Look, it isn’t essential to be funny on social media—but my goodness, it helps. Humour is a hugely powerful currency on social, but beyond likes and engagement, how does cracking a joke on social media actually impact your bottom line?

Humour is often the catalyst to help explode your post into something viral. But it’s harder to confirm a link to other popular success metrics, like driving revenue, building brand awareness, breaking into new markets or all of the above. So how does humour relate to these goals?

LinkedIn Poll from Sprout asking consumers how important humour is when deciding to follow a brand on social media.Social

Hear me out: Authentic humour drives real results

Audiences like to be entertained. Being funny will get you likes, followers and shares—which in turn are all very powerful in getting you even more likes, followers and shares. It’s a great organic way to grow your network.

But as the poll above shows, humour isn’t a guaranteed winner of favour. It’s important to assess whether humour fits your brand. If you can blend humour into your social media presence in a way that feels natural and authentic, it’s almost a guaranteed win.

Aldi Stores UK is a wonderful example of how to blend branded messages with casual, irreverent humour in a way that keeps audiences engaged. They have a loyal following of over half a million people who follow them to not only hear about special offers in store, but also see them cheekily interact with other brands, join in trending conversations and chat like a person rather than a shop. While humour is clearly a tactic they employ, it is done in a way which fits their brand. Yes, it’s a little bit silly, but it’s accessible, current and appealing.

The allure and reward of being funny on social media is significant. But in the pursuit of comedy, it’s not uncommon for brands to try to play to trends, and to make jokes that don’t align with their values or audiences. On the surface, the results may look the same—you will get likes and new followers—but these wins will be short lived. When you don’t speak in a way that is authentic to your brand, values or target customer, you won’t attract the audience you need or desire.

What come after the punchline

The business value of your organic social following and engagement is determined by what marketers do with them. Social media used to be considered a “top of the funnel” activity. This is to say, it was great for brand awareness, and for helping people find out about you. However, consumers now use social for the entire customer journey, from awareness right down to purchase and customer advocacy.

If you gain followers with your humour, that’s great! But don’t forget to think about how you will keep them and lead them through the sales funnel.

ROI is in many ways a vague term. To truly link it to your social media, you need to get specific with what it actually means for your business. Defining what ROI means for your brand will inform what you do to help followers take the next step with your business.

Marketing funnel showing top of funnel down to the bottom is awareness, consideration, decision, adoption, advocacy.

Make it easy for followers to do what you need

Not convinced that followers equate to action? The Sprout Social Index™ 2021: UK and Ireland Edition shed some light onto the propensity of social media followers to add value for business.

Chart showing the top 4 actions consumers take when they follower brands on social with 92% visiting the brand's website or app.

In a world of distractions and competition, winning and keeping followers is a constant challenge. Once you’ve won them over, be clear about the actions you’d like them to take. Best part is, you can still use humour to do so.

Perhaps you’d like more website visits? Make sure that you regularly share highlights from your website. Looking to increase sales? Why not sell directly from your social media channels? In this Beauty Bay example, they use humour to alert their followers to a new sale email.

Humour is no silver bullet, but it is a powerful tool for your social arsenal. Like all powerful tools, you’ll get the most value when you know how to use it correctly. When brands acknowledge that social powers the sales funnel and in fact, the entire customer journey, the right dose of humour can be both an eyeball magnet and a call to action.