They are more than just jokes by teenage boys. Although defined as popular, funny visuals paired with equally humorous taglines that go ‘viral’, Internet memes have increasingly been picked up by brands and used in their marketing efforts.
You may have seen the resemblance between this Dunkin Donut tweet and the black/blue or gold/white dress debate of 2015. This is an example of a brand taking a viral meme – something relatable to everyone, and turning it in their favour to connect with their audience and boost awareness of their brand.
This is meme marketing.
The sad fact about memes is that though they can be effective, they have a very short lifespan. That being said, making your ultimate, successful meme requires more thought and planning than you may have originally thought.
Bolt has summed up the success meme-making process in 5 simple steps for you, easy-peasy.
You’ve heard this time and time again; an age old saying in the marketing game. Before you even start making your meme, it is crucial to understand your target audience and their media browsing habits.
By knowing what your audience is searching for on the Internet, not only can you chart popular trends that you can ride on with your meme, you can better understand your audience’s sense of humour. Remember, the selling point for memes is that they are funny, witty, and relatable.
Denny’s is a brand that gets what their audience resonates with. Many of their social media posts are crafted around popular memes at the moment, and do a good job at keeping their audience entertained and engaged. This lives up to what Denny’s hopes to give their customers – an experience where they can sit back, relax and enjoy.
You can create a meme that works for your brand and audience As much as you want to satisfy your target audience, create a meme also unique to your brand. Do this by including your brand logo, product or tagline into the meme, so you are immediately identifiable amongst the sea of memes with similar catchphrases. Try to twist your meme to fit your brand, and not the other way around.
Once you’ve decided on a tone that you want to evoke, now it’s time to back up your idea with lots of research. (That’s right, meme creating requires research too!)
A good suggestion from Moz is to look up memes that have successfully dominated the Internet. After sifting through about 50 memes of your meme’s genre, you’d notice that many of them use a similar sense of humour that works. In fact, if you feel yourself drawn to a recent popular meme, don’t be afraid of using the same concept but tweaking it to fit your brand.
With that image of your perfect meme beautifully etched in your mind, time for the long-awaited meme making step.
Designers would tend to lean towards Photoshop to create their memes, as the app is very versatile. You can create memes as simple as the notorious ‘doge’, or be adventurous and attempt to create your very own elaborate, HD meme from scratch. For those new to the software, this 5-minute tutorial might give you a rough idea on how to go about Photoshopping your meme.
If you’re not that tech-savvy, fret not. There are several online meme making tools available that are easy to use and fun to play with. Meme Generator, Quickmeme, and Imgur are three meme making websites worth checking out. There are many default background images for you to choose from, or if you can’t find one that you fancy, upload your own picture and add to their collection!
Before releasing your masterpiece onto the Internet immediately after hitting ‘Save’, make sure to test it out first. Spread your meme to colleagues, friends and even family, to see if the meme evokes the reaction that you want. If it doesn’t, then back to the drawing board. You could make a few drafts of various memes to save time during this step.
Feedback received from your testing can not only help you measure the effectiveness of your meme, but can also give you new ideas never thought of that you can expand on further. The catchphrase for your viral meme could have very well come from your uncle at a family dinner.
You can choose to do this step before or after step #3.
At last, it’s time to share your meme with the world. As memes don’t have a very long lifespan, you want to make sure that it gets as much exposure as possible in a certain span of time.
Distributing your meme on all your brand’s social media channels frequently enough – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr etc, so that it has a higher chance of going viral. In fact, Social Media Today suggests using these social platforms as testing ground for possible advertising campaigns on a larger scale, such as billboards or TV spots.
Takeshi from Moz has another take on meme marketing, and identifies its potential to build backlinks and traffic to your website. He identifies Reddit and Tumblr as good sites to spread your memes to get you traffic, social engagement, and backlinks.
If you have not tried your hand at the fun, exciting technique of meme marketing, you may want to give it a go. Contrary to what most may think, meme marketing requires much thought, planning, and good timing. That aside, when done correctly, memes can really help to strengthen that bridge between you and your target audience.
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