Memes: The Unexpected Way to Market Your Content
The internet is filled with memes from a talking dog to former Vice President Joe Biden, and it seems we just can’t get enough. Memes are funny, relatable, and – maybe most importantly for digital marketers – shareable. Memes have called on digital marketers to change their content and way of thinking to bite-size bits of humor with an inherent context and tone. But before you fire off a storm of memes without any real direction, consider these five tips to making memes work for your marketing.
Know Your Audience
If you plan to put any content into the digital world, you must understand your audience. For a laid-back, millennial-based audience, memes are not only appropriate, but there’s a high likelihood they’ll be effective at delivering your marketing message.
However, if your audience consists of corporate executives whose days are packed with board meetings and afternoon flights, there’s no place in your marketing library for one-liners and laughing cats. Engage with this audience on social media. Take note of the type of content they like and share. Then if memes fit the mold, it’s time to expand your marketing library.
Incorporate Trending Events
Topics, events, or challenges that are trending on social media are a good way to jump in on the meme marketing plan. Popular social media events that sparked meme creation include:
- The ALS ice bucket challenge
- The Harlem Shake
- The cinnamon challenge
- The running man challenge
The popular events you incorporate into your memes don’t have to be challenges, though. Produce a meme about Christmas in December or happy parents on the first day of school. Be mindful of what people are talking about and what will resonate with your audience.
Engagement vs. Quality Content
No matter how funny or sharable your memes, they are no replacement for quality content. Your audience wants to depend on you for valuable information; don’t rely on memes to be that quality piece. Even if the memes you post to social media lure people to your website, the majority of them are just checking out your brand for the first time. We all love a good meme – but don’t give up your blog job.
Be Leery of ‘Memejacking’
“Memejacking” is taking a popular meme that nearly everyone identifies with as a certain topic or slogan and attempting to make it into something new. It’s a risky move for businesses and bloggers because the image is already established in a particular context. Take Kermit the Frog, for example. The bright green frog sipping a cup of tea is synonymous with “That’s none of my business.” Attempting to change the context may leave your audience confused and unamused.
Memes are simple, sharable, and make people laugh. Humor is largely what makes memes so popular with an online audience. If your brand can be funny without being offensive or stepping outside your brand voice, take advantage and keep your marketing message intact while sprinkling in humor.
Incorporate memes into your marketing plan, but don’t rely on them for bringing in many new shoppers; this won’t be your main stream of marketing. Keep the image simple and the text short. Your audience will relate best when the meme ties into a trending topic and if they don’t have to study the image to figure it out.