Now that we've answered the question: "What is a meme?" , the different styles of memes which are popular and available for use - it's time to get strategic about our online marketing and how memes can be a powerful tool in your tactical arsenal.
Like all of your online content - use of a meme for the sake of just using a meme or without any strategy to their use - could be annoying to your followers at best and down right insulting to them at worst. We have specific goals when generating content for social channels, our goals include:
- Magnify our brand.
- Reinforce the brand persona.
- Increase engagement.
I'll dig into each of those goals shortly but to reiterate: we need to develop a strategy for our online efforts and specifically those behind the meme, as well as having an understanding of our following - we will find that use of a meme creates significantly higher engagement then other types of content you develop.
The popularity of the Meme.
Meme's have an undeniable je ne sais quois which delights nearly everyone who sees them. The most popular memes become a trend because they are easily shareable, understandable, funny, clever and allow us to feel like we are part of a "tribe", participating actively in popular culture.
Developing our Strategy
Our social content shouldn't all be just about self-promotion and trying to make a sale. Sharing funny or thought provoking memes is a great way to provide value to those who follow our social accounts. Not only does it make following accounts more fun for the fan base but it will generate conversation and sharing. This shows that your brand is relevant and participatory players in current trends.
We outlined our strategic goals earlier, why we would use a meme as brand content, or to help assist our branded content which we are pushing out to our fans. Let's dig in!
The simplest, yet critical, brand strategy is the magnification of our brand. We want more eyes on our content, on our brand and in their minds. We want to ensure we have an actively engaged and interested audience. This is one of the key challenges in the world of "earned marketing", social is tough, we have to keep it going at all times. On the bright side, the dividends to all of that hard work can be enormous.
If your account has remained stale over the last while - you may find your followers are no longer excited or engaged in your content. Memes help engage your followers - creating conversation, engaging likes and earning new followers and shares.
Your content doesn't always reach who you are trying to reach on their newsfeed - so by creating engagement, you push your content to the top of followers news feeds.
Reinforce the Brand Persona
While your followers are a fan of your brand, when you are constantly pushing them the same content, they may get bored, frustrated or annoyed. We typically see this when we've overdone a specific type of content that was at one time clever and has run it's course. It's time to retire it for a bit.
It's also important to understand that we are in the process of developing a persona, or a personality for your brand online. Memes go a long way in those efforts, we want to have fans look at our brand and feel like they've connected with an individual. That individual has a unoique brand personality: likes, dislikes, quirks, a sense of humour. These critical elements create a connection with fans and get us building brand advocates and fundamentally Love for the brand.
Pro tip - Switch it up and be creative: what's new today will be old very quickly. Online marketing is unique that way. Never rest on your laurels or you will have a stale online presence.
Memes assist with pushing out your brand personality without having to be too salesy.
Increased engagement (and Open Graph optimization)
As social media marketers, it's important for us to have an understanding of the Facebook Open Graph and how content becomes visible organically to our fan base. On average only 16% of fans actually see our brand page content. New fans and engaged fans will see more of your content, the Facebook algorithm is designed to work that way.
What does that mean? By creating engaging content such as a meme that does take off, you will increase the likelihood of your inactive fan base becoming active. That also means that you are much more likely to have future posts visible on their Newsfeed. Win-win.
Pro Tips for your Meme
There are several questions you need to ask yourself before choosing, creating and sharing memes on your social media channels:
- Do your followers share common interests? If your following shares a common interest - for instance, if you're a cafe, it's safe to assume most of your followers enjoy coffee. Share clever and funny memes related to coffee and the lingo coffee drinkers understand.
- Is your target audience internet saavy? If your following is not big on internet use, and might just check into Facebook every so often, you may want to avoid meme usage. Your following may not understand the memes you use - and see your posts as spam. Opposite end of the spectrum - if your following is young, internet saavy and trend followers, you must ensure you are using popular memes properly. If you choose a meme, and then change the voice or personality of the meme - you can expect a negative unwanted backlash.
- What type of media does your target consume? As we've learned there are several kinds of memes - does your following have the time to watch videos featured on YouTube? Are they the type to laugh at an image and share it? Or maybe they are more interactive and will participate in a hashtag trend.
We've spent the last two Friday's analyzing what a meme is, where it came from and now, how to properly use them to generate engagement amongst your various social profiles - we will now begin looking into various trending memes, and how brands are using them to benefit their brand.