Learn How To Use Humor In Social Media To Keep Your Audience Engaged

social media humorUsing humor on social media is a dangerous animal.

If you use it wrong it could totally flop.

If you use it right it could go viral.

Well don’t worry.

I’m not going to sit here and be one of those gurus who tries to tell you there’s some kind of formula for going viral.

But I at least want to help you find a happy medium between going viral and using humor that totally flops.

Let’s call that being entertaining.

It’s possible to be entertaining on social media even if you’re not not typically the funniest person at the party when you’re offline.

On the other hand, if you have a reputation as being the funny friend offline that doesn’t necessarily mean your style of humor will translate well on social media.

The online world has its own style of humor, and if you’re going to use humor on social media it’s best to become familiar with what the Internet finds funny.

You’re probably wondering why bother trying to be funny if humor is not something that comes naturally to you. Well, in this post I’m going to go over the benefits of using humor on social media.

I’m also going to go over the intricacies of the Internet’s style of humor and show you where to find some examples to use as inspiration.

Finally I’m going to wrap it all up by showing you how to put it into action.

Ready to learn how to use humor in social media? Let’s go!

The Benefits Of Using Humor On Social Media

Before going into how to use humor effectively, let’s talk about why you would even want to use it in the first place.

Humor is great for a number of things:

  • It gives a personality to your business.

  • It grabs attention.
  • It helps lighten the mood in between your more serious updates.
  • Humorous updates are memorable.
  • Humorous updates are highly shareable.
  • Humorous updates are more likely to get commented on, liked, retweeted etc.
  • Getting likes and comments improves your EdgeRank on Facebook, which gets your posts higher in the news feed without paying to promote them.

These should be compelling enough reasons for you to want to at least add humor once in a while to your updates.

Think about the stuff you see getting commented on, liked, shared and retweeted on social media most often.

It’s usually updates that are insanely useful, uniquely interesting, or something that makes people laugh.

You need to have a combination of all these things in your social media marketing to keep your audience engaged. If you can agree with that, then let’s go on to the differences between online and offline humor.

The Internet Has Its Own Style Of Humor

Internet humor is something that takes some time to wrap your head around.

If you don’t spend a lot of time browsing Reddit, 9gag, Tumblr or 4chan then you might not be totally familiar with what the Internet finds funny.

You might have no trouble getting people laughing when in a room full of your offline friends, but online that same joke or quip might totally flop.

It’s worth it to take some time to grasp Internet humor because that’s what tends to really go over well on social media. The following sections are intended to be a guide to that style of humor.

What Does The Internet Find Funny?

The internet loves visual humor. A witty tweet is great and all, but when it’s accompanied by a visual it’s way more effective. Same goes for a Facebook update, Google Plus post, and especially a pin on Pinterest.

The Internet Loves Memes!
Not sure what a meme is? I guarantee you’ve seen them floating around social media but just didn’t know what they were called.

Lately I’ve been adding a meme to all of my blog posts because it makes the post more shareable and stands out in a stream of links with boring stock photos.

So, a meme by definition is:

A virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea. A meme (rhymes with “team”) behaves like a flu or a cold virus, traveling from person to person quickly, but transmitting an idea instead of a lifeform.

Source: About.com

These days what memes have evolved into look something like this:

grumpy cat memeThis meme is called grumpy cat. You’ve probably seen it a bunch of times.

It’s quite popular and started just how most memes start.

Someone found a funny picture and added a caption to the top and bottom.

Then other people started adding their own captions and it spread like wildfire.

Memes are pretty much centered around one character that has a distinct tone of voice and personality.

The humor is added with bold text captions on the top and bottom. There are extremely easy ways to create these, which I will show you a little later in this post.

I’ll also show you where you can find more types of memes for inspiration, but first lets go on to more types of Internet humor you can use on social media.

The Internet Loves GIFs!
Gifs are huge on the Internet. They’re basically animated images that last a few seconds and then loop.

Unfortunately you can only really share them on Twitter because the other social networks aren’t well equipped to display gifs properly.

But that’s ok, because Twitter is a big enough social network for you to get some pretty good mileage out of sharing gifs.

Take this one for example:


There are so many situations where you could use a gif like this. I can think of one right now…

That moment when you finally realize how to use humor on social media.

Put that in a tweet, followed by a link to the gif, and bam! Retweets everywhere.

Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but whenever I share a well-placed gif I’m sure to get at least several retweets out of it.

I’ll show you some resources for great, shareable gifs further on in this post.

The Internet Loves Interesting/Unusual Things Found In Real Life
This sounds pretty vague, but people are taking pictures of funny things they come across all the time and sharing them online.

