Social media agency tips: Memes for business
It’s a term that was coined in 1976 by ethologist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. He wanted to label instances where an idea is transmitted, reproduced and mutated by different parties. He probably didn’t expect a social media agency to blog about it 40 years or so later.
And Dawkins almost definitely didn’t picture photos of cats hanging from ceiling fans, caption reading ‘Monday’. But while this is what many of us immediately think of when it comes to memes, the business potential this type of content holds has grown significantly in the social media age.
Here’s why you can’t ignore it.
Social media agency tip #1
Why should brands use memes?
Quick to make, instantly shareable, hopefully memorable and — when done properly — highly relatable. These are the key reasons pictures and words become bonafide memes. Let’s look at what those cornerstones mean in terms of actual impact.
It costs very little to create a meme — you don’t need expert designers or specialist software, so the biggest chunk of time is spent on the idea.
Consider the relatable point we made earlier. Meme content is most likely humorous and speaks to the audience on their level. These ideas are key to establishing a loyal community because you make people feel united in their interests and attitudes.
Now onto the shareable aspect. A meme is, by definition, something that gets shared. Every share effectively means someone advocating your brand. Which is priceless in terms of reputation management
Memes are almost always linked to a current event, trend or movement. This makes any brand look relevant, but also — and perhaps most importantly — real and human. Remember— transparency and legitimacy are vital in modern digital marketing.
Social media agency tip #2 — How should brands use memes?
It’s no use diving in without thinking. A bad move is always worse than no move at all, despite sitting still being a cardinal brand sin. When using memes you should:
*Reinforce the brand voice
Anything that doesn’t is going to put off, or at least confuse, followers.
*Utilise satire, nostalgia or social commentary
Offer poignant insight but also laughs and smiles.
*Embrace your old content and repurpose
By building up a meme library it’s easy to create effective work quickly when the time is right. Always analyse and evaluate impact every post to flag the most effective posts.
*Prioritise original content — jumping on an existing meme and altering to fit your brand is risky. You need an excellent idea to pull that off. In contrast, original content is received far more favourably, although this poses the challenge of getting into a creative mindset.
Social media agency tip #3
What brands are smashing it at memes
The streaming giant offers a content marketing masterclass on any given day. Few others could turn movies the major studios were cautious about into bonafide home-viewed blockbusters, for example ‘Bird Box’. The genius is in allowing their accounts to become a place for users to share their own memes relating to Netflix products.
Specialising in dog treats and toys, Bark Box is ideally positioned to make the most of the visual potential of memes. Most of the brand’s Instagram account is meme-based and, as you can see from these examples, they do a very good job speaking to their audience on a mutual level.
The luxury clothes designer has gone all out on its meme factory, effectively ‘meme-ing itself’. Securing the services of prominent (and largely independent) content creators, it showcases their creativity, complete with exhibition type credits, boosting shares through the artist’s own community.
…and the brands that aren’t
Given how much this type of social media campaign relies on a strong brand reputation and massive customer loyalty, not every company should brave the world of memes. Don’t believe us? See how the mightiest have fallen…