Memes existed before the internet age. They were just as popular in print as they are now on the computer or mobile screen. As a general definition, memes aggregate a cultural concept shared by many and can be easily used as a symbolic reference to a specific idea, state of mind or belief.
You know exactly what we mean: from Success Kid to “One does not simply…”, you have already seen, shared or even created your own memes on your personal social media profiles. From personal use, memes have taken the leap to the marketing and advertising world. After all, what people find interesting and funny when shared by friends could make them build a favourable opinion for a brand.
So top brands and smaller companies started creating and sharing memes – with mixed results. Some of them became epic, others were downright epic fails. Unfortunately, there is a thin line between being funny and original and looking silly or, worse, gross and insensitive.
This is why we believe that it is worthwhile sharing a few helpful tips about how to include memes in your marketing mix.
- Be Audience Specific
How do your target customers react to memes in general? Are they likely to understand them, to relate to them culturally? This is very important. While some memes are self explanatory (such as Success Kid), others require some background information on the image source for the meme (as it happens with “I do not always” and “One does not simply” memes).
If your audience does not have the adequate cultural background for understanding a specific meme, at best they will be confused, and at worst they may feel insulted.
- Adopt the Adequate Sense of Humour
There are various ways of being funny. Humour has a very wide spectrum, from fine irony to burlesque humour. People enjoy certain types of humour, while they find others hard to understand or offensive.
At the same time, each meme has a specific meaning in the collective understanding. Forcing another type of humour on it will make your brand look like it does not understand how memes work.
- Create Your Own Branded Memes Whenever You Can
Meme generators are the easiest way of creating a meme within minutes. However, that is what everyone can do, even a child. A branded company meme takes some time, Photoshop skills and even using your own proprietary fonts and images.
The whole purpose of sharing memes in marketing is adding value to your brand. Otherwise, you are simply filling up your timeline with pointless posts which will not create any engagement. Memes alone will never attract more customers for your business.
- If It Looks Forced, It Is Bad
Sometimes a promotion or a special offer can be nicely wrapped in a meme. Otherwise it does not. If you have to work hard to fit your message in a meme and the end result looks unnatural and without connection to the original meme, give up. Create your promotional message in a different manner and leave the meme for an appropriate moment.
- Do Not Overuse Memes
Memes are great when they are used sparingly and on the right occasion. Too many memes on your timeline will make your clients wonder whether you are a legitimate business, or maybe that your social media pages were hacked. Memes should always be the exception to your social media mix, not the rule.
Last but not least, be aware that some meme images are protected by digital management rights, meaning that they cannot be used for any commercial purpose.