In a world where 500 million tweets are generated a day on Twitter, setting a brand apart can be pretty difficult.  After all, a whopping 5,700 tweets per second is nothing to scoff at. And while standing out is important, you don’t want to be perceived as the class clown. But here’s a secret… Shhh… Brands are becoming social comics. In fact, a little laughter is helping brands leapfrog ahead of the pack. Some of it is subtle, some of it is “in your face,” but it’s all humorous. And when consumers burst out laughing, they warm up to your brand.

In a recent Business Insider article, The Weird Way Brands Are Winning People Over On Twitter, Steve Babcock, creative director at Evolution Bureau is quoted saying “brands still don’t know how to function in the social space. They’re like an awkward parent chaperone at a high school dance. The key in all of this is to not try too hard, it always shows. Be confident. Be interesting. And be willing. This is the place to explore and experiment.”

There’s a reason why brands get noticed on Twitter. And some of the top brands have found ways to reinvent themselves – not with expensive marketing campaigns – but with creative approaches to 140 characters of content. AdWeek announced the following finalists this month for wide ranging categories including the best brands on Twitter. My Shorty Industry Award picks for brands leveraging Twitter in interesting ways include:

Delta Airlines

Here’s an 85-year-old company that unlocked the key to the social media crowd while maintaining the integrity of the brand. How? By making ’em smile! Last year, Delta Air Lines leveraged a simple, witty and brand-appropriate approach to its social content on Twitter. By integrating pop culture moments into its messaging, Delta Air Lines was able to grow its Twitter follower count by nearly 50 percent. This increase connected the dots by having a brand voice that entertained Delta’s audience, while maintaining the company’s marketing message and commitment to customer service. The best tweet of all was:

Skittles

The brand declares that “The Rainbow is ON it.” A celebrity wearing a #SkittlesGrin? Skittles is on it. A hip trending topic? Got it covered. And Skittles is not afraid to take a stand. For example, one day, #ThingsICantLiveWithout was trending. You know what The Rainbow had to say about it? SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES SKITTLES. Skittles gained more than 76,000 followers in 2013, a 143 percent growth rate.

Charmin

Why is this brand so appealing on Twitter? Well, 40 percent of young adults admit to using social media in the bathroom. And of course, Charmin loves potty humor. For Charmin, Twitter is a powerful engagement vehicle – a vehicle through which they build relationships with consumers using fun and useful content all that ties back to bathrooms.

What’s the takeaway for content marketers? Loosen up. Get your laugh on. Consumers love to smile. But, to ensure they’re laughing with you and not at you, your content should combine fun with purpose. And, of course, your brand’s social media presence needs to match its company’s personality. Still, a good chuckle spreads like wildfire. If done right, it has the power to draw consumers closer to your brand.