Memes are an ever-present part of the online experience, especially on social channels. This internet phenomenon has grown in popularity, along with the visual nature of the web and social media. They are a very interesting and now large part of our online culture. For the most part, memes are meant to be funny of sarcastic but because they do grab our attention, businesses can use them to their advantage as long as it is done in a smart or clever way.
What is an Internet Meme?
In case you aren't familiar, we thought we should just get the description out of the way. Meme is pronounced with a long E and the last E is silent. The original, pre-internet definition of a meme is, "an element of a culture on system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation". The newer definition is, "a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users. Many of the popular image memes you see (and most of the ones we used in this article) are actually called Macros. Our Kermit the Frog meme / Macro at the top of the article is a variation on this popular one where the user will add text on the top:
How to Make an Effective Meme for Your Business
The key to an effective meme for your business is finding the right image to use. It can be a picture you take, an image of a product or service you offer, or a spin on a popular meme. You can find popular memes by searching the web; several sites will show you meme base images that have been popular for a long time, as well as current trending ones. We will talk more about creating memes and using meme generator tools in a bit. The image you choose and overall meme must tie into your branding or your company in some way. Memes are also supposed to be clever, witty, or funny, so that element should be added in order to help get your meme viral.
The short answer to the questioning baby is "no," but a meme or macro that is already viral can help your cause. As a general rule, to help your meme be popular it should be:
- Easy to create
- Easy to consume
- Relatable to your audience
- Funny, witty, clever, or smart
What is the theme for your meme? Do you want to evoke a sense of pride or humor? Think about your goals and the feeling you want your audience to have when they associate the meme with your company. Once you have the theme, you can then pick the image and lastly develop the text. Here are some popular themes or text ideas:
- Animals saying human things.
- Babies saying or doing adult things.
- Sayings from popular television shows or movies.
- Popular images of characters from television shows or movies.
- Popular or classic quotes.
- Puns or joke punch lines.
- That moment when. . .
- Grumpy Cat.
- Most Interesting Man in the World.
Use caution with popular memes that might be associated with risqué or off color jokes. Be sure that you understand the meme to prevent it from being hijacked, or copied over in a negative way. The other point of caution would be with grammatically incorrect memes. There is one popular type of meme [a person or group of people] be like [something]. Since "be like" is not grammatically correct, but known in pop culture, it is up to you to decide if you want to use something like that. Think about how your audience would react and whether or not they might understand it. As with any other type of marketing campaign, this can be tested for its efficiency and the best reaction.
Once you have found the right picture for your meme and have created the funny or clever saying on it, then it is time to share it on social media. You should use all your social channels to distribute the meme, and push it out often enough to ensure that it is seen by a majority of your audience. Use your social channels as a test audience and the ones that get the most attention should be tapped for some advertising campaigns. Here are a few examples of great advertising ideas:
Meme Making Tools
There are several sites that allow you to make memes for free, however they add their own watermark at the bottom. If you have a designer, a design team, or if you are handy with Photoshop, then you can make your own and add your own watermark; this would be ideal for your own branding. Sites like www.MemeGenerator.net help you write and download memes, and also show you the most popular images and trending images too. Another similar site that helps you generate memes for free is www.Memesly.com. Those sites allow you to add the top text and bottom text and then download the image, royalty free. The popular images that are all over the internet are not copy written, so do not worry about grabbing an image an adding your own text and watermark. Especially when you are modifying an image, it makes it your own.
Using memes as part of your marketing efforts definitely can grab the attention of users, help increase your reach and help your branding efforts. It can also be a fun and exciting project for the marketing team. Memes must be planned out with your social media team in order to get the most out of it and increase chances of it going viral. Even if your meme doesn't go viral, using a well-recognized macro that already is viral will definitely increase the chances of it grabbing the attention of your target audience, followers, and customers.