Laughter is good for your health because it’s known to lower blood pressure and stimulate the release of endorphins, a powerful set of hormones that can actually get in the way of pain and may even lead to euphoria.
Laughter is good for business, too, because if people are smiling, they’re usually less guarded and more agreeable.
Of course, marketers who know this go to great lengths to develop campaigns that are infused with a strong dose of humor. In seasoning their ads with reasons to snicker and snort, they’re putting customers and prospects in the mood to buy without employing anything even close to a hard sell.
You might say they’re laughing all the way to the bank.
That’s why so many brands are going out of their way to let their hair down on social media, taking great pains to reveal their lighter sides. If the cool kids have a sense of humor, then so do they. No brand wants to be perceived as uptight, old-fashioned and out of touch.
It’s too bad more brands didn’t take themselves so seriously on social media, especially B2B brands, which even in this day and age remain reluctant to as much as crack a smile.
Yup, as long as they’re in good taste, funny posts win on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and perhaps every other social network but LinkedIn, which is probably a little too buttoned up for laughs. Here are 12 good examples…
1. Ben and Jerry’s
Besides mouth-watering shots of its frozen treats, this legendary premium ice cream brand’s sense of humor is one of the key ingredients of its engagement strategy on Instagram, as indicated in the puns used to call attention to Chunky Monkey, just one of its many popular flavors.
A nice example of thinking outside the box, Hanes flaunts its creativity with this shot of a T-shirt that looks like it was gored by bull horns. It’s edgy for a relatively conventional brand, but well within the bounds of good taste.
You ran with bulls and all you got was this T and a crazy maybe- not-one-of-your-smartest-moments to tell. pic.twitter.com/NHAAdWgnMv
— Hanes (@Hanes) March 10, 2015
This well-known manufacturer of vacuum cleaners and floor care products has been around for forever (well, since 1876), but this user-generated-content (UGC) campaign has 2015 written all over it. Good for them. And good for animal welfare, too. They’re donating $1 to the BISSELL Pet Foundation (up to $50,000) for every post.
This Vine includes six seconds of hilarity as well as words to the wise from Lowes, the giant home improvement store chain. First and foremost, it’s entertaining, but it’s also very educational.
5. Dunkin’ Donuts
Dunkin’s Donuts wasn’t alone in newsjacking this viral, washed-out photo in late February. Apparently more than 10 million tweets mentioned #TheDress. This post is a great example, though, of the fun this iconic brand has on a regular basis not just on Instagram, but all over social media.
A photo posted by dunkindonuts (@dunkindonuts) on
6. Citrix Go ToMeeting
Leveraging the kind of catchy, provocative hashtag you might see as a trending topic on Twitter, this clever tweet shows an otherwise serious brand going out of its way to make you laugh out loud.
— Citrix GoToMeeting (@GoToMeeting) February 18, 2015
7. Coors Light
Beer brands are notorious for incorporating humor into their marketing, advertising and social media activities, and this post, a newsjacking nod to #EmployeeAppreciationDay, is no exception.
When it comes to bathroom humor, Charmin may have cornered the market. Seriously, this toilet paper brand knows how to work the crowd on Twitter with a continuous series of puns, double entendres and zany one-liners – tagged #tweetfromtheseat – such as this one about the Apple Watch.
— Charmin (@Charmin) March 9, 2015
9. Microsoft Dynamics CRM
As both a way to capture your attention and underscore the importance of its “real-world” sales solutions, Microsoft Dynamics shares this short, comical parody video of a sales superstar in action.
— MicrosoftDynamicsCRM (@MSDynamicsCRM) October 24, 2014
10. Ellen DeGeneres
With over 40 million followers, Ellen ranks 10th on the list of Twitter’s most popular accounts, outranking the second TV host/comedian on the list, Jimmy Fallon, by over 18 million followers. So if you want to learn how to tell a joke in 140 characters or less, learn from the best. Follow @TheEllenShow. http://twittercounter.com/pages/100
Happy National Grammar Day! I hope you have someone wonderful to whom with which to celebrate with.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 4, 2015
11. CBS News
So much bad news is reported by not just the local, but the national TV networks, it’s not only refreshing, it’s riveting to see when one of them files a funny story such as this one about a “koala car-jacking.”
