Laughter Is Contagious: Use Humor to Make Your Brand Go Viral

Laughter Is Contagious: Marketing with Humor Can Make Your Brand Go Viral

We can all think of hilarious grumpy cat memes or advertisements that make us crack smiles. We’re hardwired to enjoy things that make us laugh, grin, and feel good — and we remember this emotion when we shop. When a brand finds the warm, fuzzy soft spot with its consumers, they see incredible returns for their efforts. Humor is an effective way to cultivate personal connections with your audience and increase profits … if you know how to make it work for you.

Humor’s Effectiveness on Consumers

There are impressive metrics that support the idea that funny content gets more hits and shares than regular content. Several physiological studies report that laughter is an invaluable tool for reducing stress, revitalizing energy and bonding people together in social situations. Thus, humorous content can relieve anxiety and generate organic sharing among groups. There’s proof of this sharing wherever you look on the Internet — the content that generates the most traffic is funny gifs, memes, videos, images and blog posts.

Just as humor bonds your consumers together, it also connects the consumers to your brand. If you manage to make your target audience laugh or at least elicit a wry smile, you forge a special bond with them. Think about all of your favorite brands. At some point, in some way, they made you smile — whether it was their core beliefs, customer service initiatives or hilarious social posts. Doing what you can to make your audience smile is an excellent way to humanize your brand and make a lasting positive impression.

How to Incorporate Humor in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Writing funny content is easier said than done. Figuring out what’s “funny” to modern consumers can be a puzzle, and mastering the art of crafting funny, relevant content that also delivers your brand’s message can seem impossible. The best way to test the waters in your market is to start small and work your way up. Make your tone more conversational in your next post and try incorporating subtle humor into your social media campaign.

Social media is an excellent platform to introduce humor. Your audience expects a more relaxed, friendly tone from these posts. One brand that’s mastered humor on social media is Casper, the mattress company. Casper won the Shorty Award for Best Overall Twitter Presence thanks to its laugh-out-loud tweets and culturally on-point humor. The brand advertised its products using appropriate humor on the right channels, resulting in widespread marketing success.

Striking a Balance when Marketing with Humor

Funny content can easily go wrong, leading to the exact opposite of the desired effect. Take IHOP’s Twitter fail, for example. The company tried to incorporate humor in its social media marketing strategy with a new tone, tweeting photos of pancakes with captions that targeted the younger generation. At first, the campaign was a success: tweets with hip-hop references like “Pancakes, you look good, won’t you back that stack up” earned the brand almost 5,000 retweets. However, IHOP took its attempt at humor a step too far with offensive, sexist jokes:

Fans immediately criticized the brand for its thoughtless, crass sense of humor, and IHOP quickly removed the posts and issued an apology. It’s easy to take humor too far, especially if you’re still riding the rush of a successful post. The best way to use humor to your advantage is to do it in a way that’s true to your brand’s values and existing image. IHOP’s value has traditionally been in its delicious breakfast foods and as a family restaurant. Its campaign failed because it tried too hard to be funny and wasn’t true to the brand.

Is It Worth the Risk?

Your consumers love to laugh. It’s a fact that won’t ever change. By cranking out funny, topical and appropriate content for your consumers, you can forge a strong bond with them and be their go-to brand. Incorporating humor in your content marketing strategy establishes your company as a trendsetter in your industry, leading to organic shares and brand awareness. If you’re careful with your attempts at humor and truly get a feel for your audience before posting funny content, there’s no reason why it won’t be a smashing success.

The Power of Emotional Content

The U.S. Small Business Administration published an article on the importance of emotional advertising in 2016. Essentially, emotional advertising is any content that incites an emotional response in the audience. The article cites a study by Psychology Today that found a viewer’s emotional response to an advertisement influenced conversions more than the content itself.

The main takeaway here is to realize the incredible power emotional content has to reach and engage with consumers. No matter who your target audience is, if they’re human, they’ll respond positively to emotional content. Let your personality shine throughout your brand’s content to win a place in consumers’ hearts for good.

Laughing Photo via Shutterstock
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Amie Marse Amie Marse is the founder of a small content generation firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s been a passionate freelance writer turned business owner for over 7 years. Her philosophy is that the essentials of content marketing do not change from the small business to the Fortune 500 level, and that creativity trumps budget every time.

One Reaction
  1. It is effective. But humor is quite hard to do if you don’t have the skill to write it. It is important to inject humor in a tasteful way as well so you don’t end up offending anyone.