The words “joke” and “presidential” aren’t typically a good pairing – except on August 11, when we celebrate Presidential Joke Day. There’s nothing more American than poking fun at the highest office when there’s an opening.
However, brands must be careful with humor – especially when politics are involved. Here’s how to use social analytics tools to safely participate, if you wish.
Understand What the Day Is About
Presidential Joke Day began in 1984 after off-the-record sound-check remarks from President Ronald Reagan were leaked to the public. Though the faux announcement about outlawing and bombing Russia wasn’t appreciated by everyone, many found it humorous, and a new national day was born.
The day is meant to point out humorous gaffes by past commanders-in-chief, sharing a laugh as we recognize the humanity and fallibility of the person behind the title. It’s not about being mean, or lambasting the sitting president because you don’t like the way things are going.
Social media is a hotbed of hatred so much of the time, it’s worth the effort to keep things light when possible. Play by the rules – or suffer the consequences.
Don’t Pick a Side
Even past presidents get people’s ire up – whether because they miss them, or they remember whatever they disliked at the time – so be careful with what you share.
If you appear to champion a particular political party, you may alienate everyone across the aisle. It’s not worth doing that just for the sake of sharing a few jokes. Be sure you stay neutral – unless you want to make a statement and are prepared to stand by it if things go off the rails.
Use Sentiment Analysis to Find Popular Content
Use a tool like NetBase Pro to find the best funny moments to share. For example, the Barack Obama/Joe Biden memes were a great source of fun throughout the 44th presidency. And people miss them:
These memes may not represent jokes or gaffes made by President Obama, but you can put your own spin on the day if you know your audience loves memes.
Use Image Analysis to Round Out Your Data
When speaking of memes, it’s a good time to talk about image analytics. Whether you’re a retail brand, candidate for office, or elected official, you want social analytics tools that include image analysis.
That way, even if you aren’t tagged or mentioned, you know when someone’s created a funny meme you can laugh along with, or one threatening reputational damage. This one is somewhere in the middle:
Note, there’s no mention of George W. Bush in the above image. That’s why image analytics are so important – to catch the non-verbal posts you want to know about.
Use Social Monitoring to Ensure Your Campaign Doesn’t Take a Turn
The poncho meme illustrates another vital point: you don’t have to still be in office for the internet to poke fun at you. Thanks to Presidential Joke Day, mistakes made during a presidency or beyond may live on forever.
From the public figure perspective, social monitoring is a smart move to know when you’re in the news or being mentioned with sudden volume.
For brands it’s the same thing – especially when running a campaign around a potentially charged occasion as Presidential Joke Day.
You need to stay on top of social response throughout to ensure your joke is well received. Follow along in real-time, and if there’s even the slightest indication that sentiment is changing, course correct as needed.
Do What Your Audience Tells You
Not every campaign idea will work for every brand. If your audience analytics don’t make a screaming case for participating in something like Presidential Joke Day, then sit this one out. Or give it a try, but follow the guidelines above to keep from landing in hot water.
Remember that while everyone makes mistakes, a president is still a president. Respect the office and you can’t go wrong.
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