What Businesses Can Learn From Live Comedy

We’re currently working on a State of the Industry Report for Live Comedy and, as always when we conduct in-depth research, we uncover insights that apply across industries.

As part of our research, we did a bit of social listening across a sampling of popular comedy clubs to identify major themes in conversations about live comedy. Surprisingly, we found that live comedy audience members rarely spoke about their experiences at comedy clubs online, which was in slight conflict with survey responses that indicated word of mouth as the most influential marketing channel.

While it’s likely that many of these word of mouth exchanges are happening offline, we dug a little deeper to understand why online chatter was so low.

When listening for comedy club names, we found that 45% of relevant social mentions were made by potential audience members. However, only 38% of those mentions were from people who recently attended or expressed interest in attending a show. The majority of social mentions made by potential audience members were folks speaking to comedians expressing a desire to see them perform at their local comedy club.

So, what’s the insight here?

People are more inclined to engage with people than brands on social media. 

This isn’t news. No one signs up to Facebook with the intent of engaging in a dialogue with Proctor & Gamble. Everyone knows that people want to talk to people on social media, yet so few businesses take action behind that insight. How do you take action?

Build a personal brand that people want to engage with.

If personal branding isn’t your thing and you still want to increase social media buzz, then you need to do something bombtastic. Providing a seamless, positive customer experience isn’t good enough. I’d even go so far as to say that the recommendation of creating a “unique” or “special” customer experiences is too vague.

In the few cases where comedy club goers mentioned a show they’d recently gone to without the message being directed toward the actual comedian, the comedy clubs practically gave their audience members content to post. In one case, this was a photo opp with a comedian that the audience member wanted to show off on social. In the other handful of cases, it was a surprise drop-in by two high profile comedians.

What does this mean for all businesses?

If you’re trying to increase social media buzz:

  1. Recognize that your customers and target audience are publishers. They are constantly creating content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat, etc. And as publishers, they are always subconsciously looking for content to publish. 
  2. Understand that publishers have goals. Most people prefer to present their best selves on social media and “best” can mean a number of things – smart, interesting, witty, cool, wise, etc.
  3. Determine what story you’re going to give these publishers to tell. Ensure it will make them and your business look good. Please, please make it more interesting than “I went to this restaurant and had a great meal.” Remember, a good story has a beginning, middle, and maybe even a twist ending.
    • This is the only place that the word “unique” truly fits. Making this story unique to every customer in some way, even if it’s small, could make a huge difference. Publishers will re-publish old stories, but everyone loves feeling like they got the scoop on something new or different.
  4. Give them the tools to publish their story on whatever platform they choose. For Instagrammers, do you have a wall worth photographing against, is your packaging or product presentation on point? For the YouTubers, have you made your establishment video-friendly? Are your staff informed enough to answer questions? You may not be able to accommodate all of these different types of publishers, but look at your business and really think through how you’re helping your customers compose their next social media post.

This is just a taste of what businesses can learn from the comedy industry. Our full report covers a range of topics centered around audience preferences and insights for performers, theaters, and the business world alike.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *