Far too many businesses approach social media with the seriousness of impending neurosurgery. You certainly don’t want the surgeon cracking up the nurses with the latest joke they picked up from the previous night’s Leno, Letterman or Conan late night talk fests while they’re performing a stereotactic guided insertion of DBS electrodes in your brain. Similarly many companies believe that there is no room for levity in social media and that every tweet and post has to be so sober and businesslike that it will put the entire assembled multitudes to anesthetized slumber. In a recent blog on Bundle Post entitled Social Media Requires Some Comedy, Robert Caruso explains that brands who fail to embrace funny content are missing the opportunity to connect with their audiences and extend reach through the sharing which inevitably follows.
Your followers would much rather have a good giggle
Caruso suggests that any social media brand manager should ask themselves critical questions about whether they are funny, if they share content which is inherently comedic, and if that content achieves the desired goal of making followers laugh in a fully positive manner. If a social media presence is guided by the principles that fun should be imbued into each and every post and tweet, then the communication vector graduates from one that is strictly informational versus one that combines and intermingles information with solid and tangible entertainment value. There is no question that your followers would much rather have a good giggle than become sponges endlessly absorbing dry, academic facts. If you have any doubts as to this conclusion go check how many views and shares are listed next to a two-hour video of an academic lecture reviewing the fundamentals of Intercompany Profits in Depreciable Assets versus the popularity of a sleeping cat falling off a window sill or a baby subjecting their parents to a loud bout of flatulence.
Expletives are not comedic, only offensive
Caruso warns that it is important to keep the comedy appropriate to the audience and to refrain from offensive content. Admittedly it is very difficult to pull off successful comedy which is not even the slightest bit piquant as after all, the days of I Love Lucy when Ms. Ball’s pregnancy was only allowed to be referred to as her “being in a family way” are long behind us. However, that does not mean that brands are completely free from any form of restriction in what they incorporate as comedic content. The shock value of the Lenny Bruces and Richard Pryors are almost as far in prehistory as Lucille Ball’s ultra-wholesomeness, so if you think that peppering your posts with a collection of expletives which would challenge the swear-ability of an Australian sheep shearer or a drunk sailor after a weekend bender in Bangkok, you’re completely missing the point. Constantly piling on the expletives is not a sign of a comedic mind but of one bereft of truly funny ideas. There is no rule that states that you have to be dirty to be funny, and in social media the exact opposite is actually true.
Mature adults will be aghast at your violation of common decency
The same situation presents itself when it comes to comedic content which bombs due to the fact that the content itself is offensive. A quick word to the wise: If your prospective joke involves Nazis, mass murderers, criminal activities, narcotics, natural disasters, racism, sexism, or discrimination of any other type, it’s best not uttered anywhere in your work environment let alone on your social media presence. While some of these types of jokes can be seen to be hilarious by the average 12 year old follower, the more mature adults will mostly be aghast at your violation of the most basic standards of common decency and your brand value will plummet faster than a meteor over Chelyabinsk.
As a social media manager and/or comedian you need to walk that fine tightrope line between making your followers laugh and confronting a barrage of offended and outraged customers. Don’t retreat into dusty academic content to avoid the challenge…embrace and espouse comedy!