This article has been contributed by Adela Belin.
Today, every brand has a social presence, and social media marketing stands at the center of many business’s marketing strategies. It’s a two-way communication channel where brands interact with their target audience through quality and engaging content, which helps bring the brand and the audience closer.
While quality content, along with the various features that social media offers like live streams, and bite-sized videos works great, there’s another effective way to do that.
Nobody could have thought that this form of popular culture could pave its way through social media in such a way that even A-level brands like Netflix and Zomato use them for humor-based content.
Let’s look at why and how you should include memes in your social media strategy.
5 Reasons to Use Memes for Brand Marketing
Image source: freeup.net
A meme is a satirical piece of content with references from popular culture. They’re mostly humorous or sarcastic, which invites engagement from the audience.
Let’s take a look at what makes memes effective content pieces.
Since memes are taken from popular culture, you don’t have to create them from scratch. So, there’s minimal to no production or design costs involved.
You can pick up existing memes and repurpose them for your brand by adding witty captions and GIFs.
They don’t require design skills and they save time for entrepreneurs and social media managers. However, you need some creativity to make your memes relatable and unique. But that’s the only investment you need to make.
Moreover, if you use them the right way, they can invite a lot of engagement. So, your return on investment (ROI) is pretty good with memes.
2. Share-Worthy and Engaging
Since memes are often references to popular culture, most people on social media are aware of their meanings. So, creating memes with references that reflect your brand personality can invite a lot of shares. And more shares mean more engagement.
The more people that share your memes on their feed, stories or with their friends, the more people will become aware of your brand.
If the memes are relatable, they will attract a lot of sharing, tagging and comments, which is ultimately great for getting traction and building awareness around your brand’s page.
3. Effective Brand Promotion
By using memes, you position yourself as a modern brand, keeping up with trends which also helps your audience gather more interest in you. They also tie your brand community together by sharing a common interest or a reference, increasing the popularity of your brand among the audience.
Moreover, if an influencer shares your meme, traction will further increase, benefiting the brand in terms of exposure to a broader audience.
Gucci, one of the top luxury fashion brands is often seen posting memes that promote their brand through humor.
Image source: @gucci
Meme content is relatable. It can break down complex information and mold it into a format that your audience can easily relate to and understand.
This is great because it shows that you’re making an effort to educate your audience through easy-to-understand content. And what better way to convey complex concepts than through humorous and relatable content?
This can single-handedly make your brand popular among your target group.
BarkBox is a subscription brand for dog food and toys. Their Instagram page is often filled with memes which most dog lovers can relate with, so their comment section is always blooming.
Image source: @barkbox
5. Reflect a Human Side of the Brand
Today, brands on social media are trying hard to communicate with their audience, offer valuable content consistently, and relate with them in a better way.
While doing all this, sometimes things get a little robotic when you’re on the other side.
The audience wants to see the person behind the brand and not the brand itself and to do that, using memes is one of the best solutions.
When you use meme content on social media, it shows that you’re just like everyone else. Referencing popular culture and using humor through memes shows a more authentic and human side to the brand.
This is necessary because this human side is what will make your audience want to connect with you on a deeper level.
Best Practices for Using Memes for Brand Marketing
Now that you know why memes are effective on social media, you’re probably wondering how you can include them as part of your social media strategy.
Here are some best practices to include on your social media pages to get a good engagement from the audience.
1. Ensure Memes Align with Your Brand Personality and Voice
While memes come under casual content and you can probably figure out the kind of memes your audience would like, it’s challenging to ensure that these memes align with your brand’s personality.
Everything that goes on your social media, from stories to memes, needs to be consistent with your brand tone of voice so that the audience can relate to it in relation to the brand.
A mistake that most brands make is to use memes to be a part of the trend and grow their following, but while doing this, they forget to include their brand touch.
This ultimately causes more harm than good because it doesn’t effectively promote your brand or campaign. Try to make your memes unique by using your brand’s original personality.
It all comes down to how well you know your audience and how you can frame memes in a way that appeals to them, while also accurately reflecting your brand’s personality.
So, it’s important that you experiment and be acquainted with current meme trends but also keep in mind how you can use that trend in your favor to talk about your brand.
Doing so will ensure that in the future, whenever someone talks about the meme, they recall your brand.
While you need to promote and reflect the brand’s personality through memes, don’t try to sell. The last thing you should do is include a ‘buy’ call to action (CTA) in the meme.
Tinder is quite popular for making memes related to online dating and relationships. This reference from Titanic and relationships is the perfect ‘iceberg’ they could hit to strike a balance between relevance and brand personality.
