Internet Week 2011: So You Think You’re A Comedian? 5 Tips to Effectively Use Humor in Social Media

With Internet Week in full swing, a couple colleagues and I braved the Manhattan heat to venture down to Internet Week’s headquarters to learn from a few comedians about how to effectively use comedy on social media platforms. The star-studded panel for this event included Witstream CCO Michael Ian Black, Judah Friedlander of 30 Rock fame, comedian Sara Benincasa and Alf LaMont, VP of Marketing and Development at the Comedy Store.

While much of the discussion focused on how the comedians use Twitter and Facebook to market themselves, their advice can be directly applied to businesses looking to build their brand on these social media platforms. Here are 5 tips that came out of the panel, to help make that social media feed more fun:

  • Find what makes you stand out. A brand often jumps out to consumers because it offers something unique. If you provide your audience with something quirky or different, they are more likely to be interested in what you have to say. Taco Bell is a great example of this. This company often uses comedy through their Twitter handle to engage with customers, helping them to stand out from their competitors.
  • Find your niche and market it. Too often a brand isn’t able to identify what makes them successful or tries to become something it is not. Avoid this by embracing those who embrace you. In business terms, cater to those who want to utilize your product or service even if they aren’t in your original target.
  • People follow you on Twitter to interact, so interact with them! This social media platform allows consumers to see a more “human” side to your business, and simple interactions with your followers can go a long way. Sara Benincasa described how she became a life-long customer of Delta Airlines because of the company’s witty reply to a tweet she posted praising them. It’s amazing what one tweet can do!
  • Internet does not always equate to real life. While the panel illustrated this point by discussing the difference between performing standup comedy and filming funny YouTube videos, it’s important for companies to understand this idea in their interactions with customers. Brands should maintain a similar demeanor online and in the real world, but understand that e-consumers have different traits than traditional customers who still shop at brick and mortar stores.
  • Attract people with a humanistic side before hitting them with the business. People want to be entertained on the Internet, so if a company is constantly shoving coupons at people instead of taking a second to truly have an interaction, potential customers can be lost. Get people interested in what your company has to say by tweeting thought-provoking ideas or interesting bits of information. Doing this will make your followers more open to promotions and company updates.

Companies shouldn’t be afraid to try new things with social media, but at the end of the day they need to do what feels comfortable to them. The great—and potentially hazardous—aspect of social media is the instantaneous feedback that it can provide. As long as companies stick to their core messaging, they shouldn’t be scared to implement these tips to engage with their customers.

What are some of your tips for companies looking to integrate humor into their social media strategy?

2 Comments Internet Week 2011: So You Think You’re A Comedian? 5 Tips to Effectively Use Humor in Social Media

  1. James Deboard

    Thanks for a great article Thomas. Too often we forget that customers are human and desire to feel comfortable about the people they are about to do business with.

  2. Thomas McHardy

    That’s a great point, James. It’s a wonder how investing a little time and brainpower can go such a long way in creating mutually beneficial relationships with customers.

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