How to Use Memes in Your Marketing Strategy

Thursday 09th, June 2016

liam neeson meme photo

Most of us spend a considerable time on social media. And there are chances we would’ve come across memes that are published in most pages.

For the uninitiated, a meme is usually an image with a witty phrase attached that connotes a relatable situation on a large scale. Memes can be GIFs or videos – and have pop culture references.

Memes have polarizing opinions. Most people love them – and some consider memes as tacky, cheap and stupid. Therefore, any brand that decides to enroll meme marketing into its content strategy needs to be aware that they risk alienating meme haters.

To embark on meme marketing is taking a calculated risk – but not without benefits. Clever memes can grow your traffic and brand presence exponentially.

You need to take stock of your brand message and target audience and create memes that will be culturally and strategically relevant.

Essentials of Meme Marketing

Promoting your brand using memes is a three step process:

  1. Selection of an appropriate image.
  2. Writing a relevant and witty copy.
  3. Sharing the memes across social media.

You can develop these meme images using various online tools.

Meme generators

Normally there are lots of stock images used by various business pages to promote their content. You can also go innovative and capture real images for meme generation.

A highly original meme is a great addition to your marketing arsenal. But make sure your meme is not just an image with a caption – it needs to have a pop culture reference with a humorous/witty quote that will be highly sharable.

Memes work best when they have a ‘homemade’ and ‘rough’ feel to it. It’s that style that makes them popular.

If you want to go safe, there are meme generators where you can sift through the library of images to which you can add your own ‘quirky’ copy and upload on social media.

Some of the popular ones are:

  • Imgflip
  • Makeameme.org
  • Meme Generator

Ground rules

The primary aim of meme marketing is to create easily sharable, viral images that’ll link back to your site and generates a lot of traffic.

Memes are very effective in conveying ideas – but of course memes doesn’t necessarily guarantee success for your brand.

First things first: You need to choose your picture carefully. When you start using meme generators, you’ll find that that there are some very popular meme images in use – Barak Obama, Sean Bean from The Lord of the Rings, Willy Wonka, lots of babies and animals. These images have around as memes for a long time now.

They can be put to good use – for they have already proven their popularity. However, you should realize that there will be people who are be sick of them. And, unless you can link these images to something completely new and take the meme in a direction that has never been thought of before, you’re going to struggle getting your meme shared.

Virgin, for instance, jumped on the ‘success baby’ just at the right moment. It was popular, cute, and a huge brand using a populist meme-image cleverly connected the corporation and the general public.

If you have the resources, you can use brand new images that are designed specifically for your brand. It’ll be unique but won’t be immediately recognizable.

Image Copy

The best memes are the ones that are fun, makes some sort of a joke and witty.

The copy brings the context to the image, and the image acts as the punch line.

A caveat: Don’t be too clever with your jokes – memes are meant to be exoteric and accessible to everyone. Also, ensure that you are not being offensive – not even to hipsters.

Along with that, take care of the usual suspects – grammar, spelling and poorly worded phrases. Nothing infuriates grammar sticklers than incorrect English.

Bottom line

All said and done, before you start working on memes, you need to figure out if your audience likes them.

You need to exercise caution while treading down the path – for it might prove to be counterproductive and harm the brand.

But if your memes work with your audience, have fun with them. Use as many memes as you can. Carefully produced GIF images and videos act as add-ons to your overall strategy.

Therefore, stop wondering and start working!

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