Whatever it is you’re looking for, the Internet will have you covered. Whether it’s advice on lawn mower maintenance, recipes using kale, local restaurant reviews or even video clips of a cat playing piano you’re never more than a few clicks away from your goal. Why do I mention ‘cats playing piano’ you may be asking? Well, if you haven’t already seen ‘Keyboard cat’, you’ll be amongst a small number. Keyboard Cat is exactly what you’d expect from the title, a cat (who happens to be wearing a T-Shirt, naturally) playing a keyboard. The original video has to date racked up over 40,000,000 views but it doesn’t end there. The trend for ‘Play him off, Keyboard Cat!’ saw the original clip being added to the end of other funny videos, which in turn inspired a website to be created to host all such examples. This meant that in total, the views for Keyboard Cat were insurmountable. Enough, that’s for sure.
So why is all this relevant? Well, it’s very indicative of the language of the Internet: Humour... and cats, but mostly humour.
Creating good web content is all about getting views (and ultimately hitting your goals). Without views, your content is almost totally irrelevant. To get views, you want your efforts to be shared around the web as much as possible. In that lies the challenge; how do you get someone to share something? If we look at the other examples mentioned, it is about providing an answer. If your lawn mower is in need of repair, you want to find out what could be wrong with it and how to fix it. If you like Kale, you’re looking for inspiration and if you want to eat out, you know where is best to go and where to avoid. These are all interesting and great points for you as an end user, but not necessarily widely shareable.
As humans, we all like to laugh. They say ‘laughter is the best medicine’ and psychologically laughter does indeed have many benefits to our health and our happiness. Go to any wedding or party, and you’ll see groups of people, mostly trying to make each other laugh. When we hear a good joke, we try to remember it to tell someone else and it’s this behaviour that translates to the modern web via funny pictures and videos. From a Nielsen global survey of trust in advertising that saw nearly 30,000 people from 58 countries polled, 47% of the respondents said that humours adverts had the biggest affect on them – that stat should make you appreciate that comedy sells.
So, how can we apply this to what we do? Well, firstly it’s important to not take yourself too seriously. Yes, we’re businesses and yes, we should be professional but let’s not pretend that we all find this, that or the other funny, we’re just human! Self deprecation has always been a classic form of comedy and it can indeed work in the business world.
Remember though, being ‘funny’ can be risky, what some find funny, others might find distasteful or offensive. Some companies have paid the price with misguided social posts; for example, trying to use a hashtag linked with riots to promote your latest products is definitely not encouraged. Kenneth Cole made this mistake but did later apologise and made a statement about it on their Facebook page. Make sure you run a potential post past several sets of eyes first, or just play it safe and use cats.
Use cats. Two words, powerful statement. The Internet loves cats. Just look at the success of Keyboard Cat, Grumpy Cat and various other famous moggies. Cats (and other cute animals) get shared, especially if they are doing something funny. Of course, this isn’t an exact rule or instruction; I am not literally telling you to go plastering cats all over your social posts. Instead, this serves as more of a metaphor to find those things that people like and incorporate it into your social posts. However when you see Grumpy Cat's net worth, it makes you realise the value of cats online.
So to conclude, don’t be afraid to try and add some humour to your posts, as humour is after all the language of the Internet. We all like a laugh and we will always share funny things. Just remember to be respectful and know when to use humour and when not to. Show potential posts to a few trusted people first off to get feedback. Look at the ‘big’ companies and see how they do things, and if all else fails, just stick a picture of a cat in a party hat on your social images.
(This post was written by a dog owner)