Marketers worldwide are witnessing a growing aversion for ads by the audience, with most ads getting skipped or most often being ignored. In such a situation, marketers need to think innovatively and develop a content format that engages the user. Memes are known to fulfill all such criteria by being relatable and entertaining, and appealing to the contemporary online user with reduced attention spans.
Memes come in all forms, but they usually take the form of GIF or static image playing out a relatable theme, meaning, or phenomenon with a layering of text on top or over the image. Presently, memes are not restricted to only static images with the introduction of video memes. Irrespective of industries – more marketers today are using memes to build online communities to relate to the audience and improve the ‘stickability’ factor associated with a brand.
This write up seeks to interest the reader with pointers on leveraging memes for your social marketing strategy. Let’s look at them one-by-one:
- Latch on to it quickly: There is a critical sweet spot for meme-jacking popular memes. It occurs when the meme is at a tipping point when it is buzzing with the potential to go viral, yet there are only a few creators who have used it. At this moment, you have to make your move and put out the meme before it is too late.
To stay ahead of others, you need to be on the lookout for trending memes on Reddit or StumbleUpon because it is where potentially viral memes tend to crop up before they go mainstream on Facebook and Twitter. Besides this, being well networked on social media and staying abreast of the latest news also helps.
- Get a Good Understanding: You need to have a sound understanding of the topic or event that is going to feature in the meme. Else, there are possible chances of you offending a section of the audience and meme becoming counterproductive. You have to make an effort to understand the history and origin associated with the event, phenomenon, or celebrity before making a meme. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
That said, you can put out a provoking meme when you become an established brand with a loyal following. You can make a meme with an offensive meme maker and put it out there. But, you can ill-afford to do it as a budding brand when you are in the phase where you are building a brand online and want all the possible support from the audience.
- Practice Social Listening: Creating memes and putting it out on social platforms is more about closely observing popular trends that have caught the audience’s imagination. One of the practical activities considered crucial to making engaging memes is active social listening. It is about traversing the online landscape, especially social media, and discovering trends before anyone does. Instead of piggy-backing on existing ideas and popular memes, it is always good to create original one-of-a-kind memes that are likely to have a wider appeal among the audience. This could amplify your social media marketing with the right message that gels well with your brand.
- Relatable to the Brand: An important consideration for meme-jacking is that the meme should have some correlation with your brand or industry. It is certainly not a good idea to force-fit a popular idea to make an underwhelming meme. Instead, the effort must be focused on creating memes that try to incorporate the brand’s essence cleverly – mission, slogan, messaging, etc.
Remain conscious that engagement happens when people find there is an undeniable association with your brand. Making a meme for the sake of it will not cut, and there are chances of the audience tagging your brand as ‘uninteresting’ or ‘not happening,’ which must be avoided at all costs.
- Be Humorous & Witty: Most viral memes come with a humorous tone, and the audience finds it easier and eager to relate to such content. Hence, care must be taken to align the imagery and copy in the meme to these goals. Going with humor in most of your memes increases the probability of it getting widely shared by the audience, improving its possibility of going viral. Consequently, such memes can be instrumental in getting your brand across to newer audiences.
- Remain Honest to the Format: The audience relates to the meme only if it comes across as a regular meme. People find it challenging to engage with a meme that does not follow the format of past memes. Hence as a brand, you must stick to the structure, style, and the same components that go into making a regular meme. If you are in the mood to experiment, do it with the theme, idea, or content of the meme but remain honest to the meme format, which people are used to.
- Go for Visual Appeal: The meme’s visual component is the first thing that gets noticed than the text. So careful attention must be paid to enhance the visual appeal. A good idea would be to share a quote or statistic that is centered on your meme. Accentuate the appeal using infographics to make it easily understood by the audience and thereby elicits social shares on platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. You can even incorporate animation and effects to make it more appealing. There are also popular meme generators like Drake meme generator, which has more resonance among the audience.
The growth of memes as a popular content format is an ongoing phenomenon, and it is not going to slow down any time soon. They show up on all major social platforms like Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. More users are creating and consuming memes than ever before. This makes it an effective medium for brands to leverage for social media outreach.
Like any other creative process, a creator or brand must trust their creative instincts and make memes that they chuckle about. If there is a loyal audience that closely follows your memes, it is indicative that you are on the right track and will get better at creating engaging memes in the future.