Memes in Marketing: What Internet Marketers can Learn from Internet Cats

Memes in Marketing

With the rise of banner blindness and ad-blocking, and with more people using streaming services instead of watching TV it’s a challenge now for brands to reach the public.

Marketers are now left to find creative methods that embrace humour, new social media platforms, and the ever-evolving internet culture.

Cue: memes in marketing. The phenomenon began as fun cartoons to get a good laugh out of but now speak to everyone from millennials to middle-aged moms, to public figures. Love them, or hate them, they’re here to stay — for the foreseeable future, at least — and what you may now have known is that they can actually help you build better and more compelling marketing strategy.

Before you start using memes in marketing for your brand, you should note that there are right and wrong ways to use these in the context of a campaign, or just to amp up your social media presence. Keep on reading to find out how you can use memes in marketing to increase your exposure.

What’s in a meme?

The way people consume content has drastically changed over the last couple of years. Marketers are now called upon to adapt their content marketing strategies to stay relevant. Millennials spend over 200 minutes online every day and are constantly being bombarded with forceful marketing messages which they have grown immune to.

What catches their attention though, is visual representation. Visual content increases brand association, brand awareness, engagement, and overall aesthetic of your website, articles, and social media pages.

Social media is largely influenced by pop culture jokes and references made by the friends, and celebrities we follow. Memes are the universal language that all social media users understand. Consumers, depending on your target market, spend a significant amount of time online looking at those hilarious memes and ridiculous cat videos — and it is a complete buzzkill to see branded content pop up on their screen.

This is the reason why marketers have to be smarter about the content being published on social media. Tailoring your content to suit your audience and platform will ensure you achieve the desired results. Today, this means less “promotional” messages and more humorous “internet conversations” — which is where memes come into play.

The Subtle Art of Memejacking

As much as they are fun, memes can be difficult to understand for some, and even more difficult to turn into a marketing tool. This is where memejacking (or memevertising) comes into play. Simply put, memejacking means using an already established meme to market your brand to your audience. By using an already established meme, most of the work has already been done — the only thing left to do is adapt the meme to your message, and audience.

If you’re not convinced that memes have a place in your marketing strategy, here are a few things that might convince you to jump on the meme bandwagon:

  • They’re already viral: By attaching a branded message to an already popular meme, you are taking full advantage of the virality of the meme and increasing the chances of your message getting to your audience.
  • They’re easy to create: Marketing campaigns often depend on fresh and new content. Because memes are so simple to create and to adapt to your message, having some quick and easy content is a delight for marketers.
  • We live in a society that likes to share: Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, people love sharing things they find funny, or interesting. Social media platforms are built for sharing, and they keep working on improving this experience for their users. If executed properly — and if they attract the right attention — memes are more likely to be shared than other marketing forms. See how Seamless, a food delivery service, won the Internet, with their on-point meme game.
  • Visuals: Studies have shown that we remember around 10% of the text we see, but if that same text is coupled with an image,  this percentage increases to 65%. In other words, by leveraging the power of combining text and image, you can ensure that your target audience will remember your message.
  • They are relatable: Marketers need to get creative in order to get younger audiences interested in their products; as millennials and gen-zs are getting more ad-adverse, this is becoming more difficult. Memes make campaigns more relatable, especially to this younger audience. They’re usually light-hearted and funny, and incorporating them in your campaigns or social media presence is a great way to show them that you know how to have fun. Here’s an example of Lucidcharts doing just that.

Memejacking 101

So you’ve considered using memes for your campaign because of the advantages they may bring, but you’re still unsure about how to enter the memes in marketing game. Here are some tips that will help you get started.

  • Understand the meme: Before you memejack you have to really understand the meme, what it implies, and research some good examples. Offending your audience is the last thing you want to do, and those how have done it have paid the price.
  • Do it quickly: Memes generally have a short lifespan. To successfully memejack a meme, you should adopt it at its tipping point — where it’s becoming well-known, but where no other brand has exploited it. Luckily, some websites like Reddit will allow you to easily stay on top of trending memes, and spot some ripe ones ready to be memejacked
  • Ensure the meme is relatable to your brand: The way you memejack should have something to do with your brand or industry. Posting content related to your brand will generate more engagement, but posting even the latest most popular meme with no connection to your brand will have none, or a negative effect
  • Be witty, funny, or entertaining: Don’t aim to be serious when using memes. Make sure your tone shows your audience that you know how to be fun. A notable example of a famous brand doing this is Gucci.

Where should you post your meme?

You have now created your meme, but where do you post it? As we mentioned earlier, memes make great visual content for your brand and are meant to be shared. Memes should be posted on your brand’s social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all good examples since they thrive on visual content.

Contrary to popular belief, memes can be posted alongside your more formal content, and even complement them. Some good examples to check out are theproteinbar, and the TSA.

Now, you’re equipped with all the information and tips you need for a successful memejack. Mastering it will require a lot of creativity and research. The upside: low financial costs, increased exposure, and a huge opportunity to connect with your audience on a higher level.

For more information on how you can incorporate the latest internet trends into your marketing strategy, call one of our digital marketing experts at 866.288.6046 or contact us here.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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