Your small business needs to have a strong social media presence. We know you know this. But we also know that within the time, budget and personnel constraints that are inherent to marketing for small businesses, it’s hard to know how you can possibly compete with the big guns and elevate your social media content above the noise.
The good news, though, is you don’t need to compete. You just need to box clever.
There are brands out there who absolutely boss it on social – brands of all shapes and sizes, brands with big budgets and brands with no budget, that everyone loves to follow and friend. And do you know what those brands have in common?
They entertain and engage their audience with wit and warmth – and it goes down a storm. So why do funny brands do so well on social media?
Having spent the last few years developing (and testing) theories about how marketing, comedy and psychology intersect – the honest answer is “OH MY GOD – SO MANY REASONS”.
It’s insane. In this short article, I’ll walk you through some of my favourites.
But first – it probably helps to start with a few fundamentals.
What do Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn Want From Us?
We can’t see all the posts from all the people and pages we follow – there aren’t enough hours in the day – so Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn now need to be selective.
If they show us posts we have no interest in, we’re much more likely to put down our phones and step away. But they need us to stay so they can sell more Ads.
So they try – instead – to fill our feed with solid gold posts that we’ll love. And they’ve only really got one measure of our interest to work with: our engagement.
Every single Engagement is a signal that others like us might also like this too
Every click, every share – they’re not just signals that we enjoyed a piece of content, but that others like us might like it to.
The platforms test that theory by showing it to more people – and if they engage, they’ll show it to more still. And more, and more, and more.
Even better – Organic Reach can be passed on from post to post. So if your content today goes down a storm, your content tomorrow will have a much bigger initial audience.
The opposite is also true. Painfully true. If your content isn’t entertaining and engaging – then chances are you’re investing your time, effort, and money into content that no one’s ever going to see.
As the algorithm’s negative bias towards you and your content is inherited, and magnified, from failed post to failed post.
Brands that manage to consistently entertain and engage their audience – creating content that we actually enjoy – get rewarded.
More engagement means more organic reach. Brands that do exceptionally well can find their best posts with Organic Reach well above 100% – as the algorithms begin showing their content to people who weren’t even following the brand’s page to begin with – because the data tells them those people will probably love it too.
That’s no mean feat – but want to know what makes it a damn sight easier? Comedy.
Comedy Directly Drives Engagement and Reach
Comedy content gets your audience talking – and that means Comments. Discussion of the topic, people sharing their own stories, sharing their own jokes, and even people just commenting to tell you how much they loved that post – whatever their reason for responding – every comment counts.
Plus – jokes only work when they’re based around a hidden truth – and thanks to the nature of branded comedy, that truth is always going to be one your audience wholeheartedly agrees with – which leads to Likes and Shares. Your audience telling the world that you’re funny, and you’re right. Comedy Content directly drives engagement, which in turn increases Organic Reach, and that can mean exponentially increased ROI.
And that’s before we even begin to dig into the psychology of why comedy content is so effective in and of itself as a marketing material.
The Psychology of Comedy – and why it works so well for brands
Ok – so we know that comedy drives engagement on social – but that’s all pretty functional. You give them what they want, they react, that gives the platforms what they want, you get rewarded.
The benefits of using comedy content on social media actually go way deeper than that – and that’s what we’re going to explore now.
Comedy Gets Your Audience Talking
So many brands forget the social in social media. Comedy doesn’t just entertain and engage – when done right, it drives conversation too.
But why is that?
Well – to understand that, first we need to understand what a joke really is.
A joke is two “things” – two different ideas or notions – that shouldn’t fit together, but they’re made to fit together, with the help of a perfectly placed twist or a surprise.
That’s literally it. Pick apart any joke that makes you laugh – and that’s what you’ll find.
We travel from Thing A, to Thing B – via a surprise or a twist that makes them fit neatly together. And the reason we’re able to make them fit together? That surprise twist is based around a hidden truth.
If the joke you’ve crafted is a good fit for the audience you’re trying to reach, then not only will they laugh — they’ll respond, because the truth you’ve shone a light on is one that matters dearly to them.
A Good Sense of Humour Proves You’re “One Of Us”
You already know that 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. And that’s important now, more than ever.
Well let’s think back to those hidden truths. It would be literally impossible to write jokes that resonated with an audience unless you understood them, what drives them, what makes them tick.
Here above are two “If Brands Told Jokes” pieces – these ones, written for Starbucks, in the week that non-essential shops were allowed to reopen, and the high streets started to get busy again. These aren’t just jokes – they’re proof that you understand our world, and what we’re going through right now. It’s content like this that makes us welcome you into our lives, and – more importantly – our social feeds.
Comedy Sells Without Selling, By Keeping You Front Of Mind. People don’t want to buy from faceless brands waving coupons, vouchers and deals. They want to buy from brands with personality. Brands they feel an affinity to. A connection with.
Comedy content that’s tailored to your audience builds that connection, and keeps your brand front of mind – so that when the time comes for them to enter the consideration phase, they’ve been thinking about you so much that they’ve already sold themselves on you and your offer.
The two posts here are for Bright Interactive – the SAAS company behind Digital Asset Management platform Asset Bank.
If you’re scrolling through your feed, and you see a post that’s nakedly trying to persuade you to sign up for Asset Bank your guard will go up, you’ll know your being sold to, and that’s not what you came here for – so you know there’s no need to even read, let alone engage.
But the majority of their ideal customers are immersed in file formats and classification systems all day long – so when they see jokes that play on that, on their world, a world that’s so rarely represented with any wit, warmth or even humanity – they’re drawn in.
Some will just passively absorb, others will actively engage – but in both cases, when they find themselves in need of a piece of software like Asset Bank – it’s going to be the first name that comes to mind. They already know you, they like you – and they’ll have started to trust you too.
Comedy Turns Your Followers Into Influencers (and these ones work for free!)
You’ll already be well aware that the things others say about us have much more impact than the things we say about ourselves – and lots of brands think that the only way to get those “others” talking is to pay influencers to kickstart the process. Comedy content offers another way.
When we – as a brand – first share the joke, we’re telling a story about ourselves. But when our audience is motivated to share that story – because they found it funny – it becomes a story that they’re telling the world about us.
That story is that we’re fun, funny and entertaining – and that everyone should let us into their newsfeeds, and their lives.
So just by creating great content that your audience wants to share – content that happens to include a relatable hidden truth, alongside your brand’s identity and your brand message – you’re turning your audience into influencers. And these influencers won’t be sending you an invoice at the end of the month.