How Brands Boost Twitter Engagement With Humor

by Masooma Memon
12 minutes
Twitter Engagement

Know the one thing that makes Innocent Drink’s Twitter marketing such a winner? It’s their humorous approach to marketing.

One look at their Twitter profile and you’ll see their banner image, bio, and tweets reflect their light-hearted marketing.

Innocent drinks twitter marketing

Most of all, the brand is funny in their comments too – no wonder their Twitter engagement is good.

Want to grow your Twitter with humor as Innocent Drinks has? You can always plan a humor-based Twitter marketing strategy like them. Or, you can throw an occasional joke to include humor as an aspect of your brand voice and strategy on the network.

Whatever approach you think suits your brand personality the best, this comprehensive guide on how to use humor to grow your Twitter is here to help.

We’ll talk about:

      • The 5-step strategy to using humor to grow your engagement
      • How brands use humor to grow their engagement on Twitter
      • Funny things to tweet including tips to execute humor the correct way

We’ve also got a case study of a brand growing their Twitter engagement with humor.

Let’s dive right in:

First things first: let’s start with defining humor

Before we dive in any further, it’s important we get on the same page regarding what exactly is humor.

Wikipedia defines humor as: “the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica has a tad bit of a technical take on the definition: “communication in which the stimulus produces amusement.”

Whatever the definition, it appears humor is the ability to be funny or comic. It doesn’t have to necessarily elicit laughs or giggles around the cloud. Instead, what you say could simply be a light joke that brings a wide smile to your readers.

In Twitter marketing, this would mean a joke can be anything packaged as funny Twitter memes, puns, analogies, or witty statements that cash in on trending Twitter hashtags.

How do you define Twitter Engagement?

Twitter engagement refers to all the ways people interact with your brand. It may include but not be limited to:

        • Likes
        • Retweets
        • Replies
        • Mentions (tagged or not), Followers,
        • Embedded media and links

Put simply, the idea is to make your audience smile while never being offensive to them.

So how can you be humorous on Twitter and why should you be? Let’s talk about that next.

Why should you use humor to improve Twitter Engagement?

Let me make this clear: you don’t have to be humorous all the time if that’s not your brand personality.

Several brands on Twitter throw an occasional joke or jump on a trending funny Twitter meme wagon.

Case in point: SEMrush. They’ve a friendly brand voice and they aren’t afraid of cracking a joke or two sometimes. Mostly this joke comes in the form of a Twitter meme or an SEO joke based on trending hashtags.

So how does humor help them and how can it help you? Here’s how:

    • It’s a good way to stand out from the crowd. About 350,000 tweets are published every minute and unless you don’t have a strategy to get your audience’s attention and engage them, nobody will see you. A humor-led strategy is a good way to rise above the noise.
    • Good humor is a surefire way to grow your Twitter engagement. As you’ll see in the examples we share below, a friendly joke even if its self-directed or directed toward competition always gets a good reaction from the audience.
    • Funny jokes humanize your brand. Your audience loves nothing more than seeing your brand’s human side. Jokes help you show that side.
    • A good laugh wins hearts. There’s too much negativity out there. People are also cognitively overloaded, which makes it even more challenging to get your audience’s attention. However, good humor can help you not only engage your audience but is also something that can help them remember you.


Heads-up:
The key to Twitter marketing with humor is friendly, no-offence humor. If you are not careful along these lines, humor can backfire.

The 5 steps to creating a humor-based Twitter marketing strategy

Now, let’s get to work on using humor for Twitter engagement:

Step 1: Research your audience

Any good strategy kicks off with audience research. Without it, you’re likely going to create a Twitter marketing strategy based on personal preferences – not your audience’s preferences.

Keep your aim simple: find out what your audience likes. To this end, you can try a couple of things:

  • Use an audience research tool such as Sparktoro

Sparktoro digs out what your audience frequently talks about, the social accounts they follow, the hashtags they use, and so on. Analyzing this information will help you get a taste of their preferences.

  • Use Google Analytics for an overview of your audience’s interests

Head to Demographics for an overview of your audience’s location and gender. Then click on Interests and Affinity Categories to find out your audience’s topical interests.

  • Talk to your followers on Twitter

Every company has some loyal followers. If you’re only starting out, you can look up people who you think are your target audience. Reach out to them and offer an incentive to chat with you for 15 minutes. Nothing helps you learn about your audience than your audience itself.

With all the data and interviews at hand, you’ll be able to tell your:

        • Audience’s interests
        • The language they use
        • The references they’d understand

All this will help you create content (read: crack jokes) that are relevant to them.

Step 2: Develop a brand voice with reference examples

If you don’t already have brand voice guidelines, get to work.

These are essential for maintaining consistency in your business voice throughout the marketing channels you use and each channel itself.

Now you’d argue you know your voice well enough that you can maintain it consistently. However, it’s likely you’ll fall into these two situations either today or later on.

