Humor and Social Media

Jun 12, 2013

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Jerry Seinfeld on Facebook

Who Are You Trying to Impress?

Humor, when conveyed properly, is a powerful resource in connecting on a more personal level with an audience. It can be particularly useful in the realm of social media marketing. But humor must be handled with care, especially when used as a professional entity.

Some brands go all out with media that most of us would shake our heads at. It applies, so they reap the rewards from a younger generation-audience. Other brands are more conservative and do their best to appeal to all personalities. Here are some examples:

Evian went for an idea in which any generation could find humor. Kmart, on the other hand, went for the heavy laughs with something not everyone might approve of. I think their ad was freaking awesome because I’m a 25 year old kid with a wide sense of humor. Now a 38 year old father trying to teach his kids what “manners” are might change the channel.

There is Such Thing as Bad Publicity

The saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity,” simply does not apply here. If you post something gross or inappropriate onto your Facebook page where some of your fans might get offended, expect unlikes, negative comments, and even some outside criticism. And if Facebook is a vital part of your business model, you don’t want any of that.

The humor has got to fit in with the image of the brand, and it must fit in with the general tone of social media communication. A particularly serious and somber stream which is suddenly interrupted by some witty banter may be quite unnerving for some followers who are used to the more factual content of the social channel.

Fill Your Brain with the “Now”

Another all important factor when considering humor and social media is timing. Every comedian knows that timing is one of the most important factors in their act. Consider Jerry Seinfeld. He chooses topics that everyone in the crowd can relate to and think, “Yeah, I remember that.” He gets the laughs he’s looking for.

Social media humor does not so much involve the timing of the punch line but the timing of the overall humor. Joking about things that happened a decade or two ago isn’t nearly as funny or noticeable to a younger crowd than something that happened last week or a topic they’re more than familiar with.

So What’s the Final Word?

Humor, like beauty, is pretty much a matter of personal taste. Trying too hard to be funny can be disastrous. Social media messages spread like wildfire, which is why it can go two ways: really good or incredibly bad. So think carefully before you launch a humorous tirade onto your loyal followers.

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