Memes are more popular than anyone. At least in terms of searching, and according to Google Trends. While you’re reading this, people around the world are sharing memes instead of long texts, especially millennials and Gen Zers, during the more than 200 minutes that they spend online every day.
However, memes are not a recent cultural phenomenon. On the contrary, they have been with us for a long time. The word “meme” itself is rooted in ancient Greece, and it means “that which is imitated”. The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976, to define any shareable cultural artifact that spread through the culture like wildfire, since he argued that virality didn’t just apply to infectious diseases, but also in anthropological settings.
Today, it’s hard to imagine our digital lives without sharing memes. You’d probably have already look at a solid image in real life and thought “that could be a meme”.
As memes have a specific connotation in our online environment, it’s crucial that brands learn about how to use them to their favor. Memes are great to communicate feelings, attitudes or situations, and to reinforce statements.
Please, make me a meme
One of the downsides of marketing on social media is that it has low engagement. People don’t want to see branded content on their feed. Gen Z, in particular, is very averse to promotion in any form, and they can smell it from a mile away.
Marketers making memes must be cautious on their ways to do the trick: it will be critical to introduce branded content through gags that seem catchy and not over-promotional, and to provide value entertainment that people want to share.
When done correctly, meme marketing can be very successful.
Memes work great for brands because they are specifically designed for social platforms and make people laugh while making a casual reference to your brand. They are way more shareable than a blog post or a traditional visual ad, because they go for entertainment over information, and that is what your audience is doing right now online.
Just keep in mind that memes aren’t only for college kids or procrastinating workers. They can play a golden role in your marketing strategy and put your brand in everyone feed.
Use memes wisely and endear yourself in the hearts of your followers.