        • Someone else on the team tweets in your absence.
        • You’ve decided to leave and someone else is taking over.

In either case, you can save your time and maintain consistency in your voice simply by documenting your brand voice.

Remember: your entire voice doesn’t need to be funny. You could be informal or friendly formal or just a bit snarky. Whatever the case may be, note down examples of how it’s best for your brand to be humorous on Twitter.


Pro tip:
Refer to your brand voice guidelines as you retweet and reply to comments. This will help you develop an authentic brand voice that impresses your customers.

Step 3: Do some competitor research

The aim here isn’t to copy. In fact, it could be your brand voice differentiating you from your competitors.

So here’s the game plan: study your competitors’ Twitter profile and try to understand the key components of their Twitter marketing.

This should include an analysis of whether there are humorous on Twitter. And, if they are: how so. Ask yourself:

      • What jokes do they crack?
      • What’s their tone as they crack these jokes?
      • How are they engaging with their audience with humor?

Once you’ve your data down, work out:

      • How do you plan to be different from your competitors?
      • What are things you can do better than them?

Step 4: Create a plan and start creating content

With the groundwork done, create a plan for Twitter marketing outlining the core topics of your tweets, the voice and tone you’ll use, who will keep an eye on the trending hashtags, and, so on.

Also, essential here is creating a plan for Twitter engagement and tracking Twitter analytics. Decide on how you’d engage your followers. Will you ask them questions? Retweet their content? Reply back to their comments? Host interesting polls?

At the same time, work out which metrics you’d be tracking to evaluate results. This depends on your goals from Twitter.

If you’re looking to grow brand awareness, for example, you’ll want to look at how your impressions and reach are growing. If you’re planning to drive engagement, look at each tweet’s engagement rate, the average comments, likes, and retweets it gets.

When done, start writing your tweets. Having your Twitter content ready in advance leaves you with time to engage with your audience. It also saves you on days when those creative gears won’t spin.

Want a pro-tip to writing winning tweets? Rewrite your tweets. This helps you shorten your tweet – helping you say it more directly, which is something that Twitterratis appreciate a lot.

One last thing: be consistent. Tweet daily. If you find that’s a lot of manual work, use ContentStudio to schedule your tweets.

Simply log into ContentStudio and select Social Media Post in the Composer mode. Now, pick Schedule from the four options available to you:

ContentStudio Schedule tweets  Now, compose your tweet here and schedule it. Then, repeat to add tweets to a scheduled queue.

Step 5: Evaluate Twitter engagement results

As a social media manager or a one-person team wearing the social media management hat, you’ll want to study the performance of your Twitter strategy for a defined time.

But if we were to talk about evaluating humor for Twitter marketing alone, then you’ll want to look at each funny tweet’s performance.

This should be simple. Go to Twitter analytics on your profile page and locate the tweet you want stats on. Now look at its impressions and the engagement it drove.

Tweet Activity

Repeat the same for other funny Twitter memes you’ve made or jokes you’ve tweeted. Then, compare data to find out the jokes that garner the most engagement and reach.

This way, you can identify the jokes you want to double-down on for better, more refined, and more audience-resonating humor on Twitter.

Funny things to post on Twitter

Now for some ideas of humorous tweets, you can add to your strategy:

1. Poke fun at other brands

Wendy’s, for example, is widely known for the jokes they crack about their competitor, McDonald’s. Here’s an example;

Wendy's poking fun at McDonalds

Note that this isn’t a fresh tweet but a retweet. You can replicate the approach used by Wendy’s Twitter marketing team while maintaining your brand voice.

2. Funny Twitter memes

Memes on Twitter are a blend of plain text tweets and funny images that the users borrow from other networks. The Weekend Superbowl meme that went viral earlier in 2021 is an example.

This evergreen Drake meme is another example. Note that this example tweet is highly targeted to its audience: writers.

Writers jokes on Twitter

As for text-based memes, two prominent examples are the ‘red flag’ meme and ‘did it hurt’ meme. Here’s an example:

Content Writing meme on twitter

3. Funny images and GIFs

You can always make this product-led which helps you highlight your brand or its unique value proposition.

Take Bugles, for example. They tweeted this funny image with a caption that hints at their value prop (the cone-shaped crisps fit on your fingertips like caps):

Bugles funny meme on Twitter

4. Content around funny trends

Brands on Twitter also leverage funny trends and so can you. Simply keep an eye on your audience’s interest and see if you can crack a relevant joke when something starts trending.

It’s also important here that you don’t simply joke about what matters to your audience, but also something that aligns with your brand values.

Have some active followers or target customers? Add them to a Twitter list and keep an eye on the list to recognize any trends before it’s too late to tweet about them.

Here’s an example of SEMrush tapping into the Netflix show, You Season 3, that trended in October.

