Networking in Berkshire - Business Event Details

Make sure the joke's not on you if you share a social media funny

Knock-knock.
Who’s there?
Annette.
Annette who?
Annette Curtain.

Boom-boom!

We will shortly share how that appalling piece of schoolboy humour nearly wrecked a beautiful working relationship, and by doing so we hope to demonstrate the thin line we tread when it comes to humour in business and in particular in social media.

We’re not saying there is no place for humour, because all work and no play could leave you one Chuckle short of a brother – or something like that – and it’s our firm belief that your social media feeds should not be totally bereft of humour.

But it must be the right kind of humour.

If your Twitter feed or Facebook timeline is one long stream of loud hailer announcements people will quickly get fed up with you and break their ties, so it's good to inject a smile or a laugh occasionally.

Our advice to clients is to create a great mixture of material that reflects your personality or the character of your business.

We don’t imagine that your whole working life is spent in ultra-serious mode, so why shouldn’t you use social media to convey your lighter side?

The key is to be natural. Don’t try to be something you’re not, because once others get to know you they will quickly see you as a fraud if your social media content does not reflect your true self.


Here’s our guide to humour in your social media streams.

  • Don't waste people's time. Anything that takes more than a minute to enjoy absolutely must be worthwhile.
  • If it's a video tell people how long the clip is and why you found it amusing before sending them through to it. Don't just say 'check this out’. People will quickly lose confidence in you if you feed them a duff link that uses up valuable time with no end result.
  • If it's a joke ask yourself if it passes the ‘would I tell my mum’ test? Remember that all kinds of people with different tastes are following your feeds, so even though humour is at its best when it’s edgy – it’s always best to play safe.
  • Cartoons play on the premise that someone is going to end up being mocked. If you are having a laugh at your own expense, of your industry's expense, then fine. But if the cartoon is mocking your customers then think very carefully before sharing.
  • Jokes are fine, but are they pertinent to your industry or customers? Or are you just sharing it for the sake of sharing a joke? If so, hold fire.
  • Misprints can be great fun, but don’t share them if it’s a valued client who will end up with a red face – unless you want a black mark next to your name.
  • Don’t tell people that what they are about to see is hilarious. Let them decide. 99 per cent of the time if something is labelled as hilarious – it isn’t.
  • We have many ‘isms’ to worry about now, and that’s probably a good thing, but make sure your ‘Friday funny’ is not going to leave you open to accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, or cause offence to any other group of people – or leave people thinking of you as a bully.


Our final piece of advice regarding humour – and this probably goes beyond the social media aspect of things, is to not give your clients nicknames – even if they are only shared privately in your office.

Not only is it disrespectful, but one slip of the tongue on the phone or one unintentional ‘reply to all’ in an email and it could spell the end of a beautiful relationship.

We know someone whose main point of contact in another office was a woman called Annette.

The sales team started calling her Miss Curtain, until one fateful day when a supposedly private conversation was picked up by the other person.

A sincere apology and a very generous ‘no harm done’ response from the woman in question just about rescued the situation, but the relationship was never the same again.

So – yes, share a joke and make people smile, but do it in the right way and err on the side of caution.

Views: 26

Comment by Andy Tully on June 25, 2014 at 17:04

Good advice!

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