What are Memes in Marketing?
As more and more people exclude ads from their lives (mostly with the help of online ad blockers), it becomes more and more challenging for marketers to reach their target audience. That’s why professionals try to come up with new ideas day in and day out to help them stand out from the boring media noise. For many people, “meme marketing,” that is, the use of memes for marketing purposes, can offer a cheap and effective solution to this problem.
Your consumers don’t use social media to watch commercials. They go there to have fun, get information, relax (good for them).
That’s why in many cases, especially in the younger age group, it can be quite difficult to get their attention about a brand and real fans. to carve followers out of them. What can you do about it? You need to entertain them, keep their interest, and even look like a “good head”. And memes provide an excellent solution for this: these frequently recurring images are not only customizable, but your readers will also see them as familiar, and they still have a significant fan base! So use them if your target audience wants it.
What Are Memes?
Although much has changed over the years, “memes” (translated form of the English word “meme”) are usually still or GIF format moving images with some humorous caption. These images can depict a movie scene, a photo of a major event, or essentially anything that can be figured out. They can also focus on a person, an event, or a concept.
Really popular memes live their own lives in a sense, and you don’t necessarily need to know their original context to be effective – however, it doesn’t hurt to look at other such sites yourself to understand exactly the unwritten rules of “meme”.
Memes can spread like a virus on social media, and in a few days, hundreds of variations can be made courtesy of humorous users. It is enough to make a funny picture of a celebrity – the next day the internet will be full of it, dotted with various funny texts or manipulations.
Why Use Memes in Marketing?
Memes have been encountered by anyone who has only spent a little time on the more popular social platforms. Such humorous images are also being used by more and more marketers in a variety of industries to connect more directly with their audience through them and to engrave their brand name among their memories.
Four Reasons To Use Memes in Marketing
Memes Offer Cheap Content
Memes are usually based on content created by others — an Internet video, a movie, a photo taken in a show, a snatched frame from an animated movie, and so on. With memes, you can save yourself some time creating content, which is especially important for smaller companies, as they don’t always have enough resources to ensure a continuous supply of original content.
All you have to do is look for a meme template on which you can write your own captions. Memes are also low-resolution content, so it’s not a disadvantage at all if you don’t have outstanding design talent – you don’t need any knowledge of this kind.
Memes Strengthen Community Spirit
Memes give people a sense of belonging to the community, as many can identify with them, and through these, you can prove that you are aware of the everyday problems of your clientele and that you “speak their language”.
Besides, they’re usually funny, too, which in itself can bring people together. If you can make your audience laugh, over time you will attract more and more followers near your brand who will be able to easily identify with it. And bolder, almost absurd memes are even more effective if you want to make your brand more memorable for people.
Meme Content Encourages People to Share
The essence of memes is sharing. That’s how they spread on the internet, that’s how they get to other creative people, and that’s how they stay alive for years to come (although very few get into this evergreen elite because many of them are based on current events). When someone sends a meme you share to an acquaintance to make them laugh, they are, in a sense, expressing their loyalty to your brand.
Memes Create Brand Relevance
Since most memes are born out of some topicality, you can use them to present your brand as a modern, authentic, up-to-date entity and prove that there are real people behind the logo with a sense of humor. Your target audience will certainly be fully in the picture if you use a current meme, and this will make your content offering fresher and more authentic.
Using Memes in Marketing
Let’s take a look at some specific tips to help you harness the power of memes in your marketing.
Make Sure the Meme Fits Your Brand Style
Most marketers would surely be able to list a few memes with which they could impress their audience. The real challenge is how to incorporate these into your brand’s marketing communications in a natural way.
Fortunately, memes are increasingly beginning to seep into the mainstream media, and thus into the public consciousness, and even larger lifestyle brands have begun experimenting with them to stay fresh in the eyes of their followers. Memes can reach a significantly larger audience, especially if you want to reach younger age groups.
Memes usually use satire, use social criticism, or evoke nostalgia in a person, so they can be not only funny but quite profound. However, as a marketer, it’s important to be aware of the original context of a meme as well, as quite a few memes can come from explicitly offensive sources.
