Humor in Social Media.. No Laughing Matter!

Humor in Social Media No Laughing Matter!

Humor in Social Media No Laughing Matter!

Humor is no laughing matter…at least not when it comes to social media marketing. In fact, it’s downright serious business because the ability to transform a lackluster video script into something entertaining can make the difference between thousands of viewers…and millions. As a social media consulting agency, we make it our business to improve your business, so today’s article might sound a bit shocking because it goes against common wisdom. You see, a lot of people think humor is either something you have or don’t have. Humor can be cultivated and even created out of thin air though. Take Disney and Pixar; both have built a media empire on being funny. Today we are going to spill the proverbial beans by letting readers in on a closely held secret of online and traditional media success…the funny formula!

Secret #1 – Surprises Are Funny.

People inherently enjoy being surprised. It’s a basic response to things we think we know…but don’t. However, just any old surprise won’t do. The best type of surprise is one that is positive, safe and ultimately charming.  Think of the type of surprise you enjoy most; maybe an unexpected gift or perhaps the thrill of a roller coaster…both are very different but both are also entertaining simply because people don’t know what to expect next. They are safe, unexpected and fun!

Secret #2 – Always Tell The Truth.

It might seem inherently odd that humor is based solely on fact but it is. Contrary to popular opinion, humor is most funny when it is realistic and believable. It must make an emotional connection with the viewer. Take a few minutes to think of funny events, video or other situations…in nearly every instance, those things that were the most funny were also the most easily identified with. Even fantasy media moguls like Disney understood the need to base humor on reality.

Secret #3 – K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple Stupid.

Whether your taste in humor is Bart Simpson or more along the lines of Woody Allen, both use a simple story line to tell their story. Humor shouldn’t be hard work. Make it simple to follow, clear and concise for maximum impact. Humo

r also shouldn’t be complex or confusing but rather a simple and straightforward.

Secret #4 – Timely.

No, you don’t need to scan the nightly news (although more than a few late night talk show hosts have made an entire career by doing so) but humor should be timely to be enjoyable. Think of David Letterman’s Top 10 monologue or Jon Stewart’s insightful commentary on current events; both are successful in large part due to the ability to tag alongside important events of the day in a way which both informs and inspires just a tad of irony.

Secret #5 -Get To The Punch Line.

It’s okay to build up to a point but don’t drag it along. Humor can quickly turn to irritation if not timed right. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and get to the point rather than delay. Instant gratification is often funny but procrastination…rarely.

Secret #6 – Paint A Picture In The Mind Of Your Audience.

This is one reason YouTube, pictures and other images do so well with social media marketing…unlike plain text, it’s much easier to paint a picture in the mind of your audience. Words take much longer. It’s still possible but the nature of social media is instant; tap into this potential by using colorful images, great video and other tools to tell the story.

Secret #7 – Tell Them When To Laugh!

This sounds silly but have you ever noticed television shows with pre-recorded laughter? There is a reason! It informs the audience when it’s ‘okay’ to laugh. Basically it works as a cue that the joke or event is completed, that it’s okay to laugh (especially if using sensitive or controversial topics) and generally accepted as a humorous moment.

Secret #8 – Always Remain Age Appropriate.

This should go without saying but always be sure to check your audience in advance. As a social media consulting agency, it goes without saying that sometimes kids or others who may be offended by a off-kilter joke could be sitting on the sideline. Gender, race, age and other factors should always be considered well in advance. When in doubt…toss it out! Never risk your hard earned online reputation simply for a short-term joke.

Secret #9 – Enjoy Your Own Jokes!

Just like a yawn, smiles are contagious. If you don’t find something funny then it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to portray it as funny to others. On the other hand, have you ever had the experience of watching someone try to communicate something that really wasn’t all that funny while they literally have tears streaming down their face from laughing so hard? It’s hard not to start laughing along with them. The test of true humor is how it makes you feel.

Secret #10 – Dare To Do It.

A great deal of humor is simply left to sit on the sideline because someone isn’t brave enough to communicate it to others. That’s a shame because humor works wonders when combined with social media marketing. From talking porcupines like Teddyto Superbowl commercials, people love to share things that are funny. Sometimes you have to take a bit of a risk to see if it resonates with others. If it does, you might have the next big viral hit. If not, well you still had fun and put a smile on someone’s face.




About Jarrett Smith

Jarrett Smith is President of Maximize Social Media, LLC, one of the nation's leading providers of social media and digital marketing services to mid-size brands. Prior to running Maximize, Jarrett managed large scale corporate communications, change management, and professional development initiatives for Publix Super Markets, Inc, one of the nation's largest and most respected retail chains. You can connect with Jarrett on Twitter @TheJarrettSmith
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