The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Memes in Your Social Media Marketing
Memes have become an integral part of our digital lives. We log into our social media accounts and there they are! Memes keep us entertained and many of us can admit to having laughed at or shared one on our timeline.
What’s interesting is that memes are going beyond the conventional ‘have a laugh and move on’ phenomenon. Memes have become so popular that brands are constantly trying to tap into their potential as a medium to reach the audience and are using them as a tool in their digital marketing strategy.
What is a meme?
Before we go into the details of where and how a meme can be used in marketing, let us first understand what a meme actually is. A meme could be a picture, a video, a GIF or a picture with text inscribed on it. The underlying message is usually humorous or sarcastic.
Memes typically refer to current events in pop culture to make them more relatable to the audience. For instance, Game of Thrones memes are all over the internet while the show is on air. The same goes for memes with our favorite football players which are shared widely during Super Bowl season.
How do memes go viral?
To illustrate the trend of how a meme is created and how it goes viral, take the example of Drake’s music video ‘Hotline Bling’. The video had a dance move which caught viewers’ fancy. Within no time, memes were created using that dance move, showing Drake swatting flies, throwing on pizza toppings, playing tennis or driving away lizards. The memes were so funny that they started getting shared and re-shared, and very quickly went viral.
Advantages of using memes in brand marketing
- The primary motive behind using memes in digital marketing is to grab attention. Since memes are catchy and funny, they can easily capture attention.
- If a meme is cleverly done, the brand is likely to get appreciation from customers for being creative and thinking out of the box.
- Since the target audience for memes is usually the youth, brands that cater to this market can use memes to their advantage.
- Memes are a form of quick communication. They don’t need to hold viewers’ attention for long to deliver their message. Brands can make it work within the short attention span of their audience by delivering their marketing messages through memes.
Disadvantages of using memes:
Memes get instant recognition and associations are strong. However, they are short-lived and don’t last too long in the memory. With new memes getting created every second, old ones are phased out rather quickly. So it’s best to not expect memes to make a lasting impression or use them as a long-term strategy. As long as they grab attention it’s a good start. The interest needs to be sustained with follow-up marketing strategies.
Memes often refer to current events, so there is a risk that the humor will not be taken as intended and will end up being taken in the wrong way. This can negatively affect the brand instead of boosting it.
Dos and don’ts:
Don’t overdo it. Some brands go overboard in creating and sharing too many memes all at once. They end up giving the impression that they are trying too hard which is off-putting for the customers.
Don’t rely completely on memes. By being one-dimensional and relying exclusively on memes, companies risk losing the interest of their target audience. To sustain interest, they need to add more content and use varied types of media to reach their audience.
Do make sure memes have a connection to something that the audience is guaranteed to know or identify with, such as a famous personality, or a popular TV show.
Do keep memes simple. The whole point of a meme is to get a message across quickly and effectively, and this requires memes to be easy to understand.
Do monitor the reaction to your memes. If a meme is getting positive reactions and spreading fast, follow up with more memes along similar lines. If reactions are negative, quickly put out more memes with a different theme to focus the attention on the newer ones.
Since memes aren’t going out of fashion anytime soon, you could go ahead and try them out. If you want to know what else you could use in your digital marketing strategy, we here at Results Driven Marketing are ready to help. Feel free to contact us or give us a call at 215-393-8700.
Director of Search Engine Optimization for Results Driven Marketing, Managing Editor or TAPinto The Mainline, and the artist behind The World’s Friendliest Superhero, Steve Myers is a creative force in the digital marketing industry. Dubbed “Doctor Digital” by his colleagues, he takes a light-hearted approach to Search Engines and how they work, mixing in comics, hip-hop, and popular culture to help explain the complexities of AI, algorithms, and structured data.