« Big Idea post from the Splash blog | Main | Staff value: it's a big idea, even if it shouldn't be »

Make 'em laugh

One last post for social media month, almost still in the actual month of November. With seven days out of the office in the last two weeks, I consider this a success. Let's just pretend today is November 33rd.

Anyway. When was the last time your association did something funny? Something worth anything beyond a chuckle? I won't be surprised if it's been a while.

Jamie Notter made a good point on the SocialFish blog earlier this week about the need for associations to be more "human" to succeed with social media. I agree, but I'll go a step further: associations need to grow a sense of humor to succeed with social media, too.

Think of the last YouTube video that someone emailed or Tweeted to you, saying "you gotta see this." Chances are, it was something funny. The founding father of viral videos is the Numa Numa guy. Nearly 33.5 million people have watched the grainy video of him flailing and lip-synching in front of his computer. Why? Because it's freakin' hilarious.

But trying to "go viral" is the extreme. More broadly, humor is important because social media demands a higher level of personality in all of your communication. Stodgy, impersonal business copy just doesn't work anymore, even in a business environment.

Humor builds good will. If you make your members laugh, it puts them in a good mood, and later they associate that good mood with their perceptions of your association (consciously or subconsciously). Take a look at any survey of what people say they seek in romantic partners; sense of humor is always near the top of the list. This isn't rocket science. It's just human nature.

I do my best to keep informed of interesting things going on in the association community (because, you know, it's a large part of my job), but I struggle to recall many examples of associations being particularly funny. It took me a while just to dig up these links (and one of them was posted on Acronym in July!):

Note one common thread: the examples above are all good examples of self-deprecation, possibly the easiest and safest form of comedy (heck, I even tried it at the start of this post). You don't risk offending anyone if you're the butt of your own joke.

Traditionally, associations have taken themselves too seriously (making them more often the target of jokes and parodies than the source). In the age of social media, failing to be funny is missing an opportunity to build good will—or to even hit a homerun with something viral.

If you have some more examples of associations being funny, please mention them in the comments below. They can give us all a good laugh and serve as inspiration as well.



I don't know about funny, but the American Bar Association's Legal Rebels tour sounded pretty cool to me:


I still think the "dance fever" video that you produced and shared at ASAE in San Diego but couldn't release becuase of music permissions is one of the funniest things I'd seen in a long time. Greg shared the Assn Forum video when he spoke at last year's DMAW Association Day and it made us all laugh. I spoke at the NPA (Parking Association) conference and they apparently end the general session most years with a member's compilation of his favorite security camera videos of the dumbest and funniest accidents. It's pretty amazing what people do in a parking facility...

Comments are now closed on all posts.