I can only hope that upon reading the title of this blog you heard Cyndi Lauper crooning the undeniable jam that is “Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun.” But these crazy antics shouldn’t only apply to the hair-teased women of the 80s — the idea of letting loose and acting as a free spirit is an innate human desire in all of us. So why then do brands often approach consumers on social media with cold, unfeeling, and unrelatable robotic voices? Often times brands focus too much on selling their product and not enough time connecting with their audience. Would you be friends and spend time with someone who constantly pestered you to purchase their old car? No! Brands that connect to consumers on an emotional level through witty banter or humor are more appealing to consumers because they don’t seem like just a money-grab. In fact, 72 percent of consumers say they want brands to be funny on social. It is possible to humanize large corporate franchises using fun tactics for a more light-hearted feel. Here are just a few great examples from Twitter, arguably one of the most popular platforms for brands to let loose a little!
Not all of your posts have to push your product
This post from Innocent Drinks is just one of thousands that have absolutely nothing to do with smoothies or drinks! While they joke about being “relentless” in their marketing, the reality is they are far from it. Instead, they serve as one of the best examples of a large corporation that focuses more on fostering a silly and likable brand presence than pushing products. Community Manager Helena Langdon told Audiense in an interview: “It’s our goal to make our pages a place on social media where people want to visit and enjoy seeing in their timelines, then people won’t mind when we try to sell them drinks every now and again.”
Create a hashtag that gets consumers involved
We all know you shouldn’t just tweet at your target audience but encourage them to join in on the conversation. However, some hashtags like #tgif or #selfie just won’t cut it. You need something that is unique to your brand and will encourage your audience to take action. Charmin (yes, the toilet paper brand) won a Shorty Award in 2014 for its most famous hashtag, #TweetFromTheSeat, in which followers can send tweets while sitting on the toilet. Their entry to the Shorty Awards explained: “40% of young adults admit to using social media in the bathroom (and those are just the people who admit to it). At our core, Charmin is all about giving people a better bathroom experience and it is important to us that this translates to how we engage with consumers on Twitter. And of course, we love potty humor.” Makes perfect sense!
Hide an Easter egg for your followers
This one may be a little more difficult to emulate but it is brilliant. In 2017, Twitter user @edgette22 realized that international chicken brand KFC followed exactly 11 people on Twitter. All five Spice Girls and six men named “Herb” to be exact — a nod to the fast-food chain’s secret recipe blend of 11 herbs and spices. By planting this Easter egg, KFC received a lot of attention upon its discovery and even went as far as to award the savvy finder with an oil painting of him riding on Colonel Sanders’ back. Now, I know what you’re thinking…why didn’t I think of that?
Allow your followers to “do the work” for you
Back in 2017, chicken nugget fan Carter Wilkerson tweeted fast-food chain Wendy’s asking how many retweets he needed to get in order to be given a year’s supply of free chicken nuggets, to which they replied: 18 million. This spurred arguably one of the most famous social interactions between a brand and a client. Wilkerson garnered 3.42 million retweets, pushing him past Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie tweet, which was the previous record-holder. Wendy’s saw an opportunity and profited from it by setting an unachievable goal and supplying witty-banter along the way —something the brand holds the crown for on Twitter. And don’t worry, despite falling short of 18 million retweets, they made sure to give Wilkerson the nuggets anyway.
Interact with other brands
Just last year, the internet lost its mind when pancake franchise IHOP announced they would be changing their name to IHOB (International House of Burgers) as part of a giant scheme to advertise their new burger menu options. The reaction across social media was deafening, an IHOP representative told the New York Times, “We thought that people would have fun with this, but never did we imagine that it would grab the attention of America the way it did.” While IHOP basked in their marketing success, other brands knew they couldn’t let this opportunity pass them by. This was the perfect time to show consumers that they were up to date on social media trends and could throw in their own hilarious two cents.
While marketing on social media is a business strategy, I hope these examples helped demonstrate the effectiveness of having some fun. Your account should be one consumers enjoy following, whether because you’re downright hilarious, because you share helpful tips and tricks, or because you use it as a means of remarkable customer service. However you decide to represent your brand’s voice just make sure you have fun with it!
Author: Celeste Russell, SMS
Hailing from Las Vegas, Celeste began working with NISM as a summer intern in 2019. Since then she has found a real home in the community, earned her SMS certification, and currently works as the Social Media Coordinator for NISM and the Social Media Manager for OMCP. Celeste graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Acting & Communication for the Arts. Her passions have always included effective communication both on and off the stage and she is grateful that working remotely allows her the opportunity to pursue her acting career simultaneously. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her wonderful husband and their three pets.
Feel free to connect with Celeste on LinkedIn.
Check out one of her other NISM blog posts: Battling Imposter Syndrome as a Social Media Professional