Who doesn’t love a good laugh?
Especially during tough times like these.
Maybe there are one or two curmudgeons out there, but for the most part, humor is a defining aspect of the human condition. A little wit can forge an instantaneous connection between two people and break up awkward silences. It’s this ability to build relationships that has businesses leveraging the power of a good laugh to bring exposure and awareness to their brands on social media,
In the age of social media where brands have but a few seconds to capture their audience’s attention, humor has become a winning marketing strategy. That’s because when something is funny, it immediately grabs our attention, stops us in our tracks, and causes us to react. It’s a very human experience, which is key to understanding why humor works so well online.
When we take a step back and really look at why social media is such an effective marketing tool, we can see that so much of it has to do with humanization. The goal is to be relatable, accessible, and authentic. Humor is one of the few things that can accomplish all of this at once!
Taking a humorous approach to brand awareness can feel a bit risky, like it’s a PR disaster just waiting to happen. And while getting humor right is a skill and you really need to know your market, the pay off is that you may join the ranks of some of the most beloved brands on social media. Study how these 10 brands crush it on Twitter by using humor to engage their audiences.
Square burgers is only part of how Wendy’s earned more than 2.7 million Twitter followers. The brand has become known for its snappy comebacks and ruthlessly funny approach to starting a “friendly” rivalry between themselves and the other major fast-food chains.
Ok, but don’t get handsy and we have to be home by 10. https://t.co/tQunlsqecG
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 9, 2018
MoonPie is a classic, heritage brand that’s been around since the early part of the 20th century. As the years passed and their market got older and less fascinated with the iconic sweet treat, they needed to find a way to reinvent themselves and appeal to the younger, millennial audience. They chose humor, and it’s a strategy that’s worked. Here’s an example of MoonPie’s snappiest tweets.
Nothing like a delicious MoonPie with a cold glass of milk to wash away the guilt of this week’s poor decisions
— MoonPie (@MoonPie) February 25, 2018
People ask me when I’m ready to quit tweeting and hang it up and the answer is I already have we’ve been on auto tweet for 3 months
— MoonPie (@MoonPie) February 24, 2018
Steak-umms are thin-sliced frozen steaks that are usually used to make Philly Cheese Steaks. Online, they decided to adopt a persona that embraces absurdism, meta-humor, and straight-up unvarnished hot-takes that speak truth to power and expose the underlying struggle of the human condition.
Viral content that gets retweeted by world-respected academics and earns coverage from mainstream publications such as Vox and The Wall Street Journal.
As Steak-umm’s social media manager Nathan Allebach told The Washington Post:
“The voice is based on a combination of brand features, like it being a family-owned frozen meat company built by the working class, then me trying to personify it based on those features, my own thoughts, and an adaptable human-esque style that feels like someone you know.”
friendly reminder in times of uncertainty and misinformation: anecdotes are not data. (good) data is carefully measured and collected information based on a range of subject-dependent factors, including, but not limited to, controlled variables, meta-analysis, and randomization
— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) April 7, 2020
note: all companies have a bottom line, so anything we publish is a form of propaganda to encourage positive association and memory with our brand, despite whatever our intentions. remember to consume advertising and PR with skepticism, even if the message is "helpful"
— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) April 17, 2020
stop calling our frozen beef sheets “roof shingles”
— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) March 28, 2020
troll: your personified twitter ads are manipulative and damaging to society
steak-umm: ok so what should we do
troll: just post what the product is
steak-umm: ok “hey everybody buy our frozen beef sheets”
troll: NO THAT’S TOO SELF AWARE AND META IT’S JUST AS BAD
— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) April 20, 2020
Let’s start by looking at Denny’s Twitter bio. It reads “Yes, we’re fine. No, we’re not the Krusty Krab. Welcome to America’s Diner.” They immediately set the tone for a little snark and a lot of fun.
Over half a million followers are hooked on the unpredictable humor of the iconic diner.
A dating app for people who like fried chicken and they call it “Tender”. You’re welcome.
— dennysdiner (@DennysDiner) June 10, 2018
Did your wife leave you
with the bill? what a trickster.
— dennysdiner (@DennysDiner) June 9, 2018
The famous Mexican inspired chain is known for more than their massive burritos. They also have a huge sense of humor that they like to display on Twitter.
Chipotle has handled a PR crisis or two with their ability to appeal to customers on a relatable level and the use of humor to lighten the mood. They even manage to be funny in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic!
Here are a few examples of Chipotle’s everyday greatness on Twitter.
Feed girls burritos, not lines.
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) June 17, 2018
If he won’t share his Chips & Guac, it’s time to throw the whole man away.
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) June 16, 2018
Just had two burritos as a snack, hbu?
— Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) April 4, 2020
To help promote awareness of their burgers iHop, the breakfast chain megastar, rebranded themselves and turned their pancakes upside down by becoming IHOb.
Have they had a little jibbing and jabbing from their market and competitors?
But they leveraged Twitter like a pro to promote their burgers and clap back with a little humor of their own. And since social media is ephemeral, iHop was able to have some fun and then return to being IHOP on Twitter.
Their Twitter bio says that the official account for the beloved breakfast pastry is a very serious matter, but a scroll through their tweets tells a completely different story.
Pop-Tarts is a well-established brand, so they recognize the fact that they don’t need social media to fuel brand awareness, but rather to attract a new generation of toaster pastry aficionados – something they aim to achieve with humor.
They even manage to make Coronovirus funny!
Public service announcement:
1. Pop-Tarts are not ravioli
2. Pop-Tarts are not sandwiches
3. There will never be a Tide Pod flavored Pop-Tart
Have a nice day
— Pop-Tarts (@PopTartsUS) March 6, 2018
I'm not sure why people need to take the time out of their "busy" (jk) lives to ruin a Pop-Tart and try to get some attention but congratulations this is the most famous you'll ever be https://t.co/ERqNw4AS53
— Pop-Tarts (@PopTartsUS) June 27, 2018
Welcome to the sweetest video call ever. pic.twitter.com/PGyW8snitG
— Pop-Tarts (@PopTartsUS) March 27, 2020
Old Spice @OldSpice
What Old Spice is churning out on Twitter isn’t really what we’d call knee-slapping humor, but more the type of semi-dry humor that makes you roll your eyes just a little before an unavoidable grin hits your face.
Old Spice has also mastered using short snippets of cheeky video to highlight their products.
There’s never been a better time to click a link on a website that takes you to an event page on another website for a livestream from a deodorant company than the present: https://t.co/QmDW6kpnFy
— Old Spice (@OldSpice) April 7, 2018
So, what’s the secret?
It’s not only having your own comedic voice; it’s that people love Twitter because they genuinely enjoy the interactions! A touch of humor makes interactions with your favorite brand more memorable and more meaningful. Humor breaks down expectations of what a brand can be and, in doing so, reveals your shared humanity with the people behind the brand.
That’s how you get a follow, a like, and a retweet; by showing who you really are and what makes you laugh.