Businesses are increasingly using memes in their social content and it’s easy to see why. In the ever demanding world of content creation they can be a fast and fun way to increase brand awareness, brand loyalty and drive traffic.
If you’re considering adding memes to your content marketing strategy here’s a few tips to help.
1. Know your niche
Yes, it’s the fundamental principle behind all marketing strategies however, memes contain little context and can spread beyond your control so it’s extra important for meme use. Sharing a meme which demonstrates you don’t really understand your customers can backfire spectacularly. Make sure your target audience will relate to and understand your meme.
2. Know your meme
It’s REALLY important you do the research to understand the connotations and history of that meme. Make sure you are not aligning your brand with anything that doesn’t fit your values. A great resource for this is the Know Your Meme website – a comprehensive history of all memes.
3. Stay relevant
Any content you share should relate to your brand in some way. If the link is tenuous or non-existent then you risk being seen as just jumping on the band wagon. Also if a person is following your brand on social media they already have a warm level of interest, so there is a higher chance they will engage with content that is brand related and not an unrelated internet trend.
4. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.
Language is a funny thing. We have lots of words which we think mean the same thing but in fact every word is nuanced and has different associations. Changing just one word of your meme or adding punctuation can drastically change the impact of your meme for better or worse. Write multiple versions of the same meme and test out their impact before you post publicly.
5. Stay up to date
Because memes rely on popular culture, being amongst the first to capitalise on a trend or event can be very advantageous. The best sites to stay up to date with popular internet culture are Reddit and Tumblr. But you should also stay up to date with what’s happening in your niche. Other options to consider are forums, Facebook groups, twitter hash tags, google search data, newsletters, trade publications and even industry awards.
6. Use sparingly
People are increasingly savvy to the tactics used by businesses to encourage brand loyalty. Consumers will rapidly tire of brands who constantly or lazily target them regardless of how amusing or relatable their content is.
We could write an entire blog about this alone! Technically you could be infringing on UK copyright law every time you share a meme, because you are sharing content that you didn’t create. For individuals sharing memes, “common sense” has prevailed and we’re not all facing legal proceedings.
Where things become more problematic is when businesses use or repurpose memes for financial or corporate gains – for example by turning a meme into a t-shirt and selling it or gaining a huge social following by sharing someone else’s meme and not crediting them. Beyond the legal implications, no brand wants to find it’s morality or commitment to its values questioned.
The EU commission is currently working on updating digital copyright rules. Whilst this work continues and in the light of ongoing Brexit negotiations the area is likely to remain “grey” for a while. In the meantime:
- Don’t use someone else’s memes in any kind of design or product you intend to sell.
- Where ever possible always credit the original creator.
- If it’s not possible to source the creator make it your policy to credit them if and when they become known to you (like we always do)
If you’d like more support on using or creating social content, please get in touch.
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