What is a Meme?
Memes have become a growing trend within society; due to this increase in popularity, companies have started utilizing memes within their marketing campaigns, both digitally and physically. What is a meme you ask? According to lifewire, “a ‘meme’ is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol or social idea.” The most commonly used types of memes include clever phrases that are on meme images. There is almost always a humor element associated with memes, which creates an atmosphere for users to feel as though they are all in on the same joke.
One of the most popular memes that initiated the era of integrating memes into marketing campaigns is the Dos Equis meme— this meme was created from the popular Dos Equis commercial that was released in the spring of 2010. Dos Equis memes typically have meme photos of the Most Interesting Man (Jonathan Goldsmith) sitting at a table looking tan and dapper with a saying that includes the following saying: “I don’t always drink beer, But, when I do, I drink Dos Equis” Since the launch of this advertising campaign, the world has created memes that utilize the popular Dos Equis line, but replace the italicized verbiage with everyday situations relating to work, school, parenting, etc. Meme advertising is often overlooked when marketers are developing their online marketing strategy. When users overlook meme advertising, they put themselves at a disadvantage. Memes capture the attention of a niche target audience related to specific products and/or markets. A creative business meme can have a positive impact on a company’s relevance within the marketplace and competitive landscape.
Why Don’t Users Utilize Memes?
I think one of the biggest reasons why companies do not utilize memes within their advertising strategy is that people have the perception that it’s hard to create memes. Surprisingly, there are several free websites and tools available for users to create a meme. Most meme generating websites make the process of how to make a meme fast and simple. Users can choose from already available meme examples or create their own meme from the beginning by using their own desired image with customizable text boxes. I was surprised by how easy it was to make your own memes (see interesting meme below).
Types of Memes
There are various types of memes that users can utilize besides photos and images; users can utilize twitter memes, physical memes, and even video memes. It’s important to ensure your memes are easy for users to link their relevant websites to as this will increase search ranking for your website and/or where your meme is located.
It’s hard to image how to create a meme within Twitter’s 140 character limit, but surprisingly, every hashtag is considered a meme! The most popular hashtags that are utilized within any given day are housed on a “Trends” panel on the website or on a tab within the mobile app. Twitter has made popular hashtags and trending topics easy to access, which allows for optimum exposure to your Twitter page. Also note that it is vital to include your website within the Twitter biography/description as it guides users to your website if they click on a hashtag that is associated with your Twitter handle. The hashtag has also expanded into other popular social media platforms; users have the ability to broaden their Facebook business and expand their Instagram followers by utilizing the popular hashtag symbol. Twitter is a useful tool for users to take advantage of to better understand which hashtags and memes are trending at any given time.
Physical memes are also becoming more popular within social media platforms; a physical meme is created through body movements or unique gestures. An example of a physical meme is the famous “twerking” dance move. This body movement became a viral physical meme in 2013 and is still practiced today. Physical memes are a low cost advertising alternative and are typically captured through videos and/or photos.
Implementing a Meme Marketing Strategy
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of memes that can be utilized within your digital marketing strategy, it is important to understand the intended target audience before a meme advertising strategy is implemented. There are several items to consider—should your sales meme strategy be more humor-based or simply focus on your company’s brands, products, and tag line? This is a strategic process that requires extensive pre-planning and successful execution. If executed effectively, memes can create a positive avenue for advertising and growing brand awareness. Memes that generate a positive impact will increase brand awareness through linking and page ranking within popular search engines. Memes have been utilized within the digital space as a tool to attract online influencers. Online influencers utilize influence marketing, which is defined as a “new form of marketing that utilizes the social influence of certain individuals (celebrities, bloggers, thought leaders, etc.) to impact consumer behavior.” The concept of influence marketing has become extremely prevalent within social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
If a meme strategy is executed poorly, the user, company, and/or product will be portrayed in a negative light. The most recent Harvard meme scandal is an accurate depiction of an offensive meme strategy that had a negative impact on 10 recently accepted Harvard students. It is important to consider potential ramifications of a meme advertising strategy—the strategy must avoid offensive, explicit, or inappropriate content.
I hope this has provided you with insight into the importance of utilizing meme advertising within your digital marketing strategy. This avenue is a cheap, simple, and potentially humorous way to increase brand awareness while engaging your target market. Meme marketing allows companies and users to place themselves at a competitive advantage within their marketplace. It is crucial that the digital marketing plan is thoughtfully pre-planned and executed successfully in order to reap the maximum benefits on your website.