Who ever said that people don’t like a good laugh? We’ve been told that laughter is the best medicine, the secret to a greater longevity, and the reason for my crow’s feet at 26-years old. Laughter is an immediate icebreaker and a quick way to build rapport and an emotional connection with your audience. Adding humor into digital strategy is an often-overlooked component of success – it makes your company or brand far more memorable and more “human-like” than others.
A lack of humor is what makes an article or commercial white noise, even if the information being presented is useful. I’m not saying you need to make your audience ROFL, but you should strive to make them chuckle. Or at least make them crack that creepy smile while looking at their phone or computer screen and make everyone around them uncomfortable.
Unsure of how to incorporate humor into your writing? Let’s raise up the curtain to the Wizard of Ha’s. Ugh, sorry.
Keep it clean
Don’t write purely to shock. The goal of your post shouldn’t be to start a riot in the street, so steer clear of offensive and controversial topics such as politics, religion, or the fact that you prefer sweet pickles over dill pickles (seriously, that’s gross. Can they at least make it easier for us to tell them apart?). You shouldn’t make your audience feel like they need to rinse your mouth out with soap once they’re done viewing your ad or blog. PSA: You can be funny without being an offensive potty mouth.
Purina does an excellent job of showcasing clean humor in their ad campaign with Buzzfeed called “Puppyhood”, that has been viewed on YouTube over 15 million times. The goal of the campaign was to make new puppy parents trust Purina as their resource for all things puppy, good and bad. Without mentioning their brand once throughout the entire video, users are engaged through the one-way dialogue between the not-so-prepared new owner engaging with his new canine friend. Plus, who doesn’t love puppies? If you don’t, I’m worried about you. Feast your eyes:
Metaphors, similes, and puns are extremely underrated
Use them like your clock collection – all the time. Using comparisons allows your readers to get a visual of what you’re saying and creates an all-around better experience. Would you rather read the sentence, “he laughed loudly” or “he had a deep, roaring, and throaty laugh, like that sound a dog makes before it throws up.”? Maybe you’d rather read neither because what I just said is disgusting, but at least I painted a picture for you – with sound.
Here’s an example of Two Gingers using a visual pun to insert humor into their ads:
Be a relatable human
A lot of business development and sales is about being liked. People tend to gather towards others that they can identify with and feel as though they are on the same level of the “social ladder”. There is an immediate sense of empathy added to an interaction when you connect on a mutual understanding. Ever seen two girls in a bar bathroom bond over their mutual dislike towards someone? It’s an immediate and unbreakable bond that ends in exchanging phone numbers and grabbing brunch the next day.
Consumers don’t want to feel like they are being talked down to – they are not peasants. So talk to them like you are one in the same. The more human you sound, the closer they will feel to your product or service. Here is one of my favorite examples of a company that humanizes their objective of connecting bone marrow transplants with donors, specifically the male demographic – ages 18-24.
Mingle with your audience and other brands. In some cases, this can be a double-edged sword based on the consumers that you are catering to. Some of your followers will want you to have a more direct involvement with their buyer’s journey and some would prefer less. That is a call your company will have to make.
Wendy’s may be named after an innocent little girl, but don’t be fooled by the freckled red head on their sign. Recently, Wendy’s rebranded their voice through witty and sassy comebacks at customer’s questions and remarks – referred to as the “Wendy’s Roast”. Over the course of 1 month, Wendy’s increased their twitter followers by 300,000 just through snarky remarks that made the World Wide Web LOL. This worked for them because it was an unexpected plot twist and it falls in line with their target market’s sense of humor. Again, this approach may not work for all companies, but Wendy’s was able to find the sweet spot.
It’s important to remember that a lot of the products or services you are being marketed aren’t always things that you want. Humor is one of the driving forces to creating a want or need, because it adds interest and personality to the product. Who likes shopping for dog food or toilet paper? Humor makes the ad all the more valuable to the consumer because it makes them feel good. And at the end of the day, that’s what breeds success.