Meme's the Word | Social Joey

Raise your hand if you’ve laughed at a meme on social media today. 🙋🏼‍♀️

Odds are, your answer is yes. And if you haven’t looked and laughed at one today, you probably did in the last few days.

Memes have been around for a while, but there is no doubt that they are capturing our attention more these days—and giving us some much-needed laughs. Is it possible to capture that energy for your marketing efforts?

Yes! Used correctly, memes and other images can be a powerful marketing tool. Read on as our Social Joey team takes a deep dive into the topic.

Where Did Memes Come From?

Well, the word “meme” goes back a few decades. But its original meaning had nothing to do with its current meaning.

It was first used in Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book “The Selfish Gene,” where it was used to reference the cultural equivalent of a gene.

Flash forward to 1998. An interview on CNN used the word meme in a way closer to its current sense, which Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as “an amusing or interesting item [such as a captioned picture or video] or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”

What’s the Role of the Meme in Marketing?

To really understand how memes can be used effectively in marketing, let’s first consider a broader topic. Did you know that social media engagement is much higher when an image is included in a post?

It’s true! Posts containing images capture more than double the engagement on Facebook than text-only posts do.

While that’s considering only Facebook, the principle is true on every social media platform. Even when you’re sharing a resource such as an article, it’s important to ensure that the article link is pulling through an image. Without that image, your post engagement drops.

Just think about it this way—there are now entire social media networks built around images and videos. That’s because people want something that’s appealing to the eyes, and videos and images are aesthetically pleasing.

Can I Make Memes Work for Our Brand?

This is a really important consideration. Memes are a light-hearted, fun way to add some energy into your social media content lineup.

But they aren’t necessarily for every business. Thoughtfully consider your company’s overall brand tone and your messaging. If it’s more serious in nature and aimed toward a group of professionals, memes may not be appropriate.

However, for most businesses and franchises, no matter who your audience is, the occasional meme will add life and be appreciated.

The key to any good content marketing strategy is to incorporate variety. You want to infuse your posts with enough types of content to keep your audience engaged and reading. That means including articles of interest, blurbs about your services or products, information about community events and happenings, videos, and images.

Memes can play a part! They serve multiple purposes, providing readers with a bit of shared humor, a distraction and a sense of community.

They also serve an added purpose for your business. If you’re sharing a timely meme, you’re giving your brand relevancy and showing you’re staying in the know.

How to Use Memes Effectively for a Business

As with anything you’re posting for your business, though, you want to carefully choose the memes you use. When you create a post, you’re in some sense endorsing what you’re posting. So be careful what you give your endorsement to.

We have a few tips on choosing and using memes effectively:

1. Check the meme against your brand voice and tone. You remember those, right? We reviewed what they are and how to create them for your business in a recent blog! One of the most important things about a brand voice is ensuring it is consistently applied to your posts and other content. So, when choosing memes, make sure they’re in alignment with your voice.

2. Find timely memes that fit within what your audience (or the entire world) is experiencing. This is especially important right now, during the middle of a global pandemic. The last thing you want is to appear tone-deaf, so make sure you’re choosing memes that aren’t offensive but that give some humor to what’s going on.

3. Join in on meme challenges, as appropriate. You know you’ve seen them! Our Social Joey team (and our beloved Joey) have even joined in on a few, like the chance to show yourself in different stages of quarantine. Keep an eye out for fun memes trending across social media, and when it’s appropriate, jump in! Create your own meme using photo editing technology, or try out an online tool for meme creation.

4. Make it fun! What’s the point of memes if they don’t make you—or your audience—laugh? Find content that’s at least tangentially related to your business offerings, your community or your audience, and have fun!

One Last Little Fun Tidbit

We might think of memes as a modern phenomenon, but in a sense, they’ve been around for a long time. We’re using them these days to add a little humor to the chaos of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Well, believe it or not, meme-like content also helped people in 1918 cope with the chaos of a global pandemic!

Newspapers across the country featured fun, humorous songs, poems and jokes meant to lighten the mood and strengthen community.

While many things have changed in the last century, it turns out our coping mechanisms are still very similar!

Ready to add some life into your social media marketing with memes and other engaging posts? Let our Social Joey team go to work for you!