Ahhhh, the meme. The poetry of the internet. Well, if internet poetry looks like this…
One thing poetry and memes certainly have in common is that they say SOOOO much in very few words. The good ones can even cause brain hiccups.
They are the language through which unexplainable emotions can be brought to life in a perfect pairing of text and gif and/or image. They are the language of insider jokes between millions of people. They’re a beautiful thing.
Scrolling while laughing through meme accounts even became the ultimate escapism for many during the pandemic lockdown life. Meme culture is so much a part of our lives that there’s plenty of people who drop them into real-life conversations any chance they get.
Now, from a brand’s perspective, memes are a great way to mess around and connect with your audience. Memes make your brand human.
Be warned: while many brands are crushing it with their meme game on socials, this doesn’t mean that every brand should dabble in this dark art. Publishing the equivalent of a dad joke of a meme has led to many companies’ images crashing and burning.
On the other end, if your memes are on point, fresh and relevant, you’ve acquired a very powerful tool in your social media marketing game.
While we don’t claim to be an authority on memes, here are some winning hacks we’ve learned over the years:
1. Be self-aware and start by asking yourself the question – to meme, or not to meme?
We’re big believers that everything and anything can be made into a meme. We could even imagine making viral memes for a funeral company (interested funeral companies, contact us here).
However, we’ve included this as our first tip, because not every company’s social media strategy needs memes. Plus, as we already mentioned – if you mess up memes, it can have some serious consequences. What can we say – the internet is a judgemental place and if the internet natives spot a brand trying to dress up as one of them, yet epically failing at it, they will show no mercy.
What we’re saying is – do it right, or don’t do it at all. Plus, don’t go trying to dress your brand up as a teenager, yet instead be aware of how your brand is perceived from the outside, and meme with that personality. Memes need to come from a place of raw honesty to work well. Be honest and create your company’s own meme voice that is genuine.
2. Making fun of yourself is the best ingredient
One sure way to make your brand relatable is by taking the piss out of yourself with your memes. Just think about it – who doesn’t love the funny guy or girl at the party who is brave enough to use themselves as the joke pinata.
We’re not saying you should start making memes about how your products or services suck. However, for example, with one of our clients, we began their meme content series by roasting brands that try to make memes. It worked like a charm.
3. Try and think of a unique meme format that only your company can produce
One of the most popular brands with the most epic social media meme game is a sausage. Yep, it’s Slim Jim. They have a meme master behind their account who integrates their sausage into their memes, making them uniquely theirs.
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You can also try memeing (yes, that’s a verb) an image of something that relates to your company and attributing the text, or voice of the meme to the thing in the image. For example, for a bank, we’ve got a meme series that sees us taking on the voice of a talking cash machine.
4. Become a collector of meme-worthy observations
Trying to sit down and create memes in a specified time slot is like trying to parallel park while people are watching – it’s really difficult. So, get in the habit of paying more attention to details in your day to day and collecting meme-worthy observations. You can usually identify golden meme material when you realise that a lot of people would relate to it. See below for a stellar example:
5. Spend a lot of time on meme channels OR hire somebody who understands the culture
Do your research. By research, in this instance, we mean laughing until you snort a little while scrolling through meme accounts on Instagram and meme-riddled sites, like 9Gag. This will not only up your meme game, but also bring more laughs into your day.
However, if you don’t have the time to do that, just go ahead and get somebody on board who is immersed in the culture.
6. It’s better to be cringe and proud than to take yourself too seriously and end up being accidentally cringe
Own your cringeyness. Seriously. Imperfection and vulnerability is what meme language is all about. Memes are actually the best commentary of how flawed and absurd of a species we are, so go with it.
7. Start with a meme concept that is already working and apply it to your brand’s niche
Instead of coming up with a joke first and then trying to find a meme image to fit it, hunt down the trending memes, study them, and then brainstorm how you can adapt them to fit some kind of insider joke that your target audience would get and giggle at.
8. Chase meme trends
Be sure to keep up-to-date with the latest memes that are circulating. This will see you creating more fresh, relevant and on-point memes that resonate strongly with your audience. This will up the chances of your meme riding an organic viral wave.
9. Be absurd
The vital ingredient to memes that spread is their high volume of absurdity. Humans are silly by nature and the best language to be invented thus far that captures our silly nature is memes. So don’t hold back.