12. Old Spice
This classic brand of grooming products for men is yet another funny account to follow on Twitter. Many of their tweets are bold, irreverent and more than just a little bit amusing, like this well-crafted, well-timed tweet on Presidents Day.
If history has taught us anything, it’s the importance of smelling great and standing in a rowboat, looking cool. pic.twitter.com/Qoz9oGFfUg
— Old Spice (@OldSpice) February 16, 2015
Note: This post, “12 Social Media Posts That Are Funnier Than Yours,” was originally published on ClickZ on March 24, 2015 here and on the Overdrive Interactive blog on April 7, 2015 here.
I live and breathe social media. I blog about the subject. I give presentations about it. I help clients with it. And occasionally I write about it in 140 characters or less on Twitter. For example:
For some strange reason, however, more marketers and brands than not are still struggling to make heads or tails of social media. Whether they’re surprisingly misinformed or just plain lost, they’re wasting their time and missing the boat. They’re failing to take advantage of what may just be the biggest revolution in communications since the printing press.
To say that’s unfortunate would be an understatement.
After all, done right, social media marketing can be a big game changer. It can be an incredibly effective way to attract the attention of your target audience, engage with them and curry their favor. Far too many go into it without doing their homework, though, their false assumptions and inexperience undermining any chance they have for a successful social media program.
Are you making these same mistakes? Are you doing it all wrong despite your very best intentions? You most certainly are if anything that follows sounds even remotely familiar.
1. You don’t have a plan.
The last thing you want to do is overlook the first thing you should do. Take pause before launch to map out the route you’re going to take on social media. Identify your target audience. Research the competition. Determine your objectives. Choose your tools. Develop your content. Then act accordingly. Eat. Sleep. Tweet. Repeat.
2. You’re working alone.
While no one is saying you can’t be a hit as a solo act on social media, your chances of success are much greater if you belong to a team. There are only so many hats one person can wear well. Strategic direction. Writing. Design. Marketing. Branding. PR. Web development. Analytics. You name it. You’ll make a much bigger impact if you divide and conquer.
3. You’re not a writer.
Of course, you’re not writing the great American novel. Far from it. But the importance of quality content can’t be emphasized enough. Even in 140 characters or less, punctuation, grammar and word play reign supreme. Think like a good journalist or copywriter. Better yet, hire one.
4. You’re spread too thin.
While it’s good to be in more places than one on social media, don’t get carried away with the notion. It’s better to be active on one or two channels than to be conspicuous in your inconsistency on a handful. Don’t try to be all things to all people. Fish where the fish are. Strike a happy medium between quality and quantity.
5. You’re a one-trick pony.
Of course, what might be even worse than being all over the place is being painfully predictable. Putting out the same kind of content in the same place day after day is of little interest to those on the receiving end. It’s boring. It’s monotonous. It’s an easy way to lose an audience.
6. You’re not posting in real time.
One of the biggest distinguishing characteristics of social media is its real-time nature, the fact that it makes it possible for users to connect with one another instantaneously. Canned content written and scheduled in advance will only get you so far. You’ll have greater influence on your constituency if you share extemporaneous news and commentary on at least an occasional basis.
7. You’re not being yourself.
Don’t try to fake it till you make it. Keep it real from the get-go. Transparency and authenticity are not an option on social media. Offer your opinions, not just the facts. Win friends and influence people with refreshing candor. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Put a face on your brand every step of the way.
8. You’re not listening.
Don’t be the account that only talks about itself. Don’t be a self-centered know-it-all. Pay attention to what others are saying not just about you and your brand, but about their own products and services, too. Mine the media for knowledge and expertise as much as mentions, questions, criticism and praise. Thank people for sharing your content and don’t forget to return the favor.
9. You’re erratic.
Whatever you’re doing on social media, do it on a regular basis. Disappear for even just a few days and you’ll be testing the loyalty of those who follow you. Your content stream should serve as a virtual extension of you and your brand, leaving an indelibly consistent, not scattershot, impression on your audience.
10. You’re careless.
Written communications is far more informal than it was back in the day. But that doesn’t excuse you from making typos or blatant grammatical mistakes. Some colloquialism and slang is called for on social media. But so is some measure of decorum and professionalism.
