Do you have the ability to make people laugh?
Some people just seem to have the gift.
In lots of situations they can crack a joke or make a one-line comment and people bust out laughing.
It can seem like that ability is genetic, something those people are born with. But I think it goes beyond genetics. I think the ability to make people laugh can be learned and honed over years of experience and effort.
According to recent studies, the ability to make people laugh has two important outcomes as it relates to social media:
1) Laughter is contagious
2) Laughter is attractive
Two things you hear when it comes to social media are “viral” and “followers”. Laughter has the potential to go viral on social media and it has the ability to attract followers.
Should you work laughter into your social media strategy?
It’s probably a good idea. You might not crack them up with every tweet or Facebook post. It might take time to find your groove, but if you commit to adding laughter to your social media updates it should lead to a greater following and influence.
Here are some tips for making people laugh on social media.
Tip #1. Self-Depcrecation That Others Can Relate To
It’s always risky to poke a little fun of others. It can work just fine, but there are risks. You can offend some people. It can be okay in some instances, but you risk the humor falling flat.
Focusing the humor at your own faults is a good way to go. A number of people are funny because they can make fun of themselves, but the real trick seems to be that others can relate.
Remember the stories that Jeff Foxworthy would tell in the ’90s? You might be a redneck if…
Those are classics. Jeff often made fun of his own family, friends and himself. The stories were funny, but what really made things funny to so many people is that a lot of people would hear the story and instantly think about themselves.
You might be a redneck if you cut the lawn and find a car. You know who you are…
Just about anyone can do this. Identify the group or groups that you fit into. Find the common, ridiculous things that define that group and you’ll have some potential humor.
Here’s one example:
A day in the life of a blogger…Get up at 9 AM. Open computer and start writing the day’s first post…okay I need coffee before this is going to happen…okay back at the computer…this post is going to get done…wait, what’s happening on Twitter…I need to check these emails…what’s happening on Facebook….no way!!! They went to Australia!!! I hate them…It’s already noon? I should probably shower and put some clothes on…okay, this post is getting done now for sure…mail is here…New email? I have to watch this video on YouTube…oh man, the new trailer is out for Star Wars…3:00 PM already?! Crunch time on this post…wait, what’s happening on Instagram…5:00 PM? I guess I can do this post tomorrow…
Tip #2. Statements, Not Jokes
It’s good to go through life with a solid collection of about 5 jokes. You never know when they might come in handy. With your friends at the bar. With potential clients and co-workers. At the family Christmas get together.
Jokes can clear the tension in the room and get the conversation flowing. And they’re memorable.
So it’s good to have a few jokes in your memory for the right occasions.
But it’s rarely jokes that make us laugh every day. It’s more often just a statement in the right situation at the right time. Laughter is a form of communication. It’s showing the people you’re with that you understand them.
And that’s a key point. You have to understand the people you’re with. Misjudge the situation and your statement meant for laughter will land dead and potentially even be insulting.
Statements can also be stories. As long as they relate to the people you’re targeting it can really hit home as funny.
Let’s say you realize that a few of your followers are fans of the same team that you root for. You can share a story about your love for the team, maybe even a self-deprecating story. It should be a winner with people that can relate.
Tip #3. Timing
There might be nothing more important in making people laugh than timing. You can have a killer statement or story, but say it at the wrong time and you’ll get crickets.
You have to get a feel for the conversation and the flow. You have to feel the emotion in the situation. If it’s on the serious side it can be tricky to work in humor. But if the conversation is generally good natured and if there have been one or two laughs already it can be the perfect time to chime in with a funny statement or story.
Let’s say you’re golfing with three other people. One person the group finds a golf ball in the woods and says, “I don’t play this brand? You want it? What kind of ball do you like to play?”