The Art of Meme Marketing
We all know what a meme is and what they look like. But have we seen them used effectively in marketing?
Like them or not, as marketers, we need to understand that there is an art to memes. Not every meme should be used for every industry, nor every day, nor every joke. But undoubtedly, recent research shows that when they’re used correctly, memes can be a powerful tool to connect with potential customers.
The secret to a perfect meme is ~timing~ and ~relevancy~.
Take the memes below, for example. I’m talking about memes and how to use them, so the memes I chose to share are about just that. They are timely and relevant. Although these meme templates have been around for a while, which also plays into my lesson about past memes and why they’ve been successful in the meme community.
YouTube’s Culture and Trends Report for 2022
YouTube recently released its 2022 report on current culture and trends. The findings tell us a lot about how society has changed and, therefore, its use of social media- including meme usage. Let’s look at some meme stats they listed:
- 57% of Gen Z agree that they like it when brands participate in memes
- 63% of Gen Z followed one or more meme accounts in the past 12 months
Gen Z finds memes as a way to participate in pop culture. It allows them to get creative and remix popular content. Memes are a form of highly interactive cultural expression for this generation. According to YouTube, “Memes Matter”.
Are Memes Right for Your Business?
To figure out if your brand should be using memes, you should consider a few things:
- What is the overall personality of your brand: bold, luxurious, simplistic, professional, upbeat, etc.
- Businesses should only use memes if it fits into their marketing strategy and brand persona. I suggest brands with bubbly, fun, and casual-leaning personas use memes and for high-end brands to be weary of their use.
- What is the voice of your brand?
- What words, phrases, and language are you currently using to speak to your audience? If this voice is performing well, and you think memes would slide into the established dialogue, then go for it!
- What kind of memes would you want to post?
- Your target market (their age, interests, etc.) should be leading this conversation. Posting Gen Z memes for Baby Boomers wouldn’t land as well as one targeted to their generation.
Let’s Talk about Timing and Relevancy
When’s the right time to post a marketing meme? That depends on a few factors:
- What audience are you targeting? – Make sure the meme template you choose is likely to resonate with your audience, then do some research to find times they will be online and most likely to engage with your content
- What’s going on in pop culture? – Some of the best memes jump on something new and trending in pop culture (cough cough, Adam Levine in your DMs or Rihanna’s Super Bowl halftime announcement)
- What the meme is about – Strive to find the best time to post about a certain topic. Example -Think about your customers pain points around certain times of the year. Such as during the holidays when they may be trying to be off their screens more but keep seeing notifications, that’s a great time to make a meme about this shared struggle.
What to do if You’re Struggling to Keep Up with Meme Trends
If you struggle keeping up with pop culture or social media trends, using memes that have lasted the test of time and can be used as evergreen content!
Check out this website for customizable evergreen meme templates! https://imgflip.com/memetemplates
Evergreen memes are easily recognizable and reusable. By using evergreen memes, you avoid having to stay up-to-date with pop culture and be quick to the punch with posting… Just be sure to familiarize yourself with the past usage of a given meme template to make sure you use it correctly and avoid an embarrassing faux pas!
Meme Marketing for a Business
The first step in making a marketing meme is to find something trending with an angle you can skew to your audience. Then you need to get creative! Make a meme that makes you giggle. If you can’t make yourself laugh, go back to the drawing board.
You’ll then want to check that you have the right image or wording to participate in the meme you are making (many memes follow certain wording patterns or images, such as the “One does not simply…” meme.
After making your meme, you should check the conversation online and see how your meme will fit into it. You also should have someone look over your meme and check for understanding, humor, and appropriateness.
The last step is posting your meme and keeping tabs on it to see how it performs and how your audience perceives it.
To track how well your meme content is doing overtime, make a meme categorization tag within Cloud Campaign. Use this tag to see how viewed and engaged your meme content is and compare it to other content you post. This can help you determine if meme content is resonating with your audience.
I’ve attached a meme that I made for Cloud Campaign in anticipation of the Stranger Things season 4 part 2 release. I saw buzz around the topic online and used past Stranger Things memes to base mine on.
I found a few images that I thought were clear and had meme potential. Then I got to work crafting creative wording that would relate to my audience and our product.
This particular meme I made models another popular meme photo. This meme worked well because it was easy to understand based on the popular meme it was modeled after, and includes a pop culture reference to the trending TV show. The meme’s timing was also a large part of the success because it was posted the day the new season came out. If the same meme were posted today, we could expect that it wouldn’t perform as well because the Stranger Things buzz has died down since the season ended.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Make sure you understand the meme and what it means before posting it
- Understand the conversation and jokes surrounding the meme before using it
- Check that the meme aligns with your brand
- Post the meme to a platform where you think your audience would like to see this kind of content
- Get creative and think of a fun way to incorporate the meme into your marketing
Marketing Memes Matter
Memes allow marketers to connect with their audience in a fun and authentic way. Many memes used by brands relate to their audience’s pain points and show that they understand them. They can be a great way to show your brand’s personality and sense of humor. But, caution needs to be employed when posting a meme. Certain memes can have a negative connotation to them and may be seen as offensive. To avoid mistakes like this, always understand the meaning of a meme before posting it and have others look it over!
Using memes for marketing is a fun and challenging task, but with some caution and creativity, you can get great engagement and connect with your audience in a new way!