11. You’re no fun.
A good sense of humor goes a long way on social media. Accounts that are spirited, playful, irreverent, even mischievous (in a good-natured way) tend to be popular. Don’t hesitate to share a few laughs with your followers and fans. Social media works best for brands that take their products and services, not themselves, seriously.
12. You’re as bland as milk toast.
It’s much better to be safe than sorry on social media, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out on a limb once in a while and express your creativity. Be colorful, not controversial. Bold, not brash. Avoid arguments at all costs and always take the high road. But show you have more than just a pulse, show you have a personality.
13. You’re not sharing any pictures.
It’s no secret that visual content on social media commands attention. It really doesn’t matter what kind, either. Stock images. Candid shots. Video. Instagram. Vine. Complement your words with pictures in any way, shape or form and stand out amid the clutter.
14. You’re not paying to play.
You may have the most compelling content imaginable, but you still may not be seen by enough people on social media. Organic reach is down. Attention spans are short. The best laid plans can easily go astray without putting at least a small budget behind your efforts.
15. You’re ignoring the numbers.
Branding is important, but like any other form of marketing, social media marketing is all about the results. Establish your goals and develop a methodology for measuring your performance. As Stephen Covey wrote in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “begin with the end in mind.”
It was the word of the year in 2013, and last year it reached the tipping point. Yup. The selfie is more than just a thing now, it’s kind of a big deal.
No, really, the selfie is more than just a fad, a superficial exercise in narcissism. The selfie has gone from a silly little trend to a mainstream phenomenon, something almost everyone has embraced, from astronauts to athletes, Ellen DeGeneres to Tom Hanks, the president of the United States to the Pope.
Sure, the selfie is still mocked and subjected to ridicule by laggards and luddites, critics and curmudgeons. But most people get it. Most people see the selfie for what it is, a fun way to capture the moment up close and personal, and share it with the world.
If a picture is worth a thousand words on social media, the selfie may be priceless.
And smart brands know it. Look at Purina, Old Navy, Samsung and World Wildlife Fund, just to name four. Then there’s the advertising campaign that Shiseido, a Japanese cosmetics company, recently did with Lady Gaga, featuring 50 different selfies of the global pop star. Very cool.
How can you take advantage of this revolutionary, new way of taking pictures? How can your brand jump on the selfie bandwagon and capitalize on this craze?
Simply encourage members of your audience to take selfies that are associated with your brand in some way, shape or form. Their job is to tag you, include a hashtag ascribed to this marketing initiative (contest or not), and share their selfies on such social media channels as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Your job is to thank them for their efforts and display their contributions on your website or some sort of social media wall.
It’s a win-win proposition. They get recognition from a brand they love. You get engagement with your most passionate fans.
Here are 20 different types of selfies to ask your audience to share on social media…
1. Group selfies. Forget the solo shots. Squeeze as many people into the frame as possible.
— IBM Innovate (@ibminnovate) May 28, 2014
2. Funny selfies. Challenge contributors to show off their sense of humor.
3. Cause-related selfies. Even if you’re not a nonprofit, you can do well by doing good.
— Radisson Blu Leeds (@RadBluLeeds) October 3, 2014
4. Scavenger hunt selfies. Participants don’t just have to find the prize, they have to snap it.
— The Wine Train (@winetrain) September 30, 2014
5. Celebration selfies. Rally caps. High fives. Victory dances. Perfect for spectators and players alike.
— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) January 17, 2015
6. Tourist selfies. Where in the world are your followers and fans?
7. Photo booth selfies. Treat your guests to a unique self-portrait experience.
— Brett Schmechel (@bschmech) October 30, 2014
8. Product selfies. It’s like show-and-tell – without the tell.
— Museum of Fine Arts (@mfaboston) January 21, 2015
9. Pet selfies. No words.
10. Fitness selfies. Gym goers aren’t shy.
— Planet Fitness (@PlanetFitness) November 6, 2014
11. Mirror selfies. Pause to reflect and say cheese.
Catching a movie at Cineplex Queensway? Take a selfie in our special mirror between today and Sunday for a chance to win a #BetterBedroom!
