Humour gone wrong on social media

I’m the first to admit that my favourite social media accounts are the ones that make me laugh out loud. And while it’s a common thread in personal and culture account success, it doesn’t always play the same for business ones. Unlike meme accounts like tank.sinatra, betches and ladbible, brands need to uphold their reputation and respect their diverse audiences – so humour is often a hard balance to strike.

There are so many things wrong with this post, we don’t know where to start. It’s a great example of how humour can quickly become offensive, discriminating against a population group (that is also likely to follow you!).

So how do you prevent your brand from going too far, while also being conversational and fun?

  1. Establish an iron-clad messaging framework: take the time to develop your brand’s voice and tone. Align them to your business values and draw from examples to empower your employees to be creative, but under a consistent brand identity.
  2. Stay informed: be sure to triple check your work and remain informed before sharing anything that could be offensive to a minority group.
  3. Lean on conversation: at times when humour seems challenging, lean on conversational posts to evoke a similar emotion with your audiences. Pose a question, run a poll, address a pain point – do something that humanises your brand without risking a misstep.
  4. Monitor: if you do choose to push the envelope, make sure you do your research on how your audience is responding to posts. Use tools like Brandwatch to monitor sentiment and ensure there is appetite for humour.
  5. Air on the side of caution: if you’re reading this blog, you’re not likely a comedian by profession. So, if you’re unsure if your post will land with your audiences, get buy in from your colleagues, friends, and anyone else you can use as a laugh sense check.

There is a place for humour on social media, but not for every brand and audience. If you need help defining your brand voice and tone, drop us a note. We may not be comedians, but we do know social.

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