April Fool's Day - it's just a bit of a laugh isn't it?

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April Fool’s Day – just a bit of a laugh isn’t it?

01 April

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There’s a lot of mystery which surrounds the origins of April Fool’s Day with no-one really knowing for sure how the tradition for the day of pranks came about.

But, one thing we do know is that it has become a bit of a marketer’s dream. Many a communications professional will spend the latter days of March working up a fun spoof press release or social media post to share on the morning of April 1.

It has whipped up so much gusto that it has become a favourite for the newspapers themselves, Some run print versions of those less-than-accurate stories. A couple of newspapers plant their own April Fool’s Day stories on their pages. Other news websites do round-ups of their favourite April Fool’s Day stories of the year later in the day.

So, what lessons can we take from this and is it worth your company getting involved?

Putting out a fun story on April Fool’s Day can be a great way of getting the attention of the media. We know that they have an appetite for it and the funnier the better – particularly if it comes with a suitably photoshopped image. This could be a good tactic for your brand, particularly if you use it to reach out to and/or get on the radar of audiences who you may not usually interact with.

April Fool’s Day posts often get a lot of interaction on social media. Those Facebook reactions, Twitter retweets and Instagram likes can roll right in, if you get it right. For example, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home reached an international audience of more than one million people with interaction rates going into the hundreds of thousands with a Facebook post about how it was currently looking after a lion.

A good and effective April Fool’s Day story doesn’t need to cost much, if anything at all. The biggest expense may be the time spent brainstorming suitable ideas and creating your snippet of content.

There’s no need to put budget behind your social media activity on this occasion. The best way to circulate these social media posts is organically. Then, leave it to your social media networks to do the work for you and spread the message far and wide. It is likely that this will draw your post to the attention of new people, which may even help to grow your online audience for future gain too.

But, before getting carried away, it is important to consider what specific joke and accompanying messaging you are putting out there. If your post is picked up and becomes even a small viral sensation, you do not want it to reflect negatively on your brand at all.

Anything which you send out to your audiences needs to be aligned with your company’s usual tone of voice. Yes, it needs to be something out of the ordinary, maybe somewhat outlandish, to get people’s attention on April Fool’s Day. But, it shouldn’t be out of step with your brand values, either.

Don’t expect too much from it either. Some brands do enjoy a lot of social media success to kick off April. But, competition is fierce to get those laughs. It may be that your content doesn’t set the digital world alight but it is still worth doing. No matter what, it shows your brand’s personality and character which may not be possible in the other types of content you share.

Also, don’t expect an April Fool’s Day prank to lead to conversions or sales. It is purely an exercise in brand awareness and timely exposure. The best result you could really expect is for someone to actually be fooled by your spoof story – which has happened in the past for some big brands. For example, who wasn’t disappointed when Hunter announced that they weren’t actually making wellies for dogs.

So, did you spot our April Fool’s Day post this morning? If you like what you see, find out more about our social media services here.

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