Trying to promote your brand on Twitter is a serious business. Always being serious might not be the smartest way to go about it. This is where funny tweets help. Read on to find out how some of the funniest brands on Twitter endear themselves to their audiences. You can have a laugh, and learn some real marketing techniques.
Some of the funniest brands on Twitter: Taco Bell
Even outside the Internet, Taco Bell is well-known for using humor as a part of its marketing campaigns. Its Twitter account also delivers plenty of hilarious one-liners:
Those four magic words: I brought Taco Bell.
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) March 21, 2017
They also love throwing in some hilarious advice on romance…
Good morning texts are cute, but have you tried bringing her Taco Bell?
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) January 3, 2016
Old Spice has a knack for humor on every platform. It even wears that badge right on its account’s description. On Twitter they succeed with hilariously strange polls…
The Kraken took your corndog and returned to the sea. But luckily the viscous liquid washed off with Krakengärd body wash. Nice beach party?
— Old Spice (@OldSpice) March 17, 2017
…as well as funny quips about animals and fitness…
Every day is abs day when you’re a snake.
— Old Spice (@OldSpice) November 14, 2015
… and, of course, rib-tickling adverts…
Your search for the beginning of a never-ending journey ends here. Don’t smell yourself short. pic.twitter.com/S7sRuVbdHL
— Old Spice (@OldSpice) February 22, 2017
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover
The people at NASA have done a great job with popularizing the rover’s work. They did this by turning its adventures (and misadventures) on the Red Planet into funny first-person tweets:
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) February 27, 2017
The rover is also pretty fond of shameless selfies using million-dollar cameras…
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) October 13, 2015
Food companies are well-known for their sense of online humor, but frozen pizza maker DiGiorno Pizza has to be the funniest. DiGiorno is known for its pizza-based puns, including this golden take on the classic song Do-Re-Mi:
DOUGH a crust an unbaked crust
RAY, a guy that likes pizza
ME a pizza liked by a guy named ray
FAH no idea what fah is
LA a city
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) December 6, 2013
The account’s jokes are often about very random topics, further adding to the hilarity:
EVERYTHING ELSE SHUT UP
— DiGiorno Pizza (@DiGiornoPizza) January 20, 2016
When you hear the term “toilet humor” some of the grossest jokes often come to mind. Not with Charmin, though. The toilet paper brand actually offers clean fun with jokes that refer to its products and their uses:
— Charmin (@Charmin) October 7, 2015
Charmin also takes on actual toilet humor, but in a fun and charming way:
— Charmin (@Charmin) August 25, 2015
Turning your brand into a Twitter comedian
One thing you need to understand when trying to inject humor into your tweets is that it does need some work. You need to carefully craft your funny tweets to get your audience cracking up. In other words, being funny on Twitter doesn’t end with just a joke.
The first place that you would want to inject humor into your Twitter presence is right in your profile. Social media consultant Amanda Webb says that your profile summary is the most common place to show your funny side. Little known actor Kevin Spacey has a rather silly Twitter bio:
Your profile and header images are also good places to have some fun. Your choice of images should still fall within the marketing campaign you currently have to make these more relevant to your audience.
Creating your joke tweets
Mashable’s Matt Silverman notes that one of the challenges, when it comes to writing funny tweets, is that you only have 140 characters to work with. That means you won’t be able to do long joke stories. Instead, you have to immediately go for the punchline. Here are some types of jokes that would work on the short format of tweets:
Wordplays are some of the most popular types of jokes on Twitter. This is because these types of jokes work best with the visual nature of the platform as the audience can see the funny spelling changes.
When doing wordplays, be sure your audience will be able to understand the joke at first glance. It would be helpful if the wordplay refers to something familiar to your audience so they can easily grasp the joke. Humor account “Michael, still here” throws in a good example of wordplay, referring to The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
"I think Esmerelda's in trouble!"
"What makes you so sure, Quasimodo?"
