Jokes and more
Meme marketing is a newer trend in the digital marketing space. The idea behind it is not though. Advertisers have always tried to elicit humor in their ads when necessary or appropriate. It is a great and easy way to go viral for example Geico had their hump day commercial and every so often I still hear this reference. I'm sure it was the bane of your office water cooler for a while as well.
That was just a specific example of a large brand using some form of humor to attract clients. Humor is easy to produce and can be memorable. As long as it is done in good taste, and isn’t overdone (I will name a specific brand that overdoes it) it can almost outlive its creative run. When high school kids are referencing your commercial and remembering it well into adulthood you did something very right in terms of staying at the front of people’s minds.
Memes are really just another form of content creation. Similar to free ebooks, blog posts, videos, and podcasts. They don’t have as much depth as any of the other examples but they will still provide your audience with something to think about. Maybe they tag friends, or maybe they just hit the like button.
Also, there are three main focuses to ads. One of those is doing emotion-based marketing. A lot of brands use scare tactics, but laughter/happiness is an emotion as well. Just some quick examples of emotion-based marketing would be alarm companies using a break-in to scare you, or the ASPCA using dogs and cats to make you feel sad. Both are highly effective strategies and they work. I still can’t listen to Sarah Mclachlan without wanting to donate to my local animal shelter.
One of the reasons I bring up memes and humor is because it is relatable to the younger generation. They grew up looking at memes, and it’s made its way into the other generations as well. It is cross-generational content. While it may miss the mark for some in terms of trends it can be easy to create meme content for your brand that is relatable. A coffee company can just make memes about being tired all day or “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee”. Their audience will see that and not only find it funny but also find it relatable.
Easy to post
If you’re a business owner, I know you have some form of social media for your business. If you don’t then you need to talk to me immediately. If you are struggling to showcase your business and feel you ran out of ideas, then it is time to break out some memes to get you through your content drought. You can make your own, share some others have made, or run a “caption this photo” contest and use those captions at a later date. If the meme is good enough and your audience responds well to it then you may even increase your social media engagement which will pay dividends in the long run. It’s no secret that the more you post the more people will see it and the more engaging your content is the more your social media provider is likely to showcase it.
In Good or Bad Taste
Some memes are going to be in good taste and some are not. It also matters if you know your target audience. Below I am going to show an example of a meme made by a company that was not well received.
People did not respond very well to this advertisement/meme. I did not think much of it because I have seen that meme multiple times with many different formats. In fact, I may have made the same mistake to post that because I was not thinking of the underlying image and was going solely for content. It is very important to double-check your memes before posting so you are not missing the mark and alienating your audience. This was also a paid advertisement by the way. That means they were literally paying facebook for negative comments. I imagine they shifted gears, but the damage was done by then.
A good example of this would be Bones Coffee. I did say before that some brands have it easier in terms of relatability. Coffee brands probably have more joke content at their disposal than Carrot Top has props. Their meme is simple, easy, and relatable. No one took offense to this one.
Have you been on the internet for more than five minutes? If the answer is yes then you have probably come across a brand that might be overdoing the meme marketing, but it still seems to be working for them. In fact, their model is incredibly simple. They have a meme template. It is a text conversation consisting of maybe 3-4 text exchanges of something funny or relatable posted onto a Twitter account and then screenshot. That meme gets distributed onto meme pages and other sites. The secret? It seems so natural it is hard to tell it is a meme ad and not something a person actually posted. Now, this could all be speculation, but if close your eyes and take a quick guess as to what that brand might be before reading ahead hint it’s a dating app.
Take your guess? That’s right it is Hinge! Congratulations. They are pretty forthcoming with their content and most of their Instagram sponsored posts to say something along the lines of “hinge partner”.
They basically all have this same format. It’s an iPhone text conversation. The contact name is always “first name + Hinge” then it’s a quick exchange of something kind of funny and relatable. Other than their commercials with that furry box, this is the only content I really see out of them. Granted I don’t think I am their target audience. Nonetheless, it was so overdone it actually made me pay way more attention to them and I now complain to people every time I see a Hinge post.
Okay now that I am done ranting about Hinge and showing you examples of good and bad memes. Let’s talk about making and distributing them. The easiest way to make a meme is probably on imgflip. That is what I have used in the past and not to brag but I even received a platinum award of Reddit for a meme I made once (kidding it’s not impressive). Once you have the right idea in place all it takes is making the meme and posting it to your audience. Depending on your industry, however, you may want to go easy on the memes at first. I think it is easier for a retail or eCommerce company to make memes than it is for say a law office. In fact, I might not even recommend a law office get into the meme game.
If you are struggling with coming up with ideas for memes, don’t fret. They will come naturally to you and if it seems impossible then maybe humor is not the way you want to go with your branding and you might want to create more informative content rather than using humor. Commonly used phrases or being highly relatable is always the best way to go for business-themed memes. Staying neutral is the safe bet, but if you want to push the envelope a bit just make sure that it won’t bite you like the above example.
Meme Marketing and you
Using memes is always a safe and easy way to produce more content for your social audience. You do not need to be the next meme expert and they don’t have to be groundbreaking. Your audience on social media follows you and they want to see more from you. When you see a meme starting to get more traction than your other social posts it might be beneficial to “boost that post” for a few days to increase your audience through a paid social media ad. If you have any questions about leveraging memes to grow your business and social media channels feel free to reach out!