How to Use Memes in Digital Marketing
Internet memes have become extremely popular in expressing ideas through images and words, and marketing experts can utilize them to advertise to new and existing customers for increased engagement.
If you have had access to the Internet in the last few years, you realize what a phenomenon Internet memes have become. These simple yet effective pieces of pop culture combine images with text to display a particular message that can be humorous, thought-provoking, and entertaining. For digital marketing professionals, memes are an opportunity to engage new (and possibly younger) audiences for advertising efforts.
What Are Memes?
For those who are unfamiliar with the Internet phenomenon, here are some examples that refer to marketing specifically:
Odds are you’ve seen things like this at least once in your social media feed because not only are they entertaining, they are easily shareable and can make the rounds to your friends, friends of friends, and beyond rather quickly (dare we say they can go viral?). Memes tend to capture attention almost immediately because of the popular images they employ. These images can be anything from screenshots of movies to viral images circulating the internet. After a captivating image is chosen, the text is placed over the image to convey a message.
Since the beginning of the Internet and social media trend, many of the most popular memes inspired others, and have in a way become “meme templates” for others to retrofit for their own messages. The memes displayed above are also examples of popular templates with slight variations in the wording to convey a different message, but retaining the style of the original. The style of the wording can also follow words that are associated with the images themselves; in the Office Space and The Lord of the Rings examples above, the text is a spinoff of famous lines from the respective films that are spoken by each depicted character and therefore making the overall image more memorable.
Why Use Memes?
In marketing, creating interesting and engaging content is the best way to get in front of your customer, and memes fit the bill quite nicely without the hassle of creating long-form or video content. A cleverly-crafted meme displaying your message can capture attention almost immediately and can double as a clickable ad because of its visual simplicity.
Additionally, people are apt to click on something recognizable such as images from a famous movie or other pieces of pop culture. If your messaging incorporates humor, your click-through rate is also likely to increase because the meme caused a positive reaction upon viewing it.
How Should You Use Memes in Your Marketing Strategy?
While an exact strategy regarding meme usage depends on your industry and your target audience, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Know Your Audience – Not everyone you target is going react to a particular meme in the same way, as it is for almost all marketing initiatives in your arsenal. Memes tend to be more appealing to younger audiences (think Millennials) as they tend to spend more time on the Internet and social media than other audience types. A brand which tends to be more conservative or caters to older audiences may find the use of memes more difficult, but fret not; using images and text that is more familiar to older audiences (such as more classic movies) may find more success. A company that is going for a more playful look can use memes to look more vibrant.
- Memes Tend to Have Limited Lifespans – Memes provide a quick laugh or message for people to click on but can be forgotten just as easily. Memes perform best when incorporated into short-term marketing strategies or to bring brand awareness in online spaces. Additionally, do not reuse the same memes later just because some time has passed; invent new ones with different images and text to further your branding over time.
- Don’t Force It – If the audience feels your brand is trying too hard by posting memes that are a) too frequent in succession or b) not as relevant to your industry or overall message, the meme strategy may bring more harm than good. Delivering consistent messaging with variety is a better strategy to keep engagement up.
- Don’t Abuse It – Going overboard with memes can cause your audience to become disinterested with your brand, likening the attempts to spam email. Quality over quantity should be your best practice here, along with variety in your content. Post blogs, quizzes, polls, interesting stories in the news, etc. to show your audience that you are not a one-trick pony in your marketing campaigns.
- Be Original – Your message will be much more effective if you try to come up with your own memes instead of simply copying and pasting others you have found on the Internet. A few minutes in Photoshop or using meme generators will not go amiss when you give your audience original and clever content.
For more information on using memes in your online marketing strategies, contact our knowledgeable staff today! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column]