Memes are becoming increasingly popular. We've seen them, laughed at them, and frequently shared them. But, if we told you that you could profit from this trend as well, would you believe us?
Marketing is no longer dominated by creating advertisements solely to sell a product. Brands all over the world are working hard to increase engagement. And, over time, their focus has shifted to an entirely new marketing strategy – Meme Marketing Strategy.
Memes are no longer just for making people laugh. They have now become a delightful medium for spreading awareness. Simply put, meme marketing is an ingenious hybrid of social media marketing and content marketing.
What are Memes?
Before we get into meme marketing, let's define the term "meme." Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme" in 1976, when he stated, "How an idea could spread and have a stronghold in popular culture (audience) in the same way that genes multiply" (shareability). A meme is a phrase, a joke, or a GIF/video based on popular cultures, such as a TV show or a movie.
What is Meme Marketing?
Meme marketing is the use of memes to promote your business. It's a lighthearted way to connect with your audience or followers and allows you to interact with your readers. Memes are highly relatable and shareable to most social media audiences, giving brands a significant advantage in improving their storytelling and brand narratives.
The Advantages of Meme Marketing
It is difficult to establish a relationship with difficult-to-reach customers in a world where people skip ads. Memes are one way to get to them. There are numerous advantages to using memes or meme marketing:
1. Memes are Low-cost Content
Memes are simple to create and do not have to be unique all of the time. Digital marketers can save time and engage their customers/followers by repurposing existing content. Trending memes that use an analogy from a TV show or movie highly likely to go viral. In the case of memes, one does not need to be concerned about resolution or design.
2. Memes Have a Wide Reach
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One of the primary benefits of using memes is the increased reach. Memes are relatable to nearly everyone, and with the right hashtags, they can reach a large audience. Most importantly, meme content is more shareable than advertisements and can help you increase your brand's visibility.
3. Memes Have a High Recall Rate
We only remember things that are extremely important to us or that catch our attention. Good memes can entice you to put down your phone and engage with it instead of scrolling through it. We are more likely to remember posts that have been shared by our friends or make us laugh uncontrollably. If it was a perfect meme, there's a good chance the user will remember your brand. Although not all users who like your memes will become customers, they will remember your brand and consider what you offer.
4. Memes Increase Engagement
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Likes, shares, comments, and a brand recall are all on the rise! Meme marketing provides all of this while also increasing your social media followers. Users may not mind if a meme is related to a service or product every now and then. Balance is essential in this situation. You can use a 75/25 rule, in which 75 percent of memes are general, and 25 percent are specific to your service/product.
How to Do Meme Marketing?
Memes can be used almost anywhere. Templates for emails, Banners for social media, Postcards, T-shirts, Flyers, Ads, Cards for greetings, Presentations, Swag. If you're feeling brave, you can even incorporate memes into your logo. No matter where you use them, memes are a simple way to make your designs and marketing more enjoyable.
However, to do meme marketing can be a risky move because you're using them to drive sales and engage with your audience. When you use memes as part of your marketing strategy, you claim them as an integral part of your brand in a way that you do not when you simply share memes for fun.
1. Find Memes that are Relevant to Your Brand
Memes are a type of language. They use abbreviations. Before you can use memes in your design and marketing efforts, you must first determine which memes are compatible with your brand by understanding your target audience. Because their audiences see memes every day, some brands, such as video game companies and geeky apparel retailers, have extensive meme vocabularies. As a result of their audiences' limited exposure to memes and their less playful brand personas, others' meme vocabularies are more limited.
2. Use Memes in the Appropriate Context
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Knowing where to use meme marketing is the next step in making your brand a meme machine. Memes can be found on social media, but they can also be found on your website's graphics and even within blog posts. Consider what you're saying with the memes you're using. Once you've answered that, you'll know where to put them. Assume you own a grocery store and want to use memes to connect with younger customers and differentiate your marketing from competitors. You could use "starter pack" memes in your circulars to highlight specific items you stock and why buyers might buy them together.
