Tapping the Funny Bone: How to use Humor to Grow Your Brand
People use jokes and other humorous devices to break awkward silences for a reason: people love to laugh. More than that, if you can make people legitimately laugh (with you, not at you…that part is very important), they tend to like you much more than they would if you were quiet, shy, or reserved.
Therefore, it makes sense that humor can often lead to growth and brand building in small business marketing—especially when it comes to copy writing and social media.
If you’re a small business owner that can’t seem to take your copy writing to the next level or feel like your advertising and marketing strategies are growing stagnant, injecting some humor into your process may be the ticket to boosting your brand.
Using humor works on multiple levels, and it goes way beyond making your audience laugh.
It shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Even the most successful businesses in the world have at least some degree of humor tied into their marketing—it might be as miniscule as a funny little ad placed in an obscure publication, but it’s there. This is because no one wants to come off as distant, stuffy, cantankerous or any other negative words that are just a fancy way of saying “boring.”
Don’t ever take yourself too seriously. In terms of communicating with your audience, you certainly want to appear as an expert in your industry, but you also want to come off as being casual and approachable. In all of your copy, be engaging, but not so rigid that you sound like a robot or someone that handpicked a few words from a thesaurus before writing your copy.
Humor allows you to connect with you audience in a way that taps them at a personal and friendly level. In nearly every instance, a little humor is not going to hurt, no matter who your target audience might be composed of.
It Shows a Unique Side of Your Personality.
This ties into the above example. Every bit of copy and advertising you send out into the world is a reflection of your brand. This should always be in the forefront of your mind as you are putting your message together. You need to know how you want to be perceived by your audience. And again, in nearly every conceivable situation, injecting a little humor can go a long way.
Alternatively, you may want to think long and hard about whether or not you want your brand to be based on humor. If you go this route and future ads aren’t quite as funny or downright serious, this could cause brand confusion and may even alienate a percentage of your audience.
It Increases the Chances of Your Content Going Viral
It appears that the internet loves two things in particular: heart-warming, life-changing stories, and a good, cheap laugh. Ask the people behind Dollar Shave Club how humor helped their business get catapulted from small time start-up to super popular special media hot topic.
The simple truth of the matter is that funny content stands a much better chance of going viral than your basic informational content. This means that audiences are more accepting of comical material and are more likely to share it with your friends. And, with the speed of social media, you can literally publish something as simple as a tweet and have it go viral to thousands of non-followers in the course of less than a day.
A good mood means good business.
It’s a basic premise to life: laughter puts people in good moods. And in terms of business, when people are in good moods, they tend to buy more. Both business owners and psychiatrists can prove this with facts.
Given that, using some humor in your message should be a given. The key is to not force it at all. Forced humor is often lame and ends up blemishing your brand more than helping it. Make sure the humor fits your brand and has been tested. Remember…you want to put your audience in a good mood, not having them groan over a bad pun that a 5 year old could have come up with.
Oh, and speaking of a groaning audience, be warned…comedy can be a powerful and tricky medium. That being said, always make sure any jokes or even subtle humor are delivered with the following caveats in mind.
We already warned not to force humor just to try being funny. Make sure your humor matches the rest of your brand’s tone and message.
Avoid controversial and “shock” humor at all costs. And yes, this includes politics!
Sure, sometimes crude jokes are the easiest to formulate but you also run the risk of angering or offending your audience. In terms of marketing use, humor should never be any more risqué than PG—maybe PG-13, depending on your industry and the intended audience.
Use social media to its fullest advantage; include pictures in your content when possible, but make sure they are relevant and don’t inadvertently reveal information you don’t want the public to know about (you’d be surprised what sorts of material can get left lying in the background of candid pictures).
Also note that if you have decided to use a great deal of humor in your marketing, you may want to start outsourcing some of you writing Find a copywriter that has experience in writing comedic material. Not every copywriter is going to be able to write relevant funny material, so make sure you choose wisely.
Now, get that funny bone to cracking and see what you can do to start using humor to strengthen your brand and your overall message!