Funny Pictures in Social Media and Why They Drive Massive Engagement

Did I decide to write this blogpost so I could show off my collection of hilarious cat pictures? Maybe.

Seriously though, there is a serious purpose to this topic. I promise.

When you stop and think about it, a large part of marketing is psychology; learning about the behavior of people, and why they do it, right? Well, I’ve been observing, you guessed it, the psychology of funny pictures in social media.

I recently read a post on Music Think Tank by Ariel Hyatt about a case study they did on several musician’s facebook pages. This one stood out to the researchers:

“Electronic producer Dillon Francis dominated our study with engagement rates as high as 25.48%, meaning a full quarter of those that receive his posts are liking, commenting, or sharing.  To put this in perspective, the average musician engagement rate in our study, including Dillon Francis, is 3.13%.  Francis alone had an average engagement rate 7x higher than the total average of the other nine musicians together.”

According to the infographic in the post, they attribute a great deal of his facebook success to his extensive use of funny pictures, especially memes about cats. ;)

Now, I got to thinking. Those are impressive numbers… really impressive. So I’ve been doing a little bit of experimenting and observing on my own. Nothing too fancy. Just general observations.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking based on my own behavior (yup, I analyze myself.. I’m weird like that) and what happens on pages that I manage when funny pics are posted:

Funny Pictures in Social Media: It’s Legit

*Headbrick* For When Facepalm is not enough

Source: 9gag.com via Rachel on Pinterest

As far as I’ve been able to tell from looking at my own stats, this seems totally legit. Every time I post a funny picture on my Facebook page, it fairly consistently ranks in the highest shares, likes, and comments department. Not always, but most of the time.

On Pinterest, funny pictures are a gold mine of repins and likes. Simple as that. They get pinned and re-pinned throughout my network. It’s really interesting to watch.

On twitter, it’s not quite as effective. I’m pretty sure it’s just because of it’s text-based nature. Pictures aren’t really twitter’s thing… yet.

Watching my own sharing habits and tendencies, social media professional aside, I so totally feel the urge to at least “like” funny pictures that come my way, if not comment on or share them. Somehow, I don’t think it’s just me.

Here’s why I think it works:

The Urge to Be In on the Joke

When I saw this I was like, Johnny Depp, Captain Jack Sparrow

Source: 9gag.com via Rachel on Pinterest

You hear laughter from the other room. Uproarious laughter. You feel inexplicably drawn to go see what’s so funny. Happens in my house all the time.

The same thing happens on social media. Humor is like a snowball. Someone thinks it’s funny, they share it, they like it. One of their friends sees it, thinks it’s cool and shares it or likes it. It just keeps going!

Sharing or liking a post is kinda like letting everyone else know that you got the joke. We feel the need to let somebody know that we are in on the joke. Just is that way…

Super Duper Easy to Share

Humorous photos are one of the easiest things to share. They are easy to understand, they make you look cool, and you rarely have to worry about relevance or other audience-careful thoughts.

With the click of a button, you’ve just provided awesome content. Now people think you are funny and they are more likely to remember you. Sweet deal.

It’s no wonder that Facebook pages devoted to funny pictures are some of the most popular.

Sometimes We Just Need.. Un-seriousness

Dumb Warning: Why Would I go diving in the toilet?

Source: i.imgur.com via Rachel on Pinterest

We all need to unwind every now and then. Laughing, giggling, chuckling, barking, whatever you do… it relieves stress. It momentarily takes away cares and helps our muscles relax.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always more clear-headed after I’ve had a good laugh.

Even if you are running a serious business, and you have serious stuff to talk about, it’s still a good idea to break out your funny every now and then. I used to go to a regular meeting where there was a tradition of telling a few jokes before we got down to very serious note-taking business. My favorites were the warnings on products that were written by people who didn’t speak english very well, or the ones where you could tell that company got sued for something really stupid or weird. hahaha…

Anyway, it’s good for your body and brain to laugh often.

Sooo, How Can I Get In on the Coolness?

The coolest part of using funny pictures in your social media is that it’s really fun and easy for you!

Here’s what I do:

1. I keep a Pinterest board of funny pictures. Every now and then I surf through the “humor” section and post a whole bunch of the ones I think are funny. Plus, I repin any good stuff that comes through my stream.

2. I followed a few facebook pages devoted to funny pictures. This one is my favorite because it is appropriate for all audiences and it pumps out several goodies every day. There’s also “Classical Music Humor” that shares pictures my fans usually like. All I have to do is check Facebook, see it in my stream, and if I like it, click share and select the page I want it sent to.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with using funny pictures in social media!

  • Have you had success with it?
  • Did the idea bomb, or just… do nothing different for you?
  • Are there other good reasons for using funny pictures?