Five Tips on Using Memes for Online Marketing

Memes are now a huge part of online culture. These popular videos, phrases, and image macros have become so infectious they’ve practically redefined the term “viral”. Thousands of online users are familiar with characters like Grumpy Cat, Trollface, and Yao Ming Face, or phrases like “Keep Calm and…” or “Deal with It.”

If you walk around our office, you’ll even spot a few memes printed out and posted on our walls:

Visit our Instagram page for more photos of our office!

Integrating memes into your marketing campaigns can help your brand gain a lot of exposure, but you need to be careful about how you use them. These tips can help you figure out how memes can add a new social dimension to your online marketing strategy.

Learn More about Your Target Audience

Will your audience even understand the meme you’re using? If your target market is an older audience that isn’t internet- or meme-savvy, you might want to think twice about throwing a meme into your campaign. If you need to explain the original meme to your viewers before they can understand the spoof, it won’t be effective at all.

Understand the Meme

Attempting to be “cool” but failing to do so can be very embarrassing. This is exactly what will happen if you try to use a meme that you think is interesting without even understanding it first. Remember that memes serve as a formula or template for a joke. You might risk having a brand advocate call you out on your mistake if you fail to follow that template.

The image on the left illustrates the correct usage of the “One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor” meme, which should have a short second line. (Images are from Moz and MusicBizMemes.)

Keep an Eye on Meme Trends

While many memes outlast their initial hype, it’s always better to use them during the height of their popularity. Keep an eye on the memes that pop up on your own social media feeds, or check trends on websites like Know Your Meme or Reddit.

Remember that memes aren’t restricted to images – videos can become memes, too. Popular examples of this include “Harlem Shake” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”, which have spawned several other spoofs and variations.

Share and Distribute

Making your memes easy to find and share can help make them go viral. Post them on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr, and make sure to have social sharing buttons installed in your blog if you want to post your memes there.

Don’t Overthink and Have Fun

While using memes for marketing requires a bit more thinking, you need to remember that memes are supposed to be fun. Having fun while spoofing an existing meme or creating one of your own can help you be more creative and witty. As Forbes contributor Cheryl Connor says that “humor or cleverness is yet another form of ‘value added’ content.”

Creating and distributing memes is just one way an SEO company can help you engage your customers better. Contact us today to find out how what we can do to improve your social media campaigns.

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