Brand Humor: Highs, Lows of Sass and Sizzle

What makes you follow a brand on social media? Maybe it posts really aesthetically-pleasing photos. Maybe it features giveaways and contests. Maybe it engages you in a unique way — with a sense of humor.

While using social media for marketing purposes is highly beneficial to a company, it is also crucial to add a sense of personality to the brand. This makes the account look relatable and relaxed, which translates well on certain social channels. Brands like CharminWendy’s and Moonpie are just a few that have nailed the entertainment side of the social media realm.

When done right, adding a touch of humor can boost the amount of likes, shares and overall engagement.

Take notes from Charmin, the brand took advantage of the type of product it sells and spun it in a humorous direction when it came to creating content. In 2015, the toilet paper company started the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat. This created a funny way to engage with its followers and receive organic posts in return as people used the hashtag on their own personal accounts.

Moonpie adds a sense of humor with the perfect dash of snarky, witty comebacks that have dominated Twitter debates and overflowed the posts with likes and shares.

That simple tweet went viral and received over 200,000 likes within a few days. While Moonpie may not be as popular of a snack as in the past, its Twitter account has 258K followers and 10.9k likes thanks to the quality of the content. While not all of its posts are obvious marketing tactics, some posts include advertising elements with a sense of quirky humor that makes the content more shareable.

Another great account that has achieved success utilizing humor in its posts is Wendy’s. Wendy’s takes these kinds of posts to a new level. The restaurant really brings “the beef” and will burn other restaurants in its tweets and even its own followers. It’s a unique way to interact with audiences and even though insulting your followers doesn’t seem logical, it works surprisingly well for this brand.

Posts like this receive significant attention, including thousands of likes, shares and comments. There was a phase when Twitter users would actually ask Wendy’s to roast them with tweets like that one. It doesn’t seem like it should work but it does. This creates interaction between the user and the brand, while also generating interest and buzz in the company simultaneously.

Does this mean that incorporating humor into a post is always the best option? Definitely not. Witty comments can make a brand stand out in a crowd but not always in a good way.

Since it is best to learn from prior mistakes, learn from the major error IHOP made in a Twitter post. IHOP experienced success tweeting humorous and relatable content with sayings like “Pancakes on fleek” or “Pancakes, you look good, won’t you back that stack up.” These captions were made relevant to Twitter users by making references to pop culture and people loved it. However, IHOP eventually went too far with two tweets that stated “The butter face we all know and love” and “Flat but has a GREAT personality”. These posts instantly received backlash for being sexist and misogynistic.

IHOP  deleted the posts and issued an apology via Twitter.

When done right, a brand can really benefit from humor to create a unique online personality. This helps an organization to stand out and connect with the audience. However, when companies fail to recognize insensitive material, it can harm its reputation.

It is a fine line to tread and a dangerous one. Plus, just because a post is deleted doesn’t mean it’s forgotten.

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