Humor + Content Strategy on Facebook Posts

Why did the social media manager cross the road? To engage followers with compelling content that drives conversions and creates brand awareness among key influencers.

OK, not funny.

But since late August, I’ve been trying an experiment on the University of Rochester Facebook page that hopefully does bring the funny. The Geek Joke of the Week is an attempt to share a bit of re-shareable humor, while also reinforcing one of the key aspects of our school’s reputation — its brand, if you will.

Facebook post reads Geek Joke of the Week for computer science majors: a foo walks into a bar and says Hello World

We are a geek school. There is no denying it, there is no hiding it, there is no shame in it. We have a Quidditch team. Our top three majors are biology, biomedical engineering, and brain and cognitive sciences. More than a quarter of our students graduate with double majors and even triple majors. Meeting a double major in microbiology and Russian who’s also an all-star on the field hockey and lacrosse teams is not usual. Her name is Amanda.

Facebook post reads Your Geek Joke of the Week for music and math double majors. I'm starting a new band called the Exponents but we still need a base.

The Geek Joke of the Week is an attempt to do a few things: (1) use the emotional immediacy of humor to (2) introduce or reinforce something real and meaningful about us while (3) having fun on a fun platform. Tim Nekritz recently wrote about the importance of thinking through what it is your school represents and thinking about how to represent THAT in even simple posts about the weather. Couldn’t agree more. It’s why we celebrate May the Fourth Be With You on our page but not, say, National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Conversely, I’m betting the folks at Chips Ahoy celebrate the heck out of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day but Star Wars Day, not so much.

Facebook post with a photo of bananas and text that reads Your Geek Joke of the Week for biology majors. Wanna hear a potassium joke? K.So how have these posts fared so far? So far, so good. The Geek Joke of the Week posts have tended to reach around half of our fans, and have garnered better-than-average likes, comments, and shares (with the caveat that I am getting increasingly frustrated by and skeptical of the analytics Facebook provides).¬†Interestingly, the one post I posted as a photo — the bananas over there on the left — saw far less reach than the other text posts: 6,800 compared to 10,000-12,000 for the others. Why? Who the heck knows. <shakes fist at Facebook!>

The most liked, commented on, and shared of these jokes has been the one at the end of this post devoted to English majors, proving that not all geeks are science geeks. We have geeks of many stripes here, and crucially the jokes are about celebrating that geekiness. They come from a place of love, of insider knowledge and community, not a place of meanness or cruelty.

So I think I’m gonna keep this up, but the next step needs to be asking people to send in their own jokes. I’m having a heck of a time coming up with jokes about political science or economics.

Facebook post reads: Geek Joke of the Week for English majors. Past, PResent, and Future walked into a bar. It was tense.



  1. Jodi says:

    This is such a clever idea (no surprise since it’s coming from you!). I am always on the lookout for good economics and finance jokes to share. I’ve even tried crowdsourcing this with our students…so far, it seems there is limited supply to meet my demand (get it? GET IT??)

  2. TimN says:

    Love the Geek Joke of the Week feature and awesome to see your community sharing their humor is well. Thanks for the link … coming from someone doing great things like you, I consider it a high compliment!

  3. Jeff Stevens says:

    You had me at potassium, Lori. Great, clever idea. We’ve discussed doing something similar here for the College of Medicine, but it’s hard to find something that tickles the funny bone that stays withint he bounds of appropriateness for a medical institution.

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