Knowing when and where to use memes necessitates understanding your target audience. Will they laugh at a meme you share but be perplexed by a website design in which each button morphs into a different Advice Animal when you mouse over it? The more meme-savvy your target audience, the more daring you can be with memes in your design.
3. Everything Revolves Around Timing
Memes come and go at a breakneck pace. One disadvantage of using meme marketing is that you're working with a vocabulary with a finite lifespan. Use a meme when your brand's popularity is dwindling, and it appears to be falling behind. When you use an out-of-date meme, you seem entirely out of touch.
Alternatively, using an old-school meme can protect your brand from appearing out of touch if you're willing to be self-aware about it. If you don't want to go retro with your memes, pay close attention to which memes are trending up and which are trending down. Using memes in short-form marketing materials such as Facebook ads and limited offer landing pages is a simple way to work with passing trends.
4. Recognize that Memes Change
Some memes are damaged goods (such as Pepe the Frog), while others were icky from the start (like Ugandan Knuckles.) Using them will only harm your company's reputation. When looking for memes to incorporate into your designs, do your research thoroughly. If you choose a favorite of edgelords (and your brand isn't edgy), you risk being offensive.
Remember that no one owns a meme, not even the person who created it. No meme is immune to being paired with obnoxious captions, adopted as a symbol of something objectively awful, or simply morphing into something that feels overdone or too silly to match your brand voice any longer.
Examples of Meme Marketing
Here are some of the most successful examples of meme marketing from recent years to give you an idea of how brands are using memes to great success.
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With over 6 million Twitter followers and 61 million Facebook likes, Netflix is well-known for its extensive online social media following. But that doesn't stop them from using funny memes to grow their audience.
Their campaign for the film Bird Box is one of their most recent examples of a successful meme marketing campaign. The film was produced and released as one of Netflix Originals. It was promoted on social media with many hilarious and viral memes, such as the one below. Because of the flurry of memes that came the film's release, many users were exposed to the memes who had never seen the film before. With so many jokes and constant memes (many of which required viewing the film to understand), this convinced many users to finally watch it.
Image is taken from Barkbox Facebook page
BarkBox is a subscription box for dogs with toys and treats every month. BarkBox has over 300,000 Twitter followers and 3 million Facebook fans, and it has grown its following by posting a variety of dog-related memes. Here are some of the most popular memes from their Twitter account. BarkBox, unlike other brands, pays attention to its target audience and creates a variety of dog-related meme marketing that its fans will love. Rather than constantly spamming users with their product (as many brands do), BarkBox has found a fine line between humor and product placement within their memes.
∙ AirPods by Apple
Image is taken from Medium
When it comes to marketing, Apple needs no introduction. With a billion-dollar marketing budget, they don't appear to need to post on social media to get people to buy their products. In recent years, the most popular Apple product has not been their phones or laptops, but their AirPods. These wireless earphones have become a massive hit with consumers and, like most Apple products, have become a status symbol. On Twitter and other social media sites, there was an enormous storm of memes highlighting the price when they were released. Although some may argue that these aren't funny or show the product positively, the amount of exposure and free advertising they received was well worth it. Here are some of the meme marketing by Apple that trended on Twitter at the time of their release.
Although it is unclear whether these memes were created by Apple or by users, they have significantly impacted their brand's exposure. Not only did they reach millions of users worldwide, but they also became an even more desirable item, with most Apple stores worldwide selling out.
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Memes are becoming increasingly popular, with meme-related content appearing on visual content platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, IGTV, LinkedIn, and Twitter. More people than ever before are creating and consuming memes online. Meme marketing is an effective vehicle for many brands' marketing strategies. Trust your instincts when it comes to humor, as you should with most creative processes. If you don't think a meme you made is funny, interesting, or insightful, your customers will likely disagree. Use your best judgment, and keep in mind that the more memes you consume, the better you will become at creating them. Let the memes begin!