Image source: @tinder
2. Repost User-Generated Memes
Memes are meant to be shared, and what’s better than encouraging meme creators and sharing their amazing memes with your audience?
You get to repost free content, and the creator benefits from the great reach that your reposting brings. It’s a win-win situation.
User-generated content is one of the best things you can post on your social media for a range of reasons. By doing so, you’re letting everyone know that if they create quality content related to the brand, it will be shared. This will motivate more people to create such content because they know it will be acknowledged and rewarded.
This meme on Instagram was created by a user who switched Burger King and IHOP’s name and made it hilarious. The kind of likes and comments on this post says it all.
Image source: @boywithnojob
3. Speak Directly to Your Audience
Like every other type of content you use, your memes need to speak directly to your audience. For this, it’s essential to know your audience well. Your memes need to resonate with them while also accurately representing your brand’s personality.
You need to know your audience’s language, humor, and what kind of keywords would appeal to them.
While doing this, use your target audience research to configure what kind of memes your audience would like. You can try answering questions like:
- what kind of content does your audience like?
- what kind of popular culture references would they know?
- what type of TV shows and movies do they watch?
- how can you introduce a sense of community through memes while promoting your brand?
Memes don’t work for every type of audience. If your target market includes people who are older and prefer formal communications, memes may not appeal to them much. As much as you may want to include memes in your social media content, it’s probably best to figure out if your audience will like them at all.
For instance, Netflix creates memes around the TV shows and movies on their platform that their audience watches, so the memes speak directly to them.
Image source: @netflix
4. Repurpose Popular Memes for Maximum Engagement
Before you start creating new memes for your brand, look at existing memes. There’s a good chance that you can find an appropriate meme for your campaign in a meme library.
Search for meme templates on GIPHY, one of the largest meme libraries on the internet. Search using hashtags or popular dialogue from a TV show or movie which your audience would have probably watched.
It’s always best to use references from trending events or movies which happened recently so the audience can recall it easily.
You can repurpose memes by adding custom captions and emojis. This sometimes works out nicely when your audience is already familiar with the meme, making it easier for them to relate to it.
While repurposing memes is a great way to relate better with the audience, you can also create original memes if you have the right captions and popular culture references in mind.
Try to play around with fonts and images while creating original memes.
You can also create memes inspired by interesting ways your customers use your products. This would call for great user-generated content, which would also build social proof – thus serving multiple purposes through a single piece of content.
Ruffles has used a very popular meme and repurposed it for their own product. It’s smart and relatable.
Image source: @ruffles
5. Leverage Moment Marketing Using Memes to Catch Up on Trends
Moment marketing is the art of creating a good relationship between online and offline media in real-time. It’s the feeling of ‘being there’, and it gained popularity, especially during the pandemic.
From presidential elections to Spotify’s 2020 Wrapped campaign, moment marketing is all about leveraging current happenings to advance brands’ ideologies, thus promoting them.
The whole idea behind moment marketing is to latch on to trends and make them work in your favor by introducing a brand moment relatable to your customers.
From Netflix to Burger King, a wide set of brands participate in moment marketing on social media, especially through the use of memes.
Brands are praised by customers worldwide for being proactive and modern for using moment marketing. It’s one of the best ways to use memes at a time when the chances of going viral are at the highest.
When the “This claim has been disputed” feature was made available on social media, Oreo Cookies took a step to make it a brand promotion tactic that was smart and attracted attention.
Image source: @Oreo
6. Don’t Overdo It
Now just because memes help your audience relate to your brand and introduce a humorous touch to your profile doesn’t mean that you should overdo it and post a whole bunch of memes. You don’t want to turn your brand page into a meme account.
Don’t replace all your standard content with memes, because you still need to post high-quality content that adds value to your audience and helps them solve a problem. Memes are good for casual content once in a while, but overdoing it takes away the essence of it.
It’s important to remember that memes don’t have a great shelf life and their popularity wanes very quickly. So, make sure you’re not relying on them entirely and keep them under check.
On a side note, you could consider starting a blog about your brand, and include memes to make your writing more interesting for the reader.
The meme culture is growing, and more brands are using them in their social media strategy to attract engagement from their audience.
Memes are a great way to interact with your audience and at the same time, promote your brand’s personality to help the audience relate to it better. They also help spread the word about your brand and promote campaigns through sharing and tagging.
Wrapping it up, memes can prove to be a highly effective weapon for engagement on social media if they’re leveraged the right way and at the right moment.
About the author: Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.