Try to be authentic and not be too careful. Bolder content signals to your audience that your brand has a unique personality and style that allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
It is a fact, of course, that memes are very divisive (not just one meme, but specifically their use) and not everyone likes them, but they can undoubtedly help you position your brand in niche markets and reach specific target groups.
So to use memes effectively, you need to be aware of what style you want to radiate to your target audience, and to do that, you need to know who your target audience is. So ask yourself the following questions:
- What content are your ideal customers interested in?
- What music do they listen to, what series do they watch, and what celebrities do they follow?
- How can you make them happy, how can you entertain them?
- What problems do you face often?
Once you find out, you can start making humorous memes for them that you can easily identify with. Try to focus on a specific subculture or niche and you will notice visible results.
Many meme campaigns fail to produce memes for marketing by advertisers and do not pay enough attention to the humor or social criticism that gives the soul of such images. Really effective memes don’t need CTAs. If your content captivates and entertains your audience, you’re already more likely to share it on your own. This will expand your reach and allow you to gain new customers over time.
Build a Meme Library
A “meme library” is essentially a collection that you can access at any time if you want to make a meme for your audience. You can collect memes from the internet or even make your own. Let’s look at some options:
Recycle Existing Memes
It is usually a good idea to use current, upscale memes. You can get these in a lot of places on the internet. For example, the imgflip meme library offers a plethora of blank meme templates to which you can add your own captions right away from the site interface with the Add Caption button.
Another option is to caption GIF images. There are plenty of GIFs snatched from famous movie scenes or popular videos on the web that you can also subscribe to, but one of the easiest solutions is to use GIPHY’s GIF maker. Here you can upload your own GIF, or enter a YouTube (or 15 minutes long) link to YouTube or VIMEO (or choose from GIPHY GIFs) and create captions for them.
Make Your Own Memes
The original memes are a little harder to put together because you have to get your own content for it, you have to decide in what format to present it, and you have to add some humorous text (social critique) so that people can identify with it. This, of course, will require more time, creativity, and effort, but even more content than mainstream memes can share such content.
For example, if you have a tangible, physical product, you can portray it in funny situations or during unusual use. If you have a product that allows your customers to easily take a picture or video then ask them to do so and upload them with a unique branded hashtagged (so you can easily find them). You can then use them (if you get their permission – this can be a condition of using hashtags) in your own content.
Another solution is to make these pictures yourself.
Here are Some Help With Basic Meme Formats:
There are several types of memes – we can talk about images, screenshots, videos, GIFs. You may want to experiment with these to know which ones your audience responds to best.
In terms of fonts, “Monsterrat” and “Neue Helvetica” are the most common, as they are also used by Twitter, where many people take funny screenshots. These fonts have now spread to memes outside of Twitter. On older memes, we can even find the font “Impact”, although this is less used today and may look old-fashioned for memes intended to be current.
How Do You Use Memes on Social Media?
Memes on social media really only come to life. Here are some tips for using them effectively there.
Respond to a Recent Event or Current Cultural Phenomenon
Post a reaction to something that is happening right now. It can be a recurring holiday or a one-time event.
Join Meme Challenges
The # 10YearChallenge (“ten-year challenge”) has recently been very popular on social media, and many brands have successfully ridden this trend. Nowadays, the “Tetris challenge ” is one of the most popular, which is perfect for brands that have physical products or locations.
Take a Screenshot of a Tweet
A quick and easy way to take a screenshot of a tweet that you can then share on other social platforms and introduce a joke related to your brand. Make sure the original tweet or other post is public and that the original poster appears in the finished image.
Although screenshots of tweets are not “real” memes, at least not in the classical sense, we can definitely list them here in terms of content, as their use for this purpose serves the same purpose in marketing.
Post Relevant User-Created Memes Again
Given that the essence of memes is sharing, meme-makers often directly encourage people to pass on their content. Marketers can easily redistribute memes on suitable platforms (and there’s the Regram app for Instagram