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What Is Meme Marketing, And How Do You Use It?

hand holding out phone

What’s the big deal with memes on social media?

Meme marketing is a fairly new concept, so let’s talk about it a bit! With the widespread use of social media platforms, it’s like you’ve come across a meme or two. They probably look something like these.

dog wrapped in blanket meme
people working out in a gym meme

Businesses have caught on to this “meme culture” and have begun utilizing memes to promote their business, engage with their followers, and show more of their personality. Consumers enjoy seeing a more human side of your business and humor (through memes) is a great way to convey that. Even more so, the casualness of memes provides businesses with the opportunity to promote their business without coming across as gimmicky.

Memes can also be surprisingly great for marketing efforts because they’re easy for people to digest, relatable, and very sharable. Although there is no real formula for using memes in marketing, they have been shown to lead to more engagement than typical posts. Because memes are so widely used on social media, they can also boost your brand recognition. If your business posts a meme, the next time a person sees that meme elsewhere, they’re more likely to relate that back to your business, based on the image alone!

So, enough of a sales pitch on memes, let’s really dig into who should use them and how to use them successfully.

Should your business use memes?

As a business, like everything else, the use of memes should be strategic. Don’t just post memes to post memes. If your business is looking to engage in a younger adult audience or looking to boost engagement on your social media, memes may be the answer for you.

Who’s your target audience?

“Meme culture” is trendy. Being so, using memes you’re likely to attract a younger audience that keeps up with these trends. If this is your goal, great! But if not, the use of memes may not be for you, so know your audience and know your goals. If your audience or target audience doesn’t keep up with “meme culture” posting memes is going to miss the mark. They may just not get it.

Once you’ve established that your target audience will respond well and understand your memes, you’re on your way to higher engagement!

Are you trying to increase your engagement?

If more engagement is your goal, meme marketing can be a great way to generate that. Visual content continues to perform better with audiences than other types of content. Memes combine information and humor in visual a way that’s relatable and easily digestible by your audience. These key aspects make memes super shareable, and easy for users to engage with.

However, in order to get the engagement you want, viewers need to understand the content and context of the meme you post. The content of your memes should be determined by your audience. If your audience is not made up of other professionals in your industry, they may not understand the industry jargon as people within the industry do. Being so, it’s important to ensure your memes are relatable to your followers since that’s where your engagement is going to come from.

The right and wrong ways to use memes

As we’ve hinted to previously, using memes should be strategic. There are definitely some do’s and don’t when choosing to utilize memes on your social media. So, let’s talk about some of them.

Know your audience.

We brushed on this point in the previous section, but it’s extremely important so we’re going to talk about it more.

As a business, you should have an understanding of who your audience is and what they care about. From there, you’ll be able to tell if using memes will resonate with your audience. Understanding what your audience cares about will also help with choosing the kind of content you use in your memes or social media in general. What are their expectations? What do they want to see?

Your brand personality is going to coincide with the type of people who follow you. So think about who your brand appeals to and what those types of people would want to see from your brand.

Now, sometimes this concept isn’t so cut and dry. You may be unsure how people will respond to your content on social media, or if using memes would be successful with your audience. A great way to test this out is by segmenting your audience and testing the use of meme marketing to monitor people’s reactions and engagement. From there, you’ll be able to better determine if this strategy would be an effective use of your efforts.

Pay attention to your tone

Using memes on social media can really bring out the personality of your brand, but also gives a certain tone of voice to your business. Being successful with any type of content on social media really depends on the tone you give off and the consistency of that throughout your brand.

For many brands, adding memes to social media content is pretty smooth as this trendy “meme culture” already coincides with the company’s voice and personality. However, for more professional or serious companies looking to incorporate memes, tone can make or break the success of this content.

To help increase the likelihood of success with memes strongly consider the following:

  • Ensure everyone is on the same page with the voice of the company by including it in your social media guidelines.
  • Consider the language you use in your memes. The point of a meme is to be relatable, so avoid using obscure industry jargon that may not be understood by your audience.
  • Keep things light. Make sure the memes you’re posting are not offensive.

Understand the meme you choose

Meme marketing is great because it’s are so versatile and can be used in ways tailored to your business. However, there is some context for each meme that you should understand before using them. Otherwise, your meme will flop and it may appear to your audience that you’re trying too hard or just out of touch.

Before using a meme, research it. Check out how other people are using it and figure out how/if you would be able to spin that to relate to your business and content. A great tool for this is KnowYourMeme.com, a site where you can search memes and read more information about them.

Possibly the worst way to use a meme is to end up in a legal battle over custody rights. Now, there are ways to avoid this, but it’s important to take into consideration when developing a strategy. Here are some ways to ensure your use of memes won’t land you in court.

  • First and foremost, please check the rights on the image you’re using.
  • Develop a policy that clearly states the level of risk your brand is willing to go to and ensure everyone understands.
  • Make sure you’re not implying any kind of endorsement with your memes.
mad and happy cat meme

That’s enough chit chat

By now you should have a solid understanding to successfully utilize memes on social media. To recap, memes are great for increasing engagement and showing personality. Before you start implementing them know the voice of your company, understand your audience, consider testing memes on a segmented audience, and PLEASE avoid copyright infringement.

With all this in mind, you should be well on your way to developing a strategy to incorporate memes on social media! To get your creativity flowing we included some meme generators you can use to make things easier.

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