“Rage Against the Meme” – Should We Use Memes In Our Marketing?

Written by Georgina Thorne
On & Categorised in Social Media

A writer at Grazia magazine is so fed up of seeing memes in her Facebook feed that she felt the need to mention it in the November issue in a short piece titled ‘Rage Against The Meme’.

I wanted to share this with you because I know how hard it is to come up with fresh content, and how easy it is to share stuff that’s getting lots of attention – like a “This is me on the way to the gym after Christmas” meme featuring a seal. I know you’ve all seen it.

So here’s a little snippet from the article to give you an idea of how this writer feels about memes:

“We never thought we’d say this but we miss endless pictures of children dressed up for world book day/festive holidays/FOMO-inducing nights out. Why? Because recently, our social feeds have instead been hijacked by memes.”

The point she’s making is that she feels all memes share the same naff cliches. She sees them as a lazy form of communication, and being tagged in one as a measure of friendship, and not in a good way.

Reading this article got me thinking.

Have Memes now become a victim of their own success? And should we be using them in our marketing?

But first. What is a Meme?

A meme is an image, video, phrase or more commonly a combination of an image with bold, capitalised text that is virally shared across social media networks and blogs.

Memes are meant to be a funny piece of satire with a popular culture reference (example below).

Sean Bean Meme

A meme is almