April Fools’ Day: Played Out, or Smart Social Strategy?
April 1, 2014
April 1, 2014
Be extra-kind to your social media manager on April 1, for all corners of the Internet are riddled with jokes, scams, and assorted click-bait that is just too good to be true. Even reliable trade publications and mainstream news outlets are not above suspicion on the first day of the fourth month.
For those of us who spend the better part of our day online representing our clients and companies, we must always balance good judgment with joining a timely conversation. But it’s necessary to be extra-vigilant on April Fools’ Day.
There is also, of course, the temptation to join in on the fun. A quick scan of my Twitter feed shows the Peanuts character Woodstock “hacked” Garfield the Cat’s feed:
— Garfield (@Garfield) April 1, 2014
And that Samuel Adams beer introduced “HeliYUM”:
We've seen a lot of excitement about our newest brew HeliYUM – be sure to check out the product page for more info: http://t.co/9s2g3rCq66
— Samuel Adams Beer (@SamuelAdamsBeer) April 1, 2014
And that Donald Trump is replacing New York City’s bike-sharing program:
— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) April 1, 2014
They’re all cute stunts. Samuel Adams’ video complementing the prank is brilliant. The Trump segment likely had some people riled up before they took a look at the calendar. But should it be a part of your brand’s overall strategy?
I say it’s not worth it. Sure, you’ll get a short-term gain in engagement and maybe increase brand awareness a bit, but some longtime followers and fans may be more annoyed than amused. As more companies relay important information on social networks, consumers and partners instinctively view the content on social channels as honest—or at least obvious when it’s being funny. Unless you’re the Onion, you should build a reputation on solid information, not the best prank.
But, maybe I’m just taking it all too seriously. Has your brand found an upside to participating in April Fools’ Day on social media? Let us know in the comments.