND talking about their product at the same time:


branded humor tweet


As you can see by the interaction with this Tweet, people have definitely enjoyed their humor!


Timely Humor

There’s nothing quite like it when a brand chimes in on current events in a timely, clever way.


The best example I can think of was this Oreo’s tweet that went out during a power outage in the middle of the 2013 Super Bowl:


timely humor tweet


This tweet is super timely, and at least fairly clever.


This technique is so effective because it enables you to connect with your fans on two levels – first of all, obviously, through humor, and secondly, by choosing events relevant to your target audience, you can actually bond with your fans over a shared interest and experience!


Android’s Facebook page puts a different spin on this technique by really taking the concept of timely humor to the next level! They don’t just hop on to major events…they hop onto all events.


supe timely humor tweet


Find your balance. Maybe you want to be the brand that finds all of the events, or maybe for you it would be better to only tackle the largest events.


Whichever strategy you choose, taking advantage of world events to be funny is a great social media strategy!


Tell a Story

Everyone likes a good story, and that holds true for your social followers.


If you can make your social posts tell a story, paint a picture, say something beyond just the simple text, then your followers will definitely love you more!


The way I see it, there are two good ways of telling a “joke story” as I’ll call it. The first option is something like this:


tell a story social media


(First of all, hilarious, right?)


Anyway…this post contains the entire story in one shot – simple, one post, one story.


Now, the next type of story-telling technique is a bit more complicated. Instead of just telling the entire story in one post, with this method you would draw out the story over the course of a few posts.


JC Penny gives us an absolutely amazing example of this. During the Super Bowl last year (yes, another Super Bowl story) JC Penny started sending out some pretty nonsensical tweets, like this one below:


ridicuous jcpenny tweets


These poorly written tweets started getting some attention from other brands:


responses to jcpenny


Clearly something must be wrong with JC Penny, right?


Well as things began to get more ridiculous, suddenly they sent out this tweet explaining the whole story!


tell a story humor


This is an awesome example of a brand using story telling not just in a funny way, but in a way that promoted products too!


Get Interactive

Obviously the point of humor is to engage your fans, so why not make your humor interactive?


The first way you can be interactive with your humor is by actually asking your fans to be funny too. This a pretty common practice in social media marketing – for example, any time you ask your fans to “caption this photo” you’re really asking them to be funny!


fill in the blank


The second way to do it is to actively interact with your fans in a humorous way.


When one of your fans asks a question, if you can answer the question and throw some humor in too then you should absolutely go for it! It will definitely be appreciated.


For example, check out these witty responses from Pizza Hut and Dominoes.


funny brand responses social media


In order to be ready to leave a witty comment (or really to respond to any complaint at all) be sure to use a tool like Mention or Google Alerts to follow all mentions of your brand across the web.


Be Funny on Social!

We’ve laid out for you a number of different ways to become the Internet’s jokester, now it’s up to you to decide which methods are right for you!


Make the world laugh and boost sales at the same time!


Got any funny examples from your own experiences? Please share them with the StoreYa community below!

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