Forget April Fool’s Day; these lessons in brand humanization last year round

April 17, 2014

It’s no secret that brands on social media must humanize themselves to attract and engage with larger audiences. Every year, April Fool’s Day provides an outlet for brands to show off their sense of humor, even if they’re reluctant to do so the rest of the year. The prankster holiday is over, but this year’s top online pranks can still serve as lessons for companies looking to strengthen their online voices.
1. Stay current. It is incredibly important for brands to make sure they are following key trends. Twitter reflected this in its April Fools Day prank. Amid the chatter about wearable technology, the company announced the “Twitter helmet,” which allows users to tweet through a simple “pecking” motion. In a time of Google Glass and smartwatches, an invention like this doesn’t seem too farfetched. The “hand-tooled leather case inspired by falconry hoods” may be a little much, though.
2. Know your audience. By having a complete understanding of whom you’re directing your content to online, you can produce more relevant posts that lead to greater engagement and growth of your follower base.  This April Fool’s Day, online student service Chegg released a video about new courses offered at the fictional “Chegg University” including Advanced Techniques in Flip Cup, Microwavable Culinary Arts, and Mastering the Art of the Selfie. By playing into their target market of college students, Chegg was able to create a successful campaign, complete with relevant engagement.
3. Find your level of funny. Don’t be afraid to show off your sense of humor online, but only at the level you feel comfortable. Netflix got a bit playful this year, tweeting about a “new” series titled “Rotisserie Chicken.” With nearly 1,000 retweets of just this tweet alone, it’s evident that this dry humor was perfect for both Netflix and its target audience. Staying at a level of humor you’re comfortable with will prevent your posts from seeming forced, which will only increase your relatability as a brand.
These April Fool’s Day pranks tapped into all three lessons listed above, but the lessons don’t have to stop when May comes around.  By staying current, knowing your audience and finding your own type of humor, you’ll be able to humanize your brand and find your distinct voice.
Looking for some added inspiration? Check out Metis on Twitter. While you’re there, let us know which April Fool’s Day prank was your favorite.

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