Humour is subjective. And, it can be easy to misinterpret tone and intent on social media. Given these issues, it’s understandable that some brands are hesitant to try and be funny on their social accounts.
Humour can however be a powerful tool for brands, and some very serious brands use it to win their audiences’ hearts.
There’s a way you can use humour safely on social when responding: stay true to your brand’s values and – crucially – remain appropriate to the situation. This Innocent Drinks post is a good example of a brand being funny while remaining within their comfort zone:
Why is humour a powerful engagement tool for brands?
Emotion – It generates an emotional response, which helps us form stronger memories. If your brand is the first that comes to mind when someone’s looking for their next purchase, your hilarious social media manager could have had something to do with it!
Bonding – Humour not only helps to create and reinforce a bond between the brand using it and its fans, but those fans can use the funny social engagement response to bond with their friends and followers by sharing and reacting to it.
Community building – this bonding helps to build your brand’s community. A shared sense of humour aids in building trust and in establishing a group. When a group of us agree that something is funny, we start to create tentative links with each other. (Which is also shaped by people who don’t think the post was funny at all.)
How brands use humour with community engagement
Part 2 of our whitepaper on community engagement looks at several examples of how brands are using humour well when they respond on social media.
- Being human
Nesquik, for example, wasn’t afraid to use a friendly, humorous tone (including a great use of emojis) when realising it had created a storm of debate over ice in chocolate milkshakes.
- Turning a negative into a positive
Crown Royal whiskey, took what could have been seen as a negative comment mocking the brand and used it to provide a helpful, and funny, tip.
- Community building
@NetflixUK does a great job of interacting with the stars of its shows in ways that entertain fans – which helps reinforce people’s appreciation of both Netflix’s brand and the show’s.
And both @Netflix and @NetflixUK strengthen their communities by sharing fans’ funny tweets:
Netflix also uses humour to support franchises it works with and build anticipation (and connections with the existing franchise fanbase) for new shows:
- Just trying to make people’s day a bit brighter
The editors over at dictionary publisher, Merriam Webster, have become known for their funny tweets, from information shared with humour:
The account also established a reputation for engaging its community, with people bringing it into conversations to defend their positions.
Done well, humour can be a great tool when building your community, and it’s often more within our reach than we think.
You won’t win over everyone by being funny, and it’s usually best to avoid making your followers the butt of the joke, but when executed tactfully, humour remains an excellent way to connect with your audience on social media.