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How to use memes for social media marketing

The socially awkward penguin meme is a popular one for relating to awkward social situations.

The socially awkward penguin meme is a popular one for relating to awkward social situations.

Memes are everywhere. They’re funny and catch the attention of potential customers online. But are memes appropriate for use in social media marketing? How do you draw the line between using humor and being unprofessional?

There is in fact a type of advertising called memetic marketing, which utilizes trends online to get internet users’ attention and show that the company is aware and involved in what’s trending online. But let’s start with the basics.

The history of memes

Memes (rhymes with “seems”) are internet trends that gain traction by being shared, often with variations on the same idea or image. The word itself comes from the Latin word, mimeme, which means “imitated thing.” The history of the word can be found in an interesting infographic here.

The most common use of the word “meme,” however, refers to pictures with personally generated text that describe a relatable situation or a type of emotion – although this term can also refer to videos and other trending online media.

There are tons of different types of memes, but some of the most popular ones can be found here.

These types of memes can be found on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter most commonly and are usually meant to be funny, relatable, and reflect what is trending at the moment. But when is it appropriate to use these for your own professional blog?

What memetic marketing can do for your brand

While you can have a very successful blog without using memes, there definitely are some benefits of using them that might bring more potential clients to your site, or convince them to stay and look around once they’re there. What do memes add to your blog or social media?

  • They make you seem aware of the market and demographic. Your potential customers feel like you understand them when you post things they relate to.
  • You can show your personal sense of humor and the brand’s personality.
  • Humor is a great selling point – just look at some of the more memorable commercials.
  • An interesting, multidimensional blog interests readers and encourages them to forward your site to others.
  • They give you an easy way to have a variety of quick posts that are funny and have visual interest.

So you might be convinced that memes are good things to use now and then – but you might be asking yourself, “How?”

While this is a cute meme, the awkward wording from line to line is an example of how memes can go wrong.

While this is a cute meme, the awkward wording from line to line is an example of how memes can go wrong.

How to use memes for social media marketing

When deciding whether to use a meme, there are a few things you should consider.

  • What is the tone of your blog or brand overall?
  • What kind of personality does your company/brand have?
  • Who is your demographic?
  • How professional or casual do you want your brand to seem?
  • Are you comfortable with swears or racey jokes?

While we recommend you think carefully about these questions before deciding on using any meme, you shouldn’t let fear of seeming unprofessional stop you from adding personality and humor to your outreach. You should try to find memes that are not inappropriate and will resonate with your target audiences  without sacrificing professionalism. It’s important to keep your tone formal enough so that your readers take you seriously, but you don’t want to seem stiff, or they might be less interested in your brand.

If you have an idea for a meme that will relate well with your client base, you can make your own customizable one at websites like this. All you have to do is find the template you want and type in the top text and the bottom text. Look carefully at the examples of the ones that are already made, because a poorly written meme can turn people off. A meme done well, however, can greatly improve your online marketing, encourage your readers to stay on your site, keep looking through your posts, and share it with their friends.

 

 

 What’s your favorite meme? Do you use them on your blog or social channels? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

 

Future of Social Media: Mark Schaefer at SXSW Interactive

When you stop to think about everything that the internet offers us on a daily basis – the answer to any question at the tip of our fingers, the ability to connect with people on the other side of the planet and to communicate with hundreds and thousands of people from the comfort of your own home – it feels as if the future is already here. All we’re missing is the hover cars.

Social media plays a big part in the innovations and abilities the internet provides. But where do we go from here? What is the future of social media?

One of my South by Southwest highlights: Mark Schaefer, author, public speaker, blogger, and marketing professor, presented what he believes the future of social media is, and how to navigate through it. More about Mark Schaefer on his blog.

Schaefer outlines the four Digital Revolutions, the three previous and the one to come. Image found here http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/04/28/digital-marketing-innovation/

Schaefer outlines the four Digital Revolutions, the three previous and the one to come. Image found here http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/04/28/digital-marketing-innovation/

The Four Digital Revolutions

Presence (The WWW) 1990-2000 – Companies were really only expected to have a website at this point, to show an online presence.

Discovery (Search) 2000-2010 – A bigger emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO) happened in this time period, to encourage the discovery of your company.

Utility (Social Media & Mobile) 2010-2015 – The focus in this phase is on meeting the consumers’ needs when they need it, which is possible because mobile devices make it easy to consume content at anytime. The average American is spending 10 hours a day consuming content online, a two-hour increase because of mobile devices.

Immersion (User-Generated Content) 2015-? – This is where the future of social media exists. Social media sites are becoming more and more about users creating content. Schaefer estimates that by the year 2020, the amount of data online will have grown by 600% and 75% of that will be created by the consumer. This will also be the era of “wearable technology” and “immersion,” where, Schaefer says, “the Internet will surround us like the air that we breathe.” This would create a whole new landscape of marketing possibilities.

How to navigate the new social media landscape

Content Shock is created when the amount of content being produced is greater than the amount of content that people can consume. Image found on Mark Schaefer's site http://www.businessesgrow.com/

Content Shock is created when the amount of content being produced is greater than the amount of content that people can consume. Image found on Mark Schaefer’s site http://www.businessesgrow.com/

While it’s great that everyone and her brother has access to create content online, offering a more diverse and thriving online market, this also generates stronger competition for your content to break through the clutter and be seen.

In fact, there will be a time in which the amount of content internet users can consume will be outweighed by the amount of content produced. Schaefer calls this “Content Shock” which, unfortunately, is uneconomical.

This Content Shock, which Schaefer believes is coming soon, will have some negative implications on small businesses, including:

  • Big corporations will overtake the market.
  • Schaefer says just like with most industries, those with “deep pockets” can obtain control over a market and even create barriers that perpetuate the Content Shock for their competitors.
  • Companies will have to invest more in their content than they are getting back, making the production of content no longer worth it.

Create content that will stand out

Schaefer says that the Content Shock might be a few years off for some markets and might be here now for others. It’s important to plan ahead and think about how saturated your particular market is.

When producing content, Schaefer says to think about whether what you’re making is “RITE,” meaning:

  • Relevant
  • Interesting
  • Timely
  • Entertaining

He says that the element of fun is essential, as is serving your consumers’ needs and keeping your content human. Content that is “RITE,” especially in an under-saturated market, will get views and garner your brand attention.

Another important thing to keep in mind as the market keeps evolving is search filters, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Filters like Zite might soon replace Google even, making SEO less important than it used to be.

It’s essential that your brand evolves with the industry, or it will be lost in the shuffle and unable to stand up to the competition.

How do you envision the future of Social Media? What are you doing to prepare your brand? Share your thoughts and insights with a quick comment.