Tiktok, Twitch and Twitter — they all have them. Memes! Chances are, if you have a social media account, you’ll have likely seen at least one in your time browsing your feed. They are great for a laugh every now and again, but can they provide any value for businesses? Can businesses use meme marketing to reach new audiences and potentially convert more leads into sales? Let’s take a look!
What exactly is a meme?
Table of Contents
In this post we will explore the following topics:
- 1 What exactly is a meme?
- 2 What is the value of memes for businesses?
- 3 The fine line between meme mastery and misery
- 4 Dos and Don’ts of using meme marketing
- 5 What should businesses be aiming for when using memes?
- 6 Useful resources and tools for memes (creating and editing)
- 7 Final thoughts…
It may be obvious to some, but let’s start at the beginning. A meme is typically a still from a movie, TV show, or famous visual that has words captioned on top of it. This usually takes the original context away and replaces it with a more topical and comical one that fits the actions displayed in the image just as well.
A meme can also be thought of as a behaviour, or series of specific actions or sounds.
Because memes are typically made around topical subject matter, they tend to do very well and have a high virality due to audiences passing around their favourites.
What is the value of memes for businesses?
Jumping on current trends is nothing new when it comes to marketing. One example is using hashtags on Twitter and other social platforms, to promote taking part in viral campaigns for good causes. This can spread online in a similar way to memes.
Now, are memes going to propel your marketing and exposure to unprecedented levels? Not necessarily, but memes are useful to have in your marketing toolbox — particularly if you are looking to market to a younger demographic, who are more in-tune with internet culture.
Paying attention to memes is just one example of creating a presence for yourself through a medium that receives a high level of engagement from your demographic. It doesn’t have to be specifically memes per-se, businesses have commonly followed comment trends on Tiktok too.
As you can see in the above video, various well-known brands participated in a trend commenting on a Ryanair TikTok video. Since then, more brands have participated in similar activities, repeatedly engaging with other well-known brands.
Not only did Ryanair jump on a trend to encourage engagement from verified accounts, but they also jumped on a TikTok-exclusive meme format.
Usually, memes take place via a visual medium, but TikTok allows for the remixing and reusing of sounds from other creators. This is what Ryanair did here by using an existing viral sound that had been used alongside many different types of micro video content.
This type of “outside the box” thinking isn’t new. Back in 2005, Alex Tew created The Million Dollar Homepage where businesses could purchase advertising space on the home page of the website. The small pieces of advertising space sold for a dollar per pixel in blocks of 10×10.
The popularity of the site snowballed, as did the number of businesses looking to secure their slice of internet history by purchasing these tiny bits of digital real estate. The page ended up making over a million dollars in revenue and was a huge success.
Whilst not directly related to meme marketing, this is an example of being open and receptive to new, unique, and sometimes bizarre ideas that in turn can get you in front of new audiences. You should always be willing to try new things in order to get ahead of your competition by thinking differently, not simply copying what other businesses are doing in a landscape that is constantly changing and evolving.
“I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
— Wayne Gretzky
The fine line between meme mastery and misery
As with most things, when you try to synthesise that which should happen organically, things can become awkward.
Memes and other forms of viral visual content are no different. You should aim to target subject matter and memes that align with your brand identity to tap into your audience’s sensibilities.
Memes are like fruit, the fresher the better! Typically trending topics that are portrayed through memes are time-sensitive.
Audiences eat up timely content in huge numbers initially, but prepare for the nose-dive once audiences have had their fill – there are only so many times the same image can be captioned before people start to get tired or even irritated by the same types of content.
This may seem like a lot of arbitrary rules to follow for something as seemingly trivial as meme content. However, it’s essential to have a marketing team who are in-touch with internet culture and current trends. This will help you tap into your demographic more effectively, particularly if you are targeting Generation Z or Millennials.
Memes can be incorporated into other marketing material too. Including them within infographics and blog posts can be a good way of keeping your audience engaged and entertained alongside wordy content.
Dos and Don’ts of using meme marketing
There are some things you should steer clear of when sharing online content with others. Like most things, a small number of people can ruin all the fun for the rest of us. This is why you should stick to the following rules when participating in creating a meme marketing strategy.
- Create and remix memes relevant to your industry or sector
- Create and/or share memes that are consistent with your brand’s values
- Keep the text brief
- Be cautious of copyright
- Consider platform culture, e.g. Twitch memes are hugely different from Tiktok
- Don’t use memes that are offensive or demeaning
- Avoid controversial topics
- Avid politics
- Don’t overdo it – less is more
- Don’t pretend to be something you are not
Authenticity is key
Be self-aware, know your limitations, and be authentic. Younger demographics online are extremely perceptive and can sense inauthenticity like piranhas detecting blood! This also aligns with the idea of not trying too hard, sometimes less is more!
Hire the right people for the job
Of course, we aren’t suggesting that you hire a team just to post memes (although what a job that would be!)
What we are suggesting is hiring a social media agency who are able to learn about your brand identity, and incorporate that into your overall marketing strategy using memes to engage with your target market in the right way.
If you prefer to hire somebody internally to manage your online marketing and social media, make sure they have the right qualities and mindset to carry out meme marketing for your business in a way that’s aligned with your brand.
Whichever route you take, make sure you take the time to make the right choice.
Understand your target audience
Understanding your audience is essential in terms of which type of content to share online. Thinking something is funny and topical is fine, but it isn’t necessarily always appropriate for you to share from a business account.
If you are new to this type of thing, you can learn more about your demographic by utilising insights and analytics via social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
These platforms provide analytics which can show you the average age of your followers, their gender, and even their location. This kind of information can help you further understand your audience, and consequently learn how to better engage and interact with them.
What should businesses be aiming for when using memes?
Harnessing memes as a form of marketing isn’t automatically going to transform your world. The point is, memes can be used as another technique to engage with audiences and strengthen or build your brand image.
Most viral memes come about organically, it is very hard to artificially create a viral meme as a lot of it does come down to luck. Jumping on existing trends rather than creating your own meme from scratch is the best option in order to engage and communicate with your followers while building rapport.
Useful resources and tools for memes (creating and editing)
You may be hesitant to get involved with making memes due to having limited technical ability. Fear not! There are luckily some great websites that allow you to upload an image, and add text on top of it. Most of these tools are very simple and completely free to use.
Here are some of the best tools that will help you on your way to becoming a meme marketing master.
|Tools||Cost||Ease of use||Speed||Software type|
|Adobe Express |
Hopefully, you have found our guide to mastering meme marketing for business useful and you now know how to get started with using memes and viral content in order to engage, entertain, and interact with your audience. This isn’t just about memes though, it’s about thinking outside the box and not becoming complacent by sticking to traditional methods that once worked well exclusively. The digital and online landscape is constantly evolving and you should also be changing in order to adapt and stay connected to your audience.
What do you think about memes? How is your business utilising viral content to reach wider audiences? Drop us a message in the comments, we’d love to know what you think and hear about your experiences.