With the average person spending an hour and a half a day on social media, you want to ensure that your target audience sees your brand. You can do this by incorporating memes into your social media strategy. Memes are visually easily digestible content that can resonate with your audience.

What is a meme?

In the 2000s the concept of modern-day memes became a cultural phenomenon (although the word meme was coined back in the 1970s by Richard Dawkins). While memes can exist in short-form videos or GIFs, a meme is typically an image with some text added to it. They are typically funny, entertaining, and easy to consume. Due to their simplistic format, memes resonate well with people. They are easy to make and are sharable, and relatable. The wonderful thing about memes is that there is no such thing as plagiarism, so if you see a great meme, you can make your own using that image!
woman looking at her phone with a shocked expression with the words "what if I told you, you can use memes in marketing?"
Source: Getty Images

Why you should use memes in your marketing strategy

As marketers, we know how difficult it is to constantly create new content for social media. This is where injecting some memes into your marketing can help. Memes are easy to do and save a load of time as most of the demanding work is already done! Use memes and you are almost guaranteed to get impressions, likes, shares, and comments. A meme allows the brand to engage with its customers without appearing overly salesy.
There are two golden rules for using memes in marketing:
Know your memes – Start by looking at memes. Make sure you understand the meme (and its context) before you use it. Check your competitors and see if they are using them.
Know your audience personas – You need to consider your target audience. Your memes should match the audience’s likes and beliefs. If you go against their beliefs, you could lose your audience. Consider age too, will the meme be relatable to them?

Pie chart should I use memes. Yes and yes but in yellow
Source: imgflip

How can memes help you with social media marketing?

If you want a relatively easy and quick way to grow your following and reach on social media, then memes should become part of your strategy. Here are just some easy wins meme marketing can help you with.

Expand your reach on social media
Memes are great for expanding your reach on social media. Anyone can share them, and they all lead back to your business so you can quickly grow and scale your business. Animal memes are always good!
sleeping cat with smiley face. Text saying animal memes make great sharable content
Source: Getty Images

Building your brand awareness
If your meme includes a reference to your brand or market in which you operate, you can build awareness of your brand to a load of new audiences.
woman with arms raised with text saying the moment you realise memes build brand awareness
Source: Getty Images

Customer interaction
Memes work well for your already existing customer and follower base. Are you struggling to get interaction on social media? If so, a meme is a suitable place to start. Look at the meme below a still from 300 and an accompanying quote which was posted on a sewing brands page on Facebook. The status was simply “Does anyone else feel like this?” A simple conversation starter (and shareable content).

Source: Domestic Geek Girl

Establishing your presence
If your business is on social media, it wants to establish its presence and communicate with its audience. Memes help show a fun and human side to the company.
distracted boyfriend meme with boyfriend looking at LocaliQ
Source: Getty Images

Tips on how to effectively use memes

When you want to introduce memes to your social media strategy, we suggest there are a few ways to do it.
1. Start building a meme bank – If you have found any great memes on the internet, add these to a bank of memes you can use.
2. Create your own memes – this will take a bit more time, but if highly worth it.
3. Look for memes that are linked to your market. For example, if you sell craft goods, search for crafting memes online and add your favourites to a meme bank).
4. Consider what is topical and viral right now and how you can repurpose them to fit in with your brand/market.
5. Keep checking the results of your memes – When you are using several types of memes, it is worth recording the results of your strategy. You can use metrics, such as likes, shares, impressions, and comments. You may find some types of memes work better with your audience. For example, does your audience interact better with animal memes than human memes? Were there any comments that said they did not like a particular meme or found it offensive?

Hot topic memes and traditional memes

Some memes have been around for an exceptionally long time (for example., distracted boyfriend, Scumbag Steve, Good Guy Gary), however, there can be memes that are topical and taken from a specific moment. Two examples of hot topic memes are the 2020 presidential inauguration of Joe Biden with Bernie Sanders sitting there in his mittens, or the 2022 infamous Oscar moment involving Will Smith and Chris Rock. Both these moments created a flurry of memes which were all over social media in the days, weeks, and months that followed. Brands got on board too. We love this IKEA one, taking the Bernie image and using a get the look slogan, highlighting some of their products.
Ikea meme featuring Bernie Sanders in his mittens
Source: Ikea using Bernie Sanders meme

Memes and copyright: Can I use any image to make a meme?

Copyright around memes is a lot more complicated than we think and is certainly not black and white. If somebody uses a meme on their personal social media account, it is unlikely that they will be prosecuted, but big businesses could be issued a cease-and-desist letter or sued for using the image without permission.
Memes often use stills from movies (Morpheus in The Matrix, Gene Wilder from Charlie & the Chocolate factory). The copyright of these images belongs to the film companies. Although if used on a personal social media page is very unlikely to find the poster sued. However, when businesses use the image and turn it into a meme as part of their advertising campaign, then they could be seen as profiting from the image and the film company may feel that is a reason to sue the business.
We suggest that if you think it may cause issues for the company, then don’t use the meme and create your own fun memes without fear of recriminations!

Are there any instances where I shouldn’t use memes?

As we have said, memes are fun in nature and can help build your brand’s social media presence. With that being said, not every brand can and should use memes. For example, if you are a business that provides certain healthcare or funeral services, memes could be deemed insensitive. Brands should look at their current audience and gauge if memes would enhance their digital marketing or whether it would harm it.

Top free sites for making memes

While you can easily download a meme and use it, you can also create your own, giving your brand a voice. We have had a play with a few of the free meme maker sites and are giving you our top three:
Kapwing – Our favourite meme maker, easy user interface and the ability to download your memes easily.
Imgflip – Not as easy to download your memes but a simple enough user experience and plenty of memes to choose from.
Meme Generator – Difficult to download your meme, but easy enough to use.

 

Why not begin to add some memes into your social media marketing strategy and test if they work for you. Don’t forget to follow the rules we have listed and see what works best for you.
If you’d like more advice on your social media strategy, then LOCALiQ can help. Why not have a chat with us today and see how we can help you?

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