"I have a…"
*turns to camera*
— Michael, still here (@Home_Halfway) May 22, 2014
Puns are a type of wordplay that involves switching one word for another one that sounds the same as it. The joke works better if the word used refers to something else instead of being a random homonym.
— Grant Maloy Smith (@GrantMaloySmith) March 24, 2017
Situational comedy is a form of humor that involves everyday situations that result in humorous outcomes. These are commonly associated with TV sitcoms. Yet, you can also use this form of humor on Twitter through clever writing. Kraft Foods throws in a particularly hilarious example of sitcom-style humor with this tweet:
That awkward moment when you’re laughing so hard that cheese squirts out your noodle. #awkwardnoodle
— KRAFT Mac & Cheese (@kraftmacncheese) February 25, 2013
This is another form of story-based humor. Unlike situational comedy, anecdotal humor relies on stories for its humor. Brands like this form as it gives them the opportunity to better connect with their audiences by sharing their stories. Innocent, for instance, shared this little gem they got from their newsletter group:
— innocent drinks (@innocent) January 30, 2016
Random or non-sequitur jokes
These are jokes that totally come at you out of nowhere; often with random nonsense. Skittles came up with a particularly good one that earned them plenty of retweets:
Every time you RT this, a turtle learns kung-fu.
— Skittles (@Skittles) December 28, 2012
Be careful when doing non-sequiturs. They could easily go over the audience’s heads and end up being ignored.
Trending jokes and hashtags
Also, avoid going for the same joke that everyone is already telling on Twitter, as people will lose interest. This was the case when many brands jumped on the #5WordDealBreakers hashtag and made the same joke about their products running out as being the biggest deal breakers.
— Papa John's Pizza (@PapaJohns) March 11, 2015
I ate the last Nugget. #5WordDealBreakers
— Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@ChickfilA) March 11, 2015
I ate your fries, soz. #5WordDealBreakers
— McDonald's S. Africa (@McDonalds_SA) March 11, 2015
Using media-based humor
A good way to go beyond the 140-character limit and enhance your funny tweets is by using various media. Images are the most common form of media used for humor on Twitter. These can be used to add visual elements to a text-based joke, or be the joke. Denny’s goes for the latter here:
true innovation would have been replacing the headphone jack with a flapjack pic.twitter.com/xrdlS2Q8IY
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) September 7, 2016
Videos go one step further by giving you more room for content. With videos, you can do actual skits and even full-blown situational comedies. On thing you need to remember is that shorter clips work better on Twitter.
Audio-based humor is less common on Twitter, but they can still be used for the purposes. When using audio clips for humor, be sure to pick jokes that work best when listened to.
Doing self-deprecating humor
A specific type of humor that brands are very fond of on Twitter is self-deprecating humor. This is humor that has the joke’s originator intentionally making fun of itself. For brands, this is an opportunity to show their audience that they are aware of their shortcomings and that they acknowledge or even embrace them. Ad agency R/GA throws in an amusingly dark example of self-deprecating humor with this tweet:
Look around you. Now look at yourself. We are the people not smart enough to have figured out some way to avoid coming to work today.
— R/GA (@RGA) May 27, 2016
A big challenge when doing this type of humor is deciding how much to poke fun at your own brand. Too little, and your attempt at funny tweets will look more like blatant promotions. Too much, and it will seem like you are hating on your own business. Test the joke first on a small audience to see how they react before taking it live to Twitter.
Important tips to remember about being funny on Twitter
Unless you are someone like Jon Stewart, trying to take on sensitive topics like politics or current events in your Twitter jokes can lead to a lot of backlash. Fashion designer Kenneth Cole learned this the hard way after having to deal with the backlash caused by an insensitive joke that they sent out:
The joke was about the then ongoing Egyptian revolution in 2011. After the negative response, they took down the tweet and issued an apology.
Follow funny people on Twitter
Finding ideas for your Twitter jokes can sometimes be hard. Look for inspiration by following humorous accounts. Comedians like Mindy Kaling are just some of the funny personalities that have a massive following on twitter.
