Laughter is a universal language and one of our first communication methods. Before we had spoken or written language, humans used laughter to express our enjoyment or accession with a certain situation. It’s also a form of communication that bridges the gap between various languages, cultures, ages and demographics. So it’s no wonder that funny memes and witty hashtags are such a hit on social media. In fact, according to one study, “humor was employed at near unanimous levels for all viral advertisements. Consequently, this study identified humor as the universal appeal for making content viral.”
So, humorous content gets shared more on social media channels. That’s an obvious benefit for your brand. But what other benefits can you gain by making your audience laugh? Following are four other advantages to using humorous content.
1. It creates unity.
Laughter is social. We laugh 30 times more when we’re with other people than when we’re alone, according to Robert R. Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Laughter eases tension and forms a sense of unity through groups. Get your Facebook fans or Twitter followers laughing, and you’ll be helping to establish a sense of community and building connections with your brand and amongst your fans and followers.
2. It triggers emotional responses.
Humor creates positive feelings. Laughing releases endorphins, relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, helps to relieve stress and overall just makes us feel good. These physiological and chemical responses are unconscious, and create a pleasant emotional response. By using humor in your content on social media, you help to associate pleasant feelings with your brand.
3. It makes your brand memorable.
Positive feelings create memories. Research has shown that just 42% of positive experiences were forgotten, while 60% of negative experiences faded from memory. No one remembers a dull Facebook post or boring YouTube video, but we all remember Kmart’s “I Shipped My Pants” commercials, even if we’d forgotten that Kmart was around. Making your audience feel good through humorous content will help them to remember your brand in the short- and long-term.
4. It provides audience insights.
Peter McGraw, director of the Humor Research Lab and author of the Humor Code, states that “funny” is the intersection of benign and violation. If something is benign — a everyday observation — it’s not going to be funny. If something is a violation — a gross or offensive view of the world — it’s also not going to be funny. But that sweet spot between everyday and offensive, that’s where funny happens.
Learning where that sweet spot is for your audience can tell you a lot about their mindset, values and desires. To find this perfect junction, you may have to test things you think are too benign or too offensive, which does create some risks. But the insights you gain into your audience’s mentality can be well worth the uncertainty.
Being funny helps to create stronger emotional ties with your audience, creates better brand recall and builds a closer knit community. Humor may not come naturally for your brand, and may not always be the right approach. Luckily, social media allows you to test and iterate quickly to find the best humorous tone for your brand and audience.