One of the latest social media tips for small business is to be funny! Embracing social media humor is a brilliant way to stay out from the crowds of brands and businesses already posting away on social media. Using humor will certainly help your small business’ accountants gain more followers, and it’s a great idea for brands who embrace the lighter side of life anyway. As an added incentive, funny, relatable, or “zinger” tweets get higher engagement rates than standard info-based tweets. Employing social media humor can work for B2Bs and B2Cs! Here are four big brands and dozens of examples of successfully using humor on social media.
Charmin really owns its not-so-glamorous role as a toilet paper manufacturer. With its “Enjoy the Go” tagline, those cute bear mascots wiggling their Charmin-clean tushes, and “cub-friendly” potty humor, Charmin takes a universal-but-usually-taboo subject and brings it tactfully—and humorously—out in the open.
You have the right to remain silent but deadly.
— Charmin (@Charmin) May 29, 2015
Charmin cleverly taps into current events by giving celebs, sports stars, and beloved characters makeovers as Charmin bears (sadly, this one seems to have been deleted). Its content also frequently mashes up bathroom humor with holiday humor. A recent campaign played on wedding season with a contest, co-sponsored by Cheap Chic Weddings, to create a wedding dress out of Charmin. In 2014 Charmin was a finalist for social media Shorty Awards in two categories: Best Brand on Twitter and Best Use of a Hashtag on Twitter (for #tweetfromtheseat).
A little bit silly, a little bit sassy, and very savvy about making the most of current events (most notably in this tweet in response to the 2013 Super Bowl power outage—snap!), Oreo is killin’ it on social media. Its content focuses on the feel-good qualities of cookies—whether indulging a craving or childhood nostalgia—with a funny spin. Oreo’s Twitter tagline is “Your favorite cookie, filling your world with Wonder 140 characters at a time,” which pretty much says it all.
Their lighthearted, PG-rated approach is epitomized by “Play with Oreo,” a recent campaign featuring playful Oreo-related videos (such as a game of Oreo Tic-Tac-Toe) and images (like Oreo filling artwork). Many of these were created by Oreo, but consumers around the world also got in on the fun, submitting user-generated content on the website and via Instagram and Twitter. Oreo’s ability to allude to pop culture in a clever way doesn’t hurt, either. From The Spilling, a Vine parody of The Shining for Halloween 2013, to this summer’s “So Fresh, So Creme” Mint flavor ad in homage to OutKast, Oreo has a vast range of pop-culture references, and it’s not afraid to use them to win over consumers.
Old Spice’s humor is all about way over-the-top expressions of masculinity (its Twitter tagline? “MUSCLES. SMELLS. LASERS. COUPONS. GIFS.”) and ridiculous situations (here’s one in honor of this year’s Shark Week), both played straight. A few years ago, a campaign for the Wild line of body fragrances featured Wolfdog—as the name implies, a wolf/dog hybrid with a talk box—becoming Old Spice’s Director of Marketing. Old Spice went so far as to create a LinkedIn profile and Twitter account for Director Wolfdog, maintaining all along that he was the most qualified candidate for the position. In the last few months, Old Spice has been running “Muscles Surprise,” an integrated ad campaign encompassing TV ads, a dedicated website, YouTube videos, and posts on its various social media channels.
— Old Spice (@OldSpice) June 30, 2015
Recent tweets have smartly repurposed elements of this campaign, offering a link to the catchy/cheesy “Old Spice Workout Anthem” heard in the commercial and short clips of the video. In keeping with its hyper-macho persona, Old Spice also engages in playful trash-talking sessions with other brands—even those who aren’t competitors—like Oreo, Charmin, and Taco Bell.
Eat24’s goal: “To keep you from ever having to cook, shop, or wear pants.” What’s not to like? And its social media presence just extends that relatable, laid-back, and yes, hilarious mission statement. Famously, Eat24 broke up with Facebook last year, but its Twitter and Instagram feeds are full of food-centric, slightly off-the-wall, and frequently slightly naughty humor. Between LOL-worthy tweets…
Eat24 Diary Page 6: Dear Diary, we found more tater tots inside the couch. We’re not sure where they’re coming from, but we’re okay with it — Eat24 (@Eat24) July 21, 2015
If Timmy has 3 cupcakes and Johnny takes one cupcake away how many black eyes will Johnny have?
— Eat24 (@Eat24) July 19, 2015
…original images, and regrams, Eat24 also shares “food porn” of some of the tantalizing items customers have ordered using the app, plus coupon codes. The result is a mix of funny content celebrating food (and, let’s be honest, celebrating universal human laziness), mouthwatering images, and instant-gratification discounts for the service. It’s hard to scroll through Eat24’s social media accounts without finding yourself craving some delicious takeout—clearly Eat24’s marketing team knows what it’s doing.
Adding humor to your social media presence takes some serious thought—and, ideally, plenty of audience research—says Rob Toledo of Moz. And it’s not for every brand or situation. (Check out Rob’s post for some tips on when and how humor works best.)
But as the companies above show, when done well, humor can humanize your brand and engage customers—a win-win for you and your audience.
Want more social media tips for small business? Here are 18 great ideas for interesting content to post to social media.