In a big action franchise movie when there's a conspicuous cutaway to a rando, that's the director's business manager/studio exec/mistress
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) March 27, 2017
You can also follow the brands mentioned here purely to see what sort of antics they will pull next.
Use shock and risque humor wisely
Using shock humor is one common way to trigger more reactions to your jokes. While Twitter’s own strict content guidelines will help prevent you from going too far, you should still be ready to defend it should your audience respond negatively. Comedian Trevor Noah got into such a situation in 2015 after Twitter users considered some of his jokes to be too offensive:
I like women that don't wear make up. For me they're like pizza- still great the next morning!
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) May 2, 2010
"Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!" – fat chicks everywhere.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 14, 2011
Noah was recently announced as the replacement for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show when the controversy erupted.
Get your followers in on the act
Getting them to become part of your funny tweets can increase their engagement with you. Responding to comments they make about your brand is one way to do this. Show your funny side with a snappy comeback, just like this hilarious reply made by Pizza Hut:
@AmazingPhil well done Phillip we are proud
— Pizza hut (@_pizzahut_) September 14, 2012
Another strategy to get your followers involved is to ask them to submit their own jokes, which you can then post on your profile or on your other platforms. Jimmy Fallon does this a lot:
Let's play the hashtag game! Tweet out the worst gift you or someone you know got or gave and tag with #worstgiftever. Could be on our show!
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) December 10, 2013
Start a comedy routine with other brands
Brand competition is often intense on Twitter, with companies trying to outdo each other in attracting more followers. That does not mean, though, that you can’t engage in friendly banter with them from time to time. Doing so, in fact, helps both you and the other brands involved get noticed more by your respective Twitter audiences.
Taco Bell and Old Spice, two of the funniest brands on Twitter, had one such hilarious run-in:
@OldSpice Is your deodorant made with really old spices?
— Taco Bell (@tacobell) July 9, 2012
The already amusing chat got even more hilarious when other brands started joining in on the fun.
Why funny tweets work in marketing
Being funny on Twitter can provide you with plenty of surprising benefits.
- Humor triggers positive emotions: Laughter causes a release of endorphins that reduce stress and enhance the feeling of pleasure. Associating such feelings with your brand increases trust.
- Humor brings people together: Laughter can create a sense of community around your brand.
- Humor increases recall: People tend to forget only 42 percent of positive memories. Associating your brand with positive memories, including funny ones, will increase the likelihood that people will remember you.
- Humor gives you audience insights: By determining which of your funny tweets followers respond to the most, you get a glimpse at what they value. This helps in better marketing your brand to them.
Using these can help you push your brand to get followers and retweets.
This just in: Lasagna is just spaghetti cake.
— Moosejaw (@MoosejawMadness) January 17, 2016
Write funny tweets to get more followers
Funny tweets are a great way to attract and engage Twitter followers. They can also be used to better understand how your followers think. Trying to be the jokester on Twitter, though, is not an easy act. You need to do it right if your clowning around is to be taken seriously:
- Know what kinds of jokes to use: There are plenty of joke types to choose from. Choose the one that will best deliver your punchline.
- Don’t limit yourself to 140 characters: Aside from text-based jokes, you can also use images and videos to get your laughs out.
- Learn from other funny acts: Comedians and humor accounts are aplenty on Twitter. Follow the ones you like to get more ideas for your own jokes.
- Get your followers and other brands in on the act: By making your followers part of your comedy routine, you can increase engagement. On the other hand, dueling it out with other brands in funny banter can give you more audience mileage. This is a good time to do some hashtag marketing.
- Be prepared for the reactions: Not all of your jokes will elicit laughs, and some might even get your followers angry. Respond to these in a candid manner to keep their interest in you.
Follow these tips and you can be the next Twitter comedy star. Don’t be shy and tickle us with your funny tweets today.