SEMRush Twitter joke

How to be humorous on Twitter: 9 tips

Let’s now dive into some tips to add humor to your Twitter marketing the right way:

1. Talk to them, not at them

This is the golden rule for success with growing your Twitter engagement using humor. The reason? Talking at people is almost always offensive, which repels them and it backfires. Unless you’re a pro at this kind of humor, it’s best to never make fun of your followers.

2. Talk a conversational approach

This is in line with the tip above. You don’t want to be demeaning or offensive. Instead, take a talk-like-you-are-talking-to-a-friend approach.

3. Leverage analogies to be funny

Twitter users love good analogies. All the better if you can make them funny.

Wendy's Twitter Marketing

4. Create amusing GIFs or images

You can also be humorous with the images you use by customizing them to make a joke about your brand. See how Wendy’s does that in this tweet:

Also worth noting here is the fact that not every tweet has to include a CTA or link to your site/offer. Your aim should be to offer value and engage your audience with content that resonates with them. So maintain a balance.

5. Capitalize on trends

This one’s a super simple way to up your Twitter engagement. Simply make sure the trend is important to or resonates with your audience and then come up with something creative.

Netflix, for example, has taken a creative approach to marketing their show with this fun tweet:

6. Make fun of situations – not people

If you’re still confused on what’s good humor and what’s offensive, this is an uber-helpful tip. Here’s an example to explain how you can make fun of situations:

Chipotle Dining alone joke on Twitter

7. Talk like a human

This comes straight from the horse’s mouth as Twitter recommends you show your human side, not a robotic one.

With each tweet you make, run it through the following filter questions that Twitter shares:

  • “Do they read as if they come from your brand or a robot?
  • Are they random and disjointed?
  • Is there a central, human voice?
  • Is it apparent what your brand is all about?”

If you find your tweet isn’t following any one of these pointers, rewrite it until it does.

8. Have fun with your messaging

Another useful tip is to showcase your brand voice and have fun even as you make announcements. Uber’s announcement in light of social distancing requirement is light-hearted, for example:

9. Make product-centered jokes

Lastly, humor marketing can also be product-led so that your product(s) gets the spotlight.

New to these types of jokes? Maintain a balance between other jokes and product-led jokes so you can tell how well each category does.

Now for brands on Twitter that do this kind of humor particularly well, we have Oreo.

Oreo Twitter Marketing

Here’s another joke centered around a holiday:

Oreo Twitter Marketing

Plus, they take the same approach when jumping on Trends:

Oreo Twitter Marketing

And again:

Oreo Twitter Marketing

Twitter case study: Using humor in their Twitter marketing strategy

Before we wrap this up, let’s look at Twitter’s own popular Twitter business memes and how they use the platform for growing their engagement.

As we share examples and break down how they leverage humor, you’ll see they follow through all the tips and tactics shared throughout this post. This way, you can get a more practical idea of how to execute humor for your Twitter marketing.

They don’t miss out on trends and take human approach in their tweets

To begin with, Twitter doesn’t miss trends. For instance, they tweeted about the red flag meme, shedding light on their app:

Twitter Marketing

Throughout their tweets, you’ll also see that they talk like a human. This helps them connect with their audience. In fact, even as they make announcements, they take a human approach.

When they announced taking down Fleets (their equivalent of Instagram or Facebook Stories), for example, they tweeted in a fun, light-hearted way:

Twitter Marketing

This tweet in itself got a lot of appreciation over at Twitterverse. Why? Because of the way the Twitter team acknowledged their mistakes – a very human thing to do.

They listen to their audience

This is crucial to improve your business according to your audience’s preferences. Equally important is the fact that it shows their audience they value their opinions.

Here’s an example:

Twitter Marketing edit button

Twitter pokes fun at competitors

A fresh example of this is when the Facebook family including Instagram and WhatsApp went down on October 4.

Twitter made the most of the situation and made a fun tweet without directly offending its competitors.

In the comments of this tweet, you’ll also find that Twitter values engaging with their audience too so they don’t come across as broadcasters only.

Audience engagement plan

Two prominent things they do: replying to comments and asking questions.

Here’s an example of their replies to the tweet we shared above:

They also engage their followers by asking questions. This tweet is a great example of a brand opening up funny tweet responses:

They mix up their media format

Finally, funny tweet or not, Twitter use different media formats to engage their audience. So not all their tweets are text-based.

Some feature funny GIFs and images too. Mainly these tend to include customized GIFs/screen recording and screenshots to explain about their product.

Here’s how they do so:

Humour your brand’s way through Twitter! 

Humor can help you level up your Twitter marketing by getting your audience’s attention and evoking laughs, giggles, and smiles.

Essentially, humor works so well because, when executed well, people can relate to it. Like other brands on Twitter, make fun of situations – not people, talk like a human, and always keep digging into your audience’s interests so you can crack the most relevant jokes to them.

Don’t forget to leverage trends and funny Twitter memes to be funny on the blue-bird network.

Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed blog posts and articles for small businesses and app companies who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.

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