I just read a great post on lessons for social media marketers can learn from comedians. In short, Patrick Shea suggested you engage with your audience, diversify beyond just text interactions, and keep a finger on your audience’s pulse. It got me wondering about all the comedians I’ve seen over the years, which brought to mind three more lessons we can learn from comedians.
1. Be Topical, but not too Topical
Lately jokes about Congressman Weiner are all the rage. If you’re doing standup right now, you’d better have some in your arsenal. Two years from now, though, nobody’s going to remember who this guy was. So don’t build an entire act around Weiner jokes (unless you’re like ten years old.)
For social media marketers, that means you need to spend some time talking about the prevailing developments of the day. Discuss the latest product or service developments, customer concerns, and outside influences of the day. However, don’t forget to also talk about those things that tend not to change over time – the reasons your customers use your product/service, the features and benefits you offer, and the fun you have helping customers to solve their problems.
2. Develop your own voice
There was only one Richard Pryor, one Eddie Murphy, one Chris Rock. Each heavily influenced the next, but were not simply clones – their styles and routines were varied and hilarious. Copycat comedians are a dime a dozen and can be found at many open mike nights, but copycats won’t find their way to prime venues like the Tonight Show or Conan. The best comedians know they need to find the style and voice that works for them.
Look at the topic of SEO – the web is rife with clones of years-old posts (many of which don’t apply more, if they ever did.) This post notwithstanding (!) you can’t simply regurgitate old topics and contribute nothing new to the conversation. If you want to stand out from the pack you need to bring new ideas and a fresh perspective.
3. Timing is everything
Great comedians are masters of timing. Knowing when to pause to let the audience fill in the blanks can be funnier than anything you might say in that space, or can pre-set the laughter that peaks with your punch line. Some comedians toil for years before they get their timing working, and some never quite make it. The best all have it in spades.
Be aware of your social media environment so you can better react to issues. Jumping on issues right away can nip problems in the bud that could take lots of time and money if handled later on.
Separately, anticipating trends and positioning your conversations at the right time can make maximum use of your efforts. After all, the greatest Christmas marketing campaign of all time won’t be of much use if you roll it out in January.
Patrick started this conversation, and I’ve moved it along. What other lessons can you come up with?