If you don’t know what Duolingo is, it’s a language-teaching application that can teach you many languages through daily lessons. If you don’t do a lesson, the app sends you reminders to keep you on track! But did you know that Duolingo, or more specifically, the Duolingo Owl Duo, has a TikTok account? This big, green owl mascot has almost 6 million followers and posts hilarious content almost daily. This content can be on many topics, ranging from language lessons (the Duolingo specialty), pop culture references, or even Duo’s crush on pop artist Dua Lipa! (I think it’s because of the name similarity, but don’t quote me on that one)
This page posts engaging content that makes me want to re-download the app and continue my Arabic lessons even though I’d get constant reminders to “do my lesson of the day.” In fact, these reminders were the topic of a viral trend on TikTok a few years ago: People used to receive so many notifications from the app, they started saying that if they don’t complete their Duolingo lessons, Duo the owl will find them and kidnap their family until they complete their lessons. How did the company respond to this trend? By leaning into it wholeheartedly and turning the joke into their new marketing campaign.
Using funny videos and staying on top of trends is how Duo the Owl got its notoriety on the popular app, and in my opinion, having funny, relatable, relevant content like this can really make or break your social media success! By staying ahead of the game and allowing for a more light-hearted and lenient theme in social media content, Duolingo has raised the bar for company social media accounts. For actual success on social media accounts, companies now have to “toe the line” in what is work-appropriate and what isn’t. They have to be more personable, more relatable, and less “corporate” in their language and in their engagement with their followers.
Do you follow an account that posts like Duolingo? What do you think about social media success using more “risqué” content?
FACEBOOK: Duolingo wants to know if you’ve done your lesson today…it also wants you to follow its TikTok account! Check out what kind of content they post in my new blog post! https://bit.ly/3XNzFag
TWITTER: #ICYMI #Duolingo is more than a language-learning app now. Check out what they post on TikTok thru my #blog https://bit.ly/3XNzFag
I think you make a great point on the importance of including light-hearted material in your marketing campaigns. Being more personable and relatable is necessary to differentiate you from your competition but I think it can be difficult for corporations to find that balance. How do “serious” companies such as banks balance their humour with their corporate image? The necessity of projecting an image of being safe, reliable and serious with your investments and not meld well with humour? Duolingo must compete with other language businesses such as Babbel and Mango, but their product lends itself more to humour- and using the mascot helps for brand recognition. Important for companies whose products have very little differentiation. Would humour be appropriate if it was used for funeral homes, weight loss clinics or divorce lawyers? Are there some businesses that would not benefit ? Would it be in bad taste, insensitive and mocking or would it been seen as an attempt to bring humour into difficult situations? Would love to hear your thoughts.