Look around you, and you might notice two kinds of brands on social.
There are those who just post a pack-shot and a slogan once a day and hope for the best (they never get the best, FYI).
And there are those who always have something to say. Those who managed to entertain and engage their audiences – and who genuinely would be sorely missed if they stopped posting.
Those are the brands that give us all feed envy.
But what’s the secret to their success?
Comedy. And believe it or not, that’s true even for the posts that aren’t – on face value – “funny”.
Let me explain.
Good marketing builds a human connection with an audience.
It shows them that their world is your world. It demonstrates that we’re all in this together.
Comedy helps us show, rather than tell
When the world is going through big changes, and when people are hurting – telling your audience “we’re all in this together” has zero impact (despite what the small army of Agencies who’ve sold their clients on that same “Us on a Zoom Call” Ad are telling you).
That kind of content comes across as insincere and, honestly, it’s lazy.
In dark times, entertainment is more important than ever. Audiences want to laugh and will be grateful to the brands that give them cause to do so.
But there’s more to it than that.
Jokes that acknowledge the fundamental shift that all of us have experienced in our lives foster a much stronger sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ than the words ‘we’re all in this together’ ever could.
If you’re reading this and thinking “comedy wouldn’t work for us, though” – you’re missing a crucial step.
The wrong kind of comedy wouldn’t work for you – of course, it wouldn’t – but whatever your sector, whatever you’re selling, jokes tailored to your specific audience, designed to engage specifically with them and the things they care most about? There’s always a way to make that work.
For instance – let’s take the Coronavirus crisis, and our efforts to get used to Social Distancing.
Every brand could – if they’d chosen – have shown us they “get it”, in a very different way.
Playstation might have posted:
We’ve all got a mate who uses social distancing as an excuse for his defenders running the wrong way on FIFA.
Durex could’ve said:
If you’re lucky enough to be in lockdown with your partner, you owe it to your single mates to make the most of it.
And Tetley Tea might have gone with:
The two-metre rule applies to anyone outside your household, and anyone inside it who puts the milk in first.
I mean they didn’t.
But they could have.
Three very different brands, three very different jokes – each designed to engage a specific audience and demonstrate that “we get you”.
Why does comedy work so well?
There are many ways to craft engaging, entertaining posts – and not all of them involve humour. But if we understand a bit more about how jokes work, and how they affect us, it’s easy to see why comedy has the edge.
Hidden inside every joke is a “truth” – a story. “Getting the joke” makes us feel good. Sharing the joke with others who get it makes us feel awesome.
And when the joke resonates deeply with us, because it captures precisely how we’re feeling at that exact moment, we’re even more driven to share it with others in the same boat.
Comedy and Social Proof
It’s no secret that there’s a degree of pride associated with being a ‘good recommender’.
Sharing a post on social media is the digital equivalent of recommending an experience to your mates, and brands who can consistently create content that their followers deem funny enough to recommend will reap an additional benefit: social proof.
New potential customers perceive user-generated content (think photos of new purchases, testimonials, reviews and so on) as a more authentic and trustworthy representation of a brand than anything the brand puts out directly.
Every positive social media post about your product or service is an endorsement, and these endorsements play a huge role in persuading other users to engage with your brand – ultimately converting them into paying customers.
By arming your audience with comedy content that they want to share, you’re giving them a very easy way to tell a story about your brand – they don’t even need to put it into words, because the story is inherent to the act of sharing.
When a social media user shares your funny post, they are telling their followers, “I found this funny and relatable, and you will too”. That’s it. That’s the story, and it plays a massive role in getting other social media users to sit up and pay attention.
“But jokes don’t make sales – surely?” I hear you cry.
We know – you’re not here to provide free entertainment. You’re here to sell. The good news is there are some very significant ways comedy content can boost your bottom line.
When done wrong, Social Media Marketing is all about “new products” and “voucher codes” and “buy it now” messaging that literally everyone will ignore.
If that’s what your content looks like, you might as well be burning money in a skip.
When done right, Social Media Marketing is all about boosting brand awareness by creating content that your followers can’t resist engaging with (and, most importantly, sharing).
If this is what your content looks like, well done – you’ve cracked the code!
You’re essentially playing the algorithms for free advertising – with your brand message (and your brand’s identity) travelling far and wide without the need for boosted posts or promoted tweets.
Keep your brand front of mind, and when someone is ready to enter the consideration phase, they’ll consider you first. If your content is both engaging and on-message, they’ll also sell themselves on buying from you without ever realising they were being pitched to.
Comedy is a tried-and-tested way to sneak a sales message past your audience’s defences, and if you were to throw humour into your marketing mix for that reason alone, you’d be on to a winner.
Comedy Content really can make all the difference
“The game has changed”. We hear people say this all the time, in response to any big shift that’s scuppered the marketing they had planned.
But here’s the thing. The game hasn’t changed – your audience has. They’ve changed so much that the marketing you had planned yesterday is no longer relevant to them and their daily lives.
While you’re getting your ducks in a row for a new campaign that will resonate – using comedy content to entertain and engage them on social is a great way to show that you’re a part of their world.
Do that consistently, and not only will they help spread your brand’s message, but you’ll also be front of mind at the precise moment they’re ready to buy.