— IKEA Canada (@IKEACanada) September 23, 2014
12. Store selfies. Never mind coupons. Accept selfies instead.
13. Game selfies. Ask fans to show you where they’re sitting.
— Mean Green Athletics (@MeanGreenSports) November 22, 2014
14. Celebrity selfies. Like an autograph, only better.
15. Sunrise and sunset selfies. Color your selfie beautiful.
Watching the sunrise over Crater Lake. Photo by Morgan Oliver-Allen. pic.twitter.com/6A8t7cX2oM
— GoPro® (@GoPro) February 12, 2014
16. Weather selfies. Like storm chasing, only easier.
17. Photobomb selfies. Surprise!
18. Family selfies. What’s more awkward than an awkward family selfie?
— Heather Schisler (@passion4savings) October 7, 2014
19. Team selfies. That’s the spirit.
20. Selfie Stick selfies. Picture perfect.
— AngelMe (@AngelMeApp) January 22, 2015
As ubiquitous as social media in this day and age, more people are turning an apathetic ear to what brands have to say rather than hanging on their every word on these channels.
That shouldn’t come as a shock to you, though.
After all, like direct mail, email, print and broadcast, social media channels are far from immune to audience fatigue. Regardless of the medium, customers and prospects grow tired of a barrage of the same old marketing messages. They become skeptical, jaded and impatient over time. They turn off and tune out.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to reinvent the wheel and take your social media program to the next level. Contests. Paid advertising. Bigger staffs. Better strategies. Those are just a few quick ideas.
But what about taking your online activities offline? What about connecting the dots between the inanimate computing device and real life? What about engaging people wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, in the physical, not the virtual, world.
Here are five ways to bridge the social media communication gap between online and off, tactics that promise to go a long way toward establishing a mutually beneficial dialogue between you and your constituency.
1. Hold a Scavenger Hunt.
If you have something to give away, make a game out of it and use social media to point people in the right direction – on land, not the Web. That’s what @BostonTweet does on Twitter. Every once in a while, he tells his 100,000+ followers he has tickets to some such event, and takes a pic – including identifiable clues – of where he’s hidden the free prize. First come, first served. A scavenger hunt is a great way to not only engage and reward the most loyal members of your audience, it may attract new connections as well.
Example: Boston Tweet
— BostonTweet (@BostonTweet) December 14, 2014
2. Have your Own Orange Room.
Do you watch NBC’s TODAY show in the morning? Then you’ve probably seen the Orange Room, where the likes of Carson Daly, Tamron Hall and Dylan Dreyer take a few minutes to address the latest trending stories on social media. Not only do they give members of their traditional TV audience this unique online perspective, but they also give occasional shout-outs to followers, fans and, of course, celebrities who have weighed in on social media on a particular hot topic.
Example: TODAY Show
3. Set Up a Selfie Station.
2013’s word of the year was all the rage in 2014. And that’s putting it mildly. From Ellen’s (@TheEllenShow) epic group selfie at the Oscars to the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz’s with none other than President Obama, almost everybody was getting into the act. So don’t worry about hiring a professional photographer. Set up a selfie station at your next special event. You’ll give your guests the opportunity to make fun memories for themselves. They’ll give you props on social media in return.
Example: Screen Actors Guild
4. Build a Social Media Wall.
There are many reasons to display a steady stream of content on a big screen. If we’re talking about a conference, concert or sporting event, it’s a convenient way for those in attendance to stay informed and entertained. It’s also a nice way to give contributors a few seconds of fame. A wall of tweets, posts and pics calls attention to the so-called “backchannel,” the online chatter among spectators during the event itself. It’s a unique feedback loop, a very cool meta experience for members of the audience. More people than not will be inspired to socialize the moment if they know their words and pictures are going to be up in lights.
— Postano (@postano) November 19, 2014
5. Use a Vending Machine.
If you want to be a huge hit, do what the Boston Red Sox did recently and trot out a vending machine to engage your fans. To help promote ticket sales for the 2015 season, they installed one at both The Shops in Prudential Center and Faneuil Hall Marketplace, enabled by Twitter and Instagram, respectively. People waited in line to find out what they won from the team thanks to their posts tagged #TheGiftOfSox. Bobble head dolls, autographed souvenirs and tickets were just a few of the prizes given away.
Example: Boston Red Sox
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) December 11, 2014
Note: This post, “5 Ways to Use Social Media to Make a Huge Impact in Real Life,” was originally published on ClickZ on January 6, 2015 here and on the Overdrive Interactive blog on January 13, 2015 here.