In the online space where so many trends come and go, there’s one thing that draws the attention of your audience – humour, which is exactly what memes are. The internet is a tool that drives people to your brand, and memes are a creative outlet to help deepen this relationship. The power that memes hold in today’s social media landscape is apparent, seeing as how brands have shot to fame overnight with viral creations.
Memes are about connection as much as they are about humour. They have the power to gather like minds and create communities as long as the subject is trending,
As popular and effective memes are in promoting brand awareness and increasing engagements, they can sometimes do more harm than good. Here’s a few things to consider before you ring up your social media strategists to create your “next viral meme”.
For the unacquainted, the word is pronounced as “meem”. While this absurd genre of social media content is easily understood, it’s not as easy to explain what it actually is. Back in 1976, Richard Dawkins used the word ‘meme’ in his book, ‘The Selfish Gene’ to describe the transmission of ideas across varying cultures.
Memes started to become popular in the late 2000s when platforms like 9GAG appeared. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter then further advanced meme culture into what it is today. Memes are often derived from viral pictures, videos, or from TV series or movies firmly rooted in pop culture.
Benefits of meme marketing
The best part about memes is that they are one of the most inexpensive and effortless types of content to create. Since memes are heavily reliant on pop culture references, it is more important that you pick the right analogy from pop culture references for a higher chance of going viral.
The beauty of memes is in its raw appeal, which means that image resolutions will not be much of a concern. You won’t even need to have any design or photo-editing skills to create memes – meme generators can do that for you. All you’ll need to do is add text and voilà, your job is done!
#2 HIGH VIRALITY
Us digital marketers know the ultimate goal of social media marketing is to go viral. But we also know that it isn’t as simple as posting informational posts about your business. With the right references and hashtags used, memes have a higher chance of reaching a mass audience and going viral. It can also get you more engagements with its high relatability.
#3 PROMOTES BRAND RECALL
Consumers first, marketers second. What catches your attention in this saturated online space? Things that are not only easy to understand, but also make you chuckle under your breath. Posts forwarded to us by friends or media that make us laugh are things that help to promote brand recall. Though not everyone who sees your memes may turn into customers, they will remember your brand and what you do.
Look no further for an example of successful meme marketing than to Netflix, one of the most popular streaming platforms today. Instead of traditional marketing via in-app notifications and email alerts, this streaming giant incorporates meme marketing into its social media and brand content strategy, keeping their shows and movies at the forefront of the pop-culture conversation.
A format pic.twitter.com/1NKCqSrPKj— Netflix (@netflix) February 3, 2019
How do I know if it’s suitable for my brand?
Memes work the best when you capitalise on a current, trending topic. Create something that’s in discussion and you’ll double your chances of going viral. Of course this means you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled on social media platforms to know what’s the talk of the town.
For example, online meme account @yeolo.sg on Instagram published this meme that hilariously drew reference between the KFC uniform and the outfits of the emcees at Singapore NDP 2022. Published when NDP was the talk of the town, their immaculate timing made this meme current and relatable.
#2 AUDIENCE DEMOGRAPHIC AND RECEPTIVITY
Consider your audience demographic – are they Gen Zs, millennials or Gen Xs who may not be as active on the internet? Most people who share memes fall under Gen Zs and millennials. If your audience belongs to those who fall out of that age group, meme marketing may not be for you.
Besides age, things like cultural backgrounds, economic class and the topic of your meme should be taken into consideration as well. For example, a meme about health published by a governmental healthcare department may not be well-received, given that healthcare is a serious issue.
#3 ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR BRAND’S ONLINE IDENTITY
A viral meme will get you online traction for a moment of time only. For long-term growth, your marketing strategy needs to be in line with your online identity. Again, no one has perfected meme marketing quite as well as Netflix has. Their original memes not only catch the attention of online users, but also push their shows into the mainstream.
How to build a meme marketing strategy
To build an effective marketing strategy, all you need to do is keep it simple. Create something that people will be able to understand at a glance. A meme that requires thought is not an effective meme.
With the rise of TikTok and the increasing popularity of reels on Instagram, trends come and go as often as your laundry cycle. A video about making dalgona coffee in 2022 certainly won’t go viral as compared to TikTok’s favourite Uncle Raymond. Capitalise on viral trends as soon as you can to remain relevant, instead of coming off cringy.
Lastly, do not get offensive. This means no use of offensive or swear words that will likely backfire and decrease your brand value and credibility.
As funny as memes can be, they should still be executed with thought and intention behind it. With these tips, you should be well-equipped with how to execute your next meme marketing campaign. However, if you ever do need help, feel free to reach out to us for some strategic and creative insight!