Adding Humor to Social Media Marketing (8:17)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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Tim Washer, the Social Media Manager at Cisco, is bringing a unique element to the company’s social media efforts. When appropriate, he and his team incorporate humor. In this interview from the Inbound Marketing Summit, Washer tells WebProNews how humor can be a valuable asset.

His team, specifically, works on the service provider marketing side of the company, which includes a very niche audience of service providers. Their goal is to keep this audience engaged in the community. Although this audience is used to very technical items such as white papers and mega test results, Washer and his team have brought an entertainment aspect to the table as well.

The team recently produced a commercial suggesting an $80,000 router as Valentine’s Day gift. They pushed the router over the typical gift of a Whitman’s box of chocolates saying it would be a great improvement. Incidentally, their plan proved to be a success.

Another unique concept Cisco did recently involved a company manager logging a trip to Asia on a flip camera. This was not a humorous approach, but it brought a human connection to the brand.

Although adding humor and creativity to social efforts can be very effective, there is a risk involved. Washer suggests that other companies look at their full marketing plan and ask how they can use social media to help create awareness, amplify their message, and create engagement with the audience. If humor does not add value to these areas, then it should not be used.

“You have to have a portfolio strategy, I think, with social media; in particular, if you’re doing videos and humor,” says Washer.

He went on to say that some experiments would go viral and be successful, but he said that it is critical that companies understand that not every one will be a hit.

For Cisco, The New York Times, Network World, and CNET wrote about their commercial, which not only further promoted it, but also provided influence.

Have you considered adding humor to your social media campaign?

Posted in: Advertising and Marketing, Inbound Marketing Summit 2010, Online Video, Social Media, Tim Washer
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