The world of memes can be quite a daunting one. We’ve seen brands soar to new heights by changing up their tone of voice and opening the door to memes. But we’ve also seen companies crash and burn on social media.
So should your business use memes or just stay clear?
It’s a tricky one and kind of cut-throat. Trendy memes are usually a sure way to gather reactions and engagement. But are they really for everyone?
On social media, memes usually take the form of a GIF or static picture playing on a familiar theme, meaning, or phenomenon, often with text layered on top of or over the image. Across industries, more marketers are using memes to build communities, relate to their audience, and make an impression in their followers’ memory.
Here are four reasons memes should be part of your social media content:
- Memes can be an extremely low-cost way to create engaging content that attracts a following – memes play off on content that’s created by other people so you don’t need to create an original video or photo yourself. You can make use of the existing media by adding a new caption or twist.
- Memes can create a sense of community – memes are funny, and that helps foster community among your followers. They can work to create a sense of belonging because your audience can relate to the situation and everyone’s in on the same joke.
- Content based around memes can generate shares – memes are made to be shared so the content is often reposted and re-memed across the internet. When people send the meme to a friend for a laugh, they create a relationship with your brand and are more likely to follow your activity for more inspiration.
- Memes can support brand relevance – because memes are often based on a current trend or event, they make your brand more real, modern and human.
Are there any memes rules?
There’s no right or wrong way to go about posting memes really. But what you do need to do is understand your audience.
Will your audience think this is funny, clever, witty?
Will they understand it?
You need to really get a grasp on your audience before you start just throwing out memes and hoping for the best. Also, maintain brand consistency. Although memes can be controversial and won’t appeal to everyone, they help support niche positioning and reach a specific community. When refining your tone, start by clearly defining your target persona.
TIP: Many meme attempts fail because they have been created as generic ads rather than cultural commentary. Successful memes don’t include an action item – there’s no “buy” or “subscribe” in the content.
Netflix is often one of the best examples of meme use. In December 2018, the Netflix original film Bird Box went viral after content started cropping up on popular meme accounts. This helped the film get more than 70 million views in the first 24 hours.
Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.
— Netflix (@netflix) January 2, 2019
Custom memes are a bit harder to create as there needs to be some thinking at your end. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating custom memes for your brand:
- Meme types: there are different ways to create memes online, with photos, screenshots, videos, or GIFs. Take some time to experiment with them all and see what users react better to.
- Fonts: Montserrat or Helvetica Neue are the standard fonts because Twitter uses this styling. Impact font has gone out of fashion and tends to make memes look outdated.
- Style: consider using emojis, rounded corners, and embedded text. Meme audiences are used to these visual elements and will recognise them.
Thankfully, most groups on the internet have their own community, so niche memes are trending. These are memes that only people in the know would know, you know?
Here’s a great example of a niche meme: it’s one of our tweets from valentines days.
This is only really funny for those deeply invested in digital marketing …
Happy Valentine’s day ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
— +24 Marketing (@Plus24Marketing) February 14, 2020
This is a nice and harmless meme, a good bit of fun and that’s what it should be about.
We would recommend researching your memes if you’re going to use any popular templates mainly because context matters. Be careful and double-check the sources and the context behind it before you go posting.
If you want to start posting memes we would say start small, make sure they’re relevant and, most importantly, have fun with it.