Embracing the Chaos

The Rise of Brand Shitposting in Social Media Marketing

Recently there has been a rising success with brand social accounts “shitposting”. It is hard to define because this can be so many different things but at its core, “shitposting” is brand content that is low effort to create and relevant to its audience’s humor and consumption pattern. People are tired of the polished and professional content that brands have historically posted on social media and have started to embrace this new raw, relaxed and humorous style of content. This style of content is most popular on Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit.

Some examples of brands that have been very successful with shitposting are Slim Jim and Duolingo. Slim Jim is a pioneer of this style of content with some of their memes dating back to 2019. Slim Jim’s Instagram account has paved the way for other successful brand accounts, like Duolingo, who has really leaned into this style and it has been hugely successful for them. Duolingo currently has 2.9 million followers on Instagram and 11.8 million followers on TikTok. They have an above average engagement rate of 4.97% on Instagram and a total of 270,300,000 likes on TikTok.

These brands are tapping into the humor and content style of this younger generation as a marketing tool, a strategy backed by research that suggests ads with humor tend to stick in the audience’s mind for longer. These goofy things they post are easy to digest and often spark conversation in the comments. While this can be a fun way to engage your audience, there are some limitations to having a brand meme account. First, it’s critical to ensure this style is in-line with the brand’s tone and personality. Once the brand’s social presence is portrayed in a goofy way, it is harder for people to take the brand seriously and addressing serious issues doesn’t come off the same in a grid full of meme-style posts. If brands want to contribute to meaningful social conversations, they should consider if shitposting is the right strategy.

If a brand does decide to proceed with this style of content strategy, treading carefully is paramount. Analyze what has worked for others and understand the tactics at play behind successful campaigns. It’s essential to consider the intent behind each post and how it might be perceived. Always do the research to understand the landscape and how this target will relate to the message conveyed. Lastly, ensure there is a consistent framework with the appropriate parties for evaluating legal risk. While there are many things to consider with this approach to brand content, many brands are in a position to find the right balance for achieving success with it.

Harry Powers is a 2024 graduate of Camp + King’s Strategy Boot Camp. He is a rising junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder.