The last time you went on social media, you may have been surprised to see something like this:
As you probably know, that is a meme. And a rather perplexing/cutting-edge one at that.
Millennials are notoriously difficult to market to. They are saturated with content, they have low attention) and retention rates) for information. Furthermore, the unlimited buffet of content that they have access to (the internet) has made them extremely picky. They are used to the cream-of-the-cream thanks to web algorithms that preference popular content.
None of this bodes well for marketers wanting to use memes. There is a vast potential to access this demographic through memes, and even to go viral and get unprecedented amounts of free publicity. But….it is very difficult and risky.
Ways To Use Memes
There are a two ways that some brands are currently using memes successfully. These are:
- Spicing up content: If you are a brand that publishes inbound marketing content for SEO, then you should consider integrating memes because it provides two main benefits. Firstly, it can increase the popularity of the article, especially among the younger demographic. Secondly, it can be good for SEO, because it is an easy way to create your own images. These images appear on Google Images linked to your article, providing you with another stream of visitors.
- Social media: This is the main one. For memes that are good enough that you expect people to like and share them, you should consider posting them on your main social media account. This is the way of using memes that we will focus on in this article because it is the most common, also the highest risk and reward.
Basically, doing effective meme marketing well requires averting all the pitfalls. Don’t even think about going viral, that won’t happen
Memes are the social playground of Millenials. As a marketing company, you don’t belong on this space, you are a guest, and so, it is very easy to not fit in or commit some tragic faux pas.
You don’t wanna be that guy.
(And, as a sidenote, we aren’t even going to talk about going viral because chances are that is not going to happen. Out of all the uncountable numbers of content that get posted each day on the internet, only a select few go viral, and this is due to originality, something that they tap into in the audience somehow, and gratuitous amounts of luck. So don’t worry about not going viral.)
Here are the main risks and pitfalls and how to avoid them:
Recognise Your Disadvantages
As a company, you are disadvantaged in the meme-world in the following ways:
- You aren’t a Millenial or even a person
- You probably can’t use crude humour. You have a brand image to uphold
- You are clearly trying to gain people’s time and attention so you can make money. So it better be good or people will get annoyed
Follow The Rules
Some social media pages, groups, etc. have rules that are quite restrictive on marketing. For instance, on Reddit, many if not most subreddits disallow marketing and spam and you will be spam filtered/banned/chastised. Facebook is not restricted in any way, unless you are marked as ‘spam’ by too many people, then you could face having your page closed down. Twitter is similar. The main rule in every social media website basically is: don’t annoy people. Post content that will draw them, not push them away (it is a form of inbound marketing after all).
Understand Your Audience
Millenials are not one heterogenous blob. In fact, more so than any other generation, they are very different across the board. Different social media groups have vastly different communities of people that visit them, so it is important to understand the site/group/page you are posting to more than anything.
The best way to do this is to go to the page and look at the memes. Just browse some dank memes, it is now your job. Or, do a deep analysis of the community of your page, if you are posting on your own (which in 99% of cases you should be). Click on the profiles of individual followers and see what they post on their wall, their ‘likes’ and the memes on the pages they like (this is not just specific to Facebook). Then you should get somewhat of an understanding of the type of memes to make on your page.
Here are some examples of brands that really nailed it:
Gucci understands the language, sense of humour and everyday concerns of its overwhelmingly young female audience on Instagram.