What Exactly is a Meme?
Whether you’re browsing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any social media platform for that matter, there is one thing on the internet you can’t avoid seeing: Memes. Before we dive into how to use memes, some of you may want to know more about what a meme actually is, right?
Well, I’m going to anyway.
By definition, a meme is “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” Essentially, internet users choose an image, GIF, or video they find hilarious and write a funny or relatable caption to describe the visual content. Then using the power of the internet and social sharing, the meme becomes instantly recognizable and sometimes even viral.
For example, here are some popular memes of 2017 that you may recognize:
Meryl Streep Shouting
The Meme’s Place in Marketing
Chances are, memes are something you see, enjoy, and share on your personal social channels. But how can you tap into meme culture to create and use memes that strengthen your brand’s content marketing strategy?
Here are a few ways:
Enhance your content: Find a meme that serves as a reference or reaction to the content you are sharing rather than an image that describes the content. This way, you can reach a younger audience while also empathizing the tone of your content with all readers.
Entertain your audience: Memes are also a great way to boost your online popularity. Sharing an already existing and highly popular meme, or creating your own based on a popular meme can increase your engagements and follow count on multiple social media channels. It’s been statistically proven that posts perform better with images, so why not be funny and relatable while improving your post’s performance?
Attract readers: The most successful content attracts viewers immediately. Memes are a fun and immediately recognizable way to attract readers as they are relatable. Plus, the viral nature of meme’s can make your content catch the eyes of viewers even if they only glance at it for a second.
Learn the 5 ways your marketing is a like a burrito!
Integrating Meme’s Into Your Content Strategy
To make sure the integration of memes into your content marketing strategy is successful, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Understand Your Audience: While memes are funny and relatable, they often include references that are only understood by young adults who spend a significant amount of time on the internet. You also need to be thinking about your brand and the tone you’ve set with content in the past. Are your tone and voice playful and humorous enough for memes? If you’re trying to paint your brand as professional and conservative, memes may not be the best visual content choice.
Don’t Make it Obvious: Viral content can be overused. If you’re so dedicated to integrating memes into your content that you force one into every article and blog you publish, you may be making your “young, hip and viral” strategy far too obvious, thus weakening your brand. It can easily look like you’re capitalizing off of a meme’s viral status rather than using them to enhance your content in an entertaining way.
Don’t Misuse the Meme: Do. Not. Use. A. Meme. The. Wrong. Way. The fastest way to lose the interest and respect of internet subcultures is to misuse a widely popular meme. Missing the intention of the joke by taking a sarcastic line as literal or vice versa could display a completely different tone and offend the audience you’re trying to reach. Essentially, don’t do what FAFSA did.
Stay Original: Don’t replace quality content with memes. If you use memes as a substitute for original, well-thought out content, you risk building an audience that is not very consistent. Plus, the audience you’re gathering by only posting meme’s might not be interested in the valuable content you create surrounding your brand.
Taking all of the above into consideration, memes are not a “fix” for a lack of engagement or interest in your content. Think of them as an interesting way to relate to your audience, knowing that they are only appropriate at certain times and for certain content. Also, remember to use them in moderation and watch for audience feedback to gauge how they may or may not be working for your brand.
Making a Meme for Marketing
While there are many online generators for making memes based on viral images, here is one of our favorites: https://memegenerator.net/. Looking for examples to get you started? Check out this blog post from HubSpot highlighting brands that did it right.
When creating memes remember to follow all of the above tips which will help guide you to make smart meme choices. Most importantly, remember to have fun! Creating memes is a great digital marketing approach and should be entertaining for all.
Have you or your company made a hilarious meme? Comment below and show us! We like a good laugh!