New marketing tactics, tools and tricks seem to be appearing every day. One of the more popular tactics out there are memes. As software allows the creation of memes to become easier to the end user, memes seem to be exploding; appears on social sites, websites, and email marketing blasts. Are memes effective? Do they really make a difference? Keep reading to get answers, insights and tips on using memes.

What is a meme?

Grumpy Cat memeA meme is a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied, often with slight variations, and spread rapidly by Internet users. Think Grumpy Cat as an ideal example.

The majority of modern memes are captioned photos that are intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. Other memes can be videos and verbal expressions. Some memes have heavier and more philosophical content. The world of memes  is interesting for two reasons: it is a worldwide social phenomenon, and memes behave like a mass of infectious flu and cold viruses, traveling from person to person quickly through social media. A dream come true for marketers!

Are memes really effective in marketing?

The short answer is yes, but there are several issues with memes that marketers need to understand. Memes tend to live a very short lifespan. Most get old after you see it a few times, which is why the text is often so interchangeable. They are meant to provide a quick and clever snippet or quote on some pop culture aspect, which helps them become viral. A lot of marketers will seize upon a popular meme, like Grumpy Cat, and put their own spin on it. Keeping in mind that most original memes, by design, are supposed to be funny, the remake of memes by marketers tends to miss the mark. Then again, should businesses be funny? That’s up to each business, but humor can be effective in marketing, especially if that’s already a part of your marketing voice.  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.

If you decide to use them in your marketing efforts

If you decide to use these in your overall marketing efforts, here are a few tips to make sure they work effectively for you.

First, keep in mind that there are several types of memes, as described by Forbes:

  • Literal memes. Literal memes are highly popular. They’re instantly recognizable to avid web users, and may be funny, sad, or entertaining.
  • Macros and temporary memes. There’s a specific style of especially popular memes, featuring text over an accompanying image, that have also become synonymous with the word “meme,” even if they haven’t gone viral.
  • Intentionally viral memes. You could also use “memes” to generate your own virally popular trend, style, or catchphrase.

Then you need to consider how you’ll use the meme. Are you trying to amuse, entertain or shock your audience?  Are you helping to complement a content piece you’re creating? As with any marketing tactic, understand your strategy and how you’ll measure its success to know how and when to use a meme. Know your audience. There are some memes that have longer lifecycles than others, but you need to be certain that your content will do well with your own audience. You should try to avoid posting viral content continuously just to be funny. Like any joke, it’s all in the delivery.

Ready to start? Keep these three things in mind to get going:

  1. Select an appropriate image
  2. Add appropriate copy
  3. Share your meme across social media and perhaps include it in a blog post or other piece of content you’ve created

How to create memes

Most marketers use a meme generator to create memes. Here are a few of the more popular ones:

  2. Imgur
  3. QuickMeme
  5. Meme Center
  6. Make a Meme
  7. Meme Creator
  8. Canva

As with anything, measure how well your memes are performing. Are they working?  Driving traffic? Bringing in leads?  Are those leads converting?  Nice job!  Are your results lackluster?  It could be a few things:  your memes aren’t resonating with your audience. They aren’t sharable. You’re perhaps using a highly over-used meme. Watch your results, tweak your tactics and keep measuring. Meme marketing isn’t for everyone.

Need help with an overall marketing strategy?  Strategic Marketing Services can help you create, execute and measure an effective small business marketing strategy. We’re here to help!

Patty Hughes
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