4 reasons you shouldn’t be afraid to be funny on social media

maasaiLaughter 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.

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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.

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Facebook is greeting some users with a weather forecast

Raindrops

Image: Rapando Carey

You’re already using Facebook for pretty much everything, so why not have your morning weather forecast while you’re there as well?

This seems to be the line of reasoning behind Facebook’s new feature, apparently available only to a small subset of users and noticed Friday by The Next Web. Some of them — mostly in the UK — are being greeted with a short “good morning” message with a weather forecast for their location. Unfortunately its not yet available to Kenyan users and Africa as a whole.

The feature is definitely not live for everyone; for example, no one of my friends in Kenya  that I’ve asked has received the messages. But there’s more than one report on Twitter, as you can see below.

Apparently, when you click on the “see more” bit, you get a more full-featured (but still pretty basic) forecast for the day, as shown in the tweet below.

The feature has been around for at least a couple of months now — the earliest reports I’ve seen of it are from early March.

We’ve contacted Facebook to learn more about the feature, but have not yet heard from the company.

If Facebook were to offer a more full-fledged weather experience, with radar imagery, for example, it could spell trouble for the booming weather app market.

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