Memes in marketing: Do they work?

Memes in marketing: Do they work?

Brands are always coming up with new and innovative ways to capture their audience. Looking for a fun way to engage people on social media? Have you considered using memes in your marketing?

If you frequently browse social media news feeds, you probably come across memes several times a day. You know, those captioned pictures that often ridicule human behavior in a humorous way? Well, many brands across various industries are taking advantage of this online trend to attract more attention on social media.




Why include memes in your social media content

In today’s overcrowded marketing landscape, humor and familiar media can engage hard-to-reach consumers. For professional storytellers, meme marketing can be an extremely low-cost way to create engaging content that attracts a following.

Across industries, more marketers are using memes to build community, relate to their audience, and stick in their followers’ memory.

Here are a couple of reasons why including memes in your marketing strategy is a good idea:

  • Are inexpensive: Memes play off of content that’s created by other people so you don’t need to create an original video or photo yourself. They save small businesses and digital marketers time that would be needed to produce original content. Instead, you can riff off of existing media by adding a new caption or twist.
  • Support community: Memes are funny, and that helps foster community among your followers. They create a sense of belonging because your audience can relate to the situation you refer to and everyone’s in on the same joke. If you can make your audience laugh, you’ll attract followers and help viewers relate to your brand. If your meme includes an absurd visual or catchy tune, brand recall improves.
  • Incite shares: By definition, this type of content is supposed to be shared so it is often reposted across the internet to reach an even wider audience. When people send the meme to a friend for a laugh, they express allegiance to and advocate for your brand.
  • Create brand relevancy: Because memes are often related to a current trend or event, they make your brand more real, modern, and human. Memes appeal to contemporary or cultural events that your viewers know about, which feels authentic and fresh. This content serves to bring a community together around a common touchstone and makes your brand seem more relatable.


Make sure memes match your brand voice

While most marketers know about memes that might appeal to their audience, it can be difficult to incorporate them while maintaining brand consistency.

Memes usually leverage satire, social commentary, or nostalgia, meaning a high-quality meme is both funny and insightful. Because memes can also be rude or offensive, marketers must walk a fine line when experimenting with meme marketing.

The key is to be authentic and not overly conservative. Edgy content demonstrates that your brand has a personality and unique voice to set your company apart from bland commercial competitors.

When your social media content delights and entertains those who interact with it, the content is more likely to be shared. Your brand can reach a wider audience, making it easier to generate leads and sales in the long run.


How to incorporate memes in your social media strategy

For social media managers new to meme marketing, here’s a list of ways to incorporate memes into your social media content:


  • React to a recent event: Post a reaction to something that’s happening in real-time like a random holiday or a live event.
  • Screenshot a Tweet: Social media managers can create a quick joke by repurposing Twitter content for Instagram to set up a brand-related meme, like me when I… meme or that feeling when… meme. Make sure you include the account name and Twitter handle of the original creator in your screenshot.
  • Repost relevant user-generated memes: Because memes are by definition made to be shared, meme creators generally accept or even encourage others to repost their content. Marketers can regram and reshare them directly, although double-check to make sure you’re resharing legally!


Meme-related content is showing up across visual content platforms and more people than ever create and consume them online.

Many brands use memes as an effective vehicle for their marketing strategy. Like most creative processes, trust your instincts on humor. If you don’t think a meme you’ve created is funny, interesting, or insightful, your customers probably won’t either. Use your best judgment and know that the more you consume, the better you’ll be at creating them.

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