Can a Business Use Memes for Marketing?

When you think about it, the Internet is a seriously strange place and since the birth and boom of social media we’ve seen an amplification of all that weirdness out there.

Take a minute and think about the most common things you see on a platform like Facebook. If you’re like most Facebook users you’ll probably see your fair share of cat videos, local town drama (via friends or family), content from businesses and brands and finally memes.

Hold on… What the hell is a “meme”?

What is a Meme?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary a meme is –

“An element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.”

Urban Dictionary define it as-

“in blogspeak, an idea that is spread from blog to blog”

Essentially it’s a small piece of content, usually an image or GIF, influenced by or referencing something in pop culture that then gains virality.

If you’re still not sure, take a look at the images below and chances are you’ve seen a few memes during your time Internet browsing over the last few years.

Can a Business Use Memes?

So, why the hell are we talking about memes in the first place?

Well, as social media marketing is about joining the conversation and gaining as much exposure for your business as possible, memes, in the right circumstances, represent a great marketing opportunity.

The opportunity is twofold:

  • So many businesses out there struggle to constantly generate the fresh and creative ideas needed in a fast-moving social media focused world.
  • Memes by their definition are (more) shareable pieces of content so if you time it right and use the right meme with the right audience you could increase your reach way beyond normal results.

Are Businesses Actually Doing This?

As with every tactic some audiences will be more responsive than others but plenty of businesses out there use memes to increase exposure and engagement on social media channels.

Cool FM is a great example here in Northern Ireland and just this month Nintendo used the “Roll Safe” meme for a funny piece of shareable content. If you’re not familiar, the Roll Safe meme, which gained popularity in January 2017, originally comes from a BBC3 comedy and features logically sound but absurd advice.

See an original example alongside the Nintendo version below.

So What Next?

This isn’t about thinking memes are crucial to digital marketing (or even viable for some businesses and audiences) it just about highlighting that sometimes ideas are right there in front of you in your newsfeeds.

Keep an eye out for memes from now on in your personal social newsfeeds, see if you can spot businesses using them and, if you’re brave enough, give it a go yourself!

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