April showers may bring May flowers, but it also delivers National Humor Month. As the adage goes, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone."
While we all love a great joke, can humor be used to help you sell more homes?
As any savvy agent will tell you, real estate is all about relationships. And, as musician and comedian Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
Multiple studies tell us that humor can be a catalyst for building a positive client relationship. Stanford University lecturers Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas, authors of Humor, Seriously. Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life, found that showing your sense of humor can help people perceive your confidence and cultivate a sense of trust. In scientific terms, when we laugh with someone our brains release the hormone oxytocin, which helps to form an emotional bond with that person.
Besides helping you connect with clients and colleagues, humor can alleviate tension, and, most importantly, foster trust.
Humor also can help you stand out from the competition. You don’t necessarily need to be a standup comic or use humor in every marketing campaign, but an occasional surprising photo or self-deprecating social media post about things that happen to you as a real estate agent can make you memorable.
But is humor something you should use? Maybe. Experts say it depends because there is always a risk that something you think is funny may rub someone else wrong.
Keeping your humor clean and relatable can make a big difference in how you’re perceived. Think Jim Gaffigan, not George Carlin.
You may want to consider finding a coach to help you learn to use humor to your advantage and to avoid offending people. If you’re not comfortable with your own humor or try too hard to make people laugh too often, it could even backfire and make you seem unprofessional.
Tips for using humor in your real estate marketing
Eric Simon, a Los Angeles real estate agent and creator of The Broke Agent, offers some guidelines about how to use humor to help your real estate business:
- Stay top-of-mind in an entertaining way. Simon suggests creating real estate-related memes for your social media to make people laugh and notice your posts.
- Be thoughtful in your content. Target your humorous posts to your audience and to the social media platform you’re using. Some things work better as a tweet while others are better as a quick video.
- Draw from real-life concepts. Real estate agents always have great stories about their sometimes-awkward experiences. Simon writes them down and uses them as fodder for his memes and posts.
- Avoid politics. It’s too easy to alienate your audience with even the most innocuous political jokes and photos of political figures.
- Don't post content attributed to a specific deal or client. Privacy should always be top of mind, so make sure you disguise the details of any funny story or image you share.
Finally, the NAR also cautions Realtors to ensure they remain true to the NAR Code of Ethics and avoid copyright infringement when posting anything publicly. For example, Article 12 of the Code of Ethics requires promotional and marketing materials to be truthful and accurate, so any humorous materials you post must clearly be for comic effect and not misconstrued as advertising. Article 15 of the Code requires that agents not make false or misleading statements in any communication.
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