Keeping Up With the Times: Meme Marketing as a Social Media Strategy


A website does not simply get to the top of Google without investing in some creativity, and this is even apparent in online and social media marketing. Your team may be constantly brainstorming and thinking of innovative ways to get in touch with your market online. Unfortunately, the World Wide Web is evolving faster than real-life. This means that the tricks and strategies that you used last year may not be as effective now.

So how do you attract more people to your online and social media marketing campaign? Why not go viral and use some memes?

What are memes?

A meme is simply something that spreads through the Internet in a fast and almost viral rate; it could be an idea, an image or video, or even an inside joke that’s gotten too far and expanded towards a wider audience.

The term itself was coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In his book The Selfish Gene, a meme refers to the way an idea spreads from one person to another within a culture. Similar to genes, they replicate and change as they spread. Notable examples include melodies, fashion trends and catchphrases.

Today, we understand the concept of memes a little differently thanks to the Internet. Nowadays, memes are still representations of ideas that spread from one person to another, but they are now accompanied by captions that are either ironic, funny or entertaining. Perhaps the most popular form of memes are image macros with amusing images and witty captions, but these can be hashtags, links, or a whole website.

How are brands using meme marketing?

According to We Are Social’s 2020 Digital Report, the average Australian spends at least 40 hours per week on social media. Today, memes are the language in which people online communicate new ideas, pop culture concepts and attitudes.

So, it’s not a surprise at all that memes have become an online culture phenomenon — so much so that meme marketing can breathe new life into your social media marketing campaign. As memes are highly visual, they’ll make great tools when creating social media fodder and increasing engagement for your brand.

The best part is that using memes in marketing takes very little time and effort. Brands who have been using meme marketing simply take a concept that’s already gaining traction and then piggyback on its popularity. They capitalise on a trending meme and then customise it with branded content to engage their target audience.

With little time and effort, your meme marketing strategy can get you likes, comments and shares on various social media sites.

How to use memes in your social media marketing campaign?

One of the reasons you should invest on memes as social media content is that they are relatively easy to create and they spread fast. In fact, the reason simple image macros became so popular online is due to how simple it is to tweak an image and repurpose it to fit your target audience.

However, like any type of humour, social media memes can pose a certain amount of risk for your brand. After all, you don’t want an offensive or poorly constructed joke to confuse or drive away customers. Here’s how you can leverage meme marketing properly to boost your social media marketing campaign.

Make sure the memes match the voice of your brand

While most marketers know that meme marketing will appeal to their audience, it can be difficult to incorporate them while trying to maintain brand consistency. The key is to be authentic and review your brand guidelines before using memes in your marketing strategy.

Although meme marketing won’t appeal to everyone, they do help support niche positioning and reach specific communities, especially those of a younger demographic. So, when refining your tone, start by clearly identifying your target audience:

  • What type of content does your target audience consume?
  • What TV shows or which celebrities do they like?
  • What problems do they struggle with that are common to their community?

Once you have an idea of the interests of your target audience, then you can start making relatable jokes and comment on cultural trends or relevant fads. When your social media memes delight and entertain those who interact with them, your content is more likely to be shared and your brand will reach a wider audience. This makes it easier for you to generate leads and sales in the long run.

Be thoughtful and don’t overdo it

If you’re not careful about the tone you use to get your point across, your memes can easily backfire. Satire, irony and sarcasm don’t always translate well online, which can cause confusion or even backlash among your audience, even with your best intentions.

To ensure you don’t produce content with problematic connotations (such as sexism, racism or ableism), make sure you research and understand the origins of a meme before you associate them with your brand. If you want to learn about a particular meme, Know Your Meme is a great resource.

Additionally, keep in mind that social media memes function like a good punch line in a comedy movie or a perfectly-timed jump scare in a horror movie. They can be incredibly effective when the timing is right and when used sparingly. If you know how to use memes in small yet powerful intervals, you won’t diminish their impact and entertain your audience.

Create original memes

Original content is a bit more challenging because you become the source material for the meme. This means deciding on a format and overlaying relatable, funny commentary. While it will take more time, effort and creativity — you have a higher chance of connecting with your audience and highlighting your brand’s unique personality.

For instance, you can turn an amusing clip that you capture accidentally and turn it into a short, looping GIF or video. For physical products, try displaying them in unexpected situations or use cases (e.g. using a mug to store makeup brushes).

There are many different ways to create custom social media memes for your brand. You have options such as photos, videos, screenshots and GIFs. Experiment with them all and see which ones users react most strongly to.

Humour your audience with meme marketing

Meme marketing has become a great way for businesses to promote their brand without coming across as salesy and it’s an effective way to create engagement. Plus, they’re relatable and inexpensive to produce. All you need to do is stay updated with the latest trends and understand what your audience finds funny and share-worthy.

Viral videos and image macros were initially used to poke fun at certain people, situations, and events. The rather informal way (and sometimes intentionally misspelled words) these memes present themselves is one of the reasons it endears to a lot of people. Humour, after all, is one of the easiest ways to get a person’s attention.

If you are planning on adding a bit of humour to your online marketing campaign, it is important that you get to know your audience first. Place yourself in their shoes and think of what you (as a customer) would probably respond to when confronted with something viral about your product.

At SEO Services Australia, we specialise in innovative social media marketing that will help you attract more business. Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can boost your social media presence.

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