What Businesses Can Learn From Comedians About Social Marketing

Comedians and Twitter go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Comedians like Louis CKGilbert Gottfried, and Jenny Johnson among others have all made national news with their tweets.

On the day-to-day side of things, you practically need a group of comedians on your Twitter feed just to keep things interesting.

I was listening to an old Joe Rogan podcast the other day with Brian Redban and Bert Kreischer. I had to search this podcast out because it contains one of the funniest true stories that I’ve ever heard in my life.

I Am The Machine!

It’s so funny that, before we go any further, take a few minutes and listen to it yourself. Somebody was cool enough to work this up with South Park style animation, and the results are just sublime. If you’re a fan of stand up comedy and you’ve never heard of Bert Kreischer, then prepared to have a new favorite guy. Fair warning, it contains bad language.

The story came from Episode 95 of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast (around the 85 minute mark). At the beginning of the podcast – within the first three or four minutes, Joe and Bert get into a discussion about social marketing and how to approach it.

How to Approach Tweeting

At the time this podcast was recorded (April 2011), Bert had just started the second season of his show on the Travel Channel called Bert the Conqueror. It this way, Bert had the same problem we all have: how do you get people, not just to follow you on Twitter, but to do something for you (like watch your show or buy your stuff)?

Bert gets off the first gem. “Here’s my theory about promotion on Twitter. I think you have to promote with a joke, and that’s my rule. If I’m going to promote the show, I’ll do something funny to promote it and I think those get retweeted.”

Joe Rogan, who is a stand up, MMA ringside announcer, actor, host of the show Fear Factor, and a top podcaster has a different approach. “I’m not always funny. If I find some interesting s**t, I just throw up some interesting s**t. Anything I think is fascinating whether it’s funny or not. If I have to promote something, I promote something but I always try to treat it like I’m aware of people’s attention spans. And anything interesting that I find, I give to Twitter. Immediately. Give it back always.”

Content is Brand

What Bert and Joe are describing is how they tend their brand online. Bert’s style, as we’ll see, really fits his personality. People want to follow Bert because they like him. His followers tolerate a minimal amount of self-promotion. As a result, his tweets are meant to give you a positive association with him. Then whether he’s doing something for the Travel Channel or going on tour, people get into that stuff because they’re into his comedic style.

Joe Rogan, on the other hand, is much more famous. He’s known for his podcasts, which are essentially really long, interesting, filthy, hilarious, deep, fascinating, mind-blowing, weird, preverse, honest, manly, anything goes conversations. It’s consistently the #1 comedy podcast on iTunes. Millions of people tune in.

Rogan’s Twitter feed feels like an outgrowth of the podcast: a never ending stream of links to content.

Back on the podcast, Bert acknowledges the difference between the two of them when replying to Joe’s point of link spamming Twitter. “You’re a different animal than myself or Brian. If we promote, then people will just delete us. They’re like nope enough of your s**t. But people want to see your s**t. People don’t want to see our s**t. And when you’re pounding them left and right…”

At this point, Joe brings up an unnamed comedian whose only uses Twitter for promotion and does it lamely. They would take the same message and tweet at celebrities. “Kim Kardashian, it’s X. I have an album dropping on X date. Holla atcha boy.” Stuff like that.

The message is clear: don’t be that guy. Don’t be the guy that’s not participating in the community but rather just randomly tweeting at people with their own commercial. Give people a reason to follow you, and make sure that reason is consistent with how people already know you (and/or your brand). Also, respect people’s time. Have a high value to tweet ratio.

Hilarious Ways to Use Twitter

The problem, for those of us who aren’t comics is that we feel a real sense of trepidation over what we want to say. For comics, it’s natural to fire off witty one-liners to an audience. For yourself, it might feel like your first attempt at an open-mic night.

Like anything else, the only way you’re going to get good at it is if you dig in and give it a try. You have to find your voice.

If your voice happens to sound like Bert Kreischer, then you do something like…

I tweeted The Game on Sunday, like, an hour before my show started. I was like, “The Game, yo, are you in LA? I’m having a barbecue at my house. Bring over some potato salad.”

This was my favorite thing to do. I used to go onto black-centric trend topics. Just type in whatever the trend topic is, there’s going to be one that reads black. Like, mine was #vdaygiftsfordahood. Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Hood! And it’s just black people being racist about black people. It’s just them writing stuff like ‘Get her a click-clack. You know she needs a gun in da hood!’, ‘Get her another baby, you know she’s already got 10 of yours!’, ‘How about child support son!’.

And so I wrote back, ‘How about Dungeons & Dragons son!’ and no one got it. No one laughed at all and they started getting mad. Like, ‘What are you doing here man? Get out white boy! This is for the hood. Don’t you read the trend topic!?’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, how about a classy pen?’ They’re like, ‘A classy pen? What the f**k!’ And I was like, ‘Alright, alright, alright, one more chance. How about a bottle of champagne but spray it all over her like a ho.’ And they’re like, ‘That’s more like it.’

Now, that’s something a comedian can get away with that most businesses can’t mess with. But the point is: you’re not going to do well in social media if you aren’t getting involved with the conversation.

Bert had another idea that’s also hilarious and safe for work. He started a trend topic #WhatWillTheMaidThinkWhenSheSeesThis. The idea is to leave the hotel room in such a way so that when the maid comes in to clean the room she thinks, “What in the heck is going on here?”.

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– Be interesting
– Be creative
– Find your brand’s voice
– Go and engage your audience
– Have something of value to say
– Cultivate your audience
– Do more than just promote your stuff
– Do something that weirds out the maid

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