There’s no harm in re-sharing them if they’re appropriate to the type of business you’re in.

Here’s an example:

example of social media humourI found this while browsing Reddit one day.

I’m in the business of social media consulting, so I shared it as an example of a restaurant with a great social media strategy.

People loved it. We’ve all seen way too many Instagram pictures of food.

It clicked with them and they liked/commented/retweeted the hell out of it.

There’s no doubt funny stuff like this out there that’s specific to your business and resonates with your audience.

I’ll show you some great resources for these kinds of images further on in this post.

The Internet Loves Ironic E-Cards
Ironic e-cards are designed like greeting cards but contain messages you wouldn’t expect.

Here’s one as an example:

another example of social media humor

Look familiar? You’ve probably seen these around before. They’re huge on Facebook and Pinterest.

If you’re a bar owner who uses social media that would be a particularly awesome e-card to share.

You can make some for any business you’re in if you just get creative. I’ll link you to where you can do that further on in this post.

Where To Find Funny Stuff To Share On Social Media

This is one of the most important sections of the whole post because it’s where I’m going to reveal all of my sources.

These are the places I go for inspiration and to find all the hilarious things I share on social media.

Reddit is a must. Within Reddit there are tons of sub-reddits. Here’s one for funny images, here’s one for memes, and here’s one for funny gifs.

After Reddit, Tumblr is my next source for cutting edge Internet humor. Here’s a link for all posts tagged as funny.

Compared to Reddit and Tumblr, Pinterest is usually a little late to the game when it comes to funny stuff. But it’s still worth paying attention to. Here’s a link to the humor category.

A site a lot of people love, that I’m not a big fan of, is 9GAG. I hardly ever go there because they just curate stuff found elsewhere, and the humor tends to be a bit juvenile. You can still find some gems once in a while though.

If all you want to look at is ironic e-cards, then you can get your fix right here.

Where To Create Your Own Funny Things To Share On Social Media

If you’re feeling brave enough to use your own sense of humor on social media, rather than sharing someone else’s, here are the places to do it.

If you want to create your own memes, go to Quickmeme. It couldn’t be more simple to create your own memes and share them directly from that site.

If you’re really getting the hang of memes and want to create them on the go, there’s an iPhone app I love called Meme Creator. It’s 99 cents but it’s much better than any of the free ones. Sometimes I get a great idea for a meme while I’m out and about and that’s how I get it out into the world.

If you want to create your own ironic e-cards then that’s done on the same site I linked you to before. On that site you can also find links to iPhone and Android apps.

Have fun!

Wrapping It Up

I’m not kidding around when I say that I’ve told you everything I know about Internet humor and how to use humor on social media in this comprehensive post.

Together I want us to make social media a funnier and more entertaining place to spend our time.

But most importantly I want you to take what I’ve taught you and use humor effectively to give your business some personality, grab the attention of your audience, and skyrocket your social media engagement!

I can’t wait to see what you create. If you’d like to share some of your creations, share some other funny stuff you found or add more tips for others then please do so in the comments section below!

Share Button


  1. says

    Matt, I did not know what a meme was. I do love those e-cards, they are so shareable on Pinterest. Love to make some of my own up, thanks for sharing the advice. I haven’t been on Reddit in so long I forget my login and sign-in. Maybe I will re-sign up. I had been thinking about it.

    • Matt Southern says

      Hey Lisa, the great ting about Reddit is you don’t have to be a member or be logged in to browse all the great content on there. You only need to be signed in if you want to post something of your own or add to some the the discussions. Maybe that’s something I should go back and edit into this post. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment!

  2. says

    Social media has created their own virtual world for users. They want to have each and everything right there, just as you mentioned Humor too!! Interesting Aspect. I got something from bio that Matt; you are a digital strategist. So i would like to have a similar informative post from you regarding the upcoming concepts and aspects of social network design. Thanx for beautiful post

    • Matt Southern says

      Hi TechMero, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I was wondering if you could be a bit more specific as to what type of post you were looking for in regards to social network design. Like what questions would you want me to answer in the post, what information were you looking to get out of it etc? I love taking suggestions from readers and want to make sure I’m as thorough as possible.

  3. says

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your
    articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and all.
    But think of if you added some great graphics or videos to
    give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but
    with images and clips, this website could certainly be one of the best in its field.
    Fantastic blog!

  4. Matt Southern says

    Great use of an e-card in your blog post! Asperger’s Syndrome is something I’m very familiar with so I can really relate to it as well.

    Viral memes are definitely impossible to create intentionally. The best memes always come out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. But that’s what makes the Internet so much fun, there’s always something new going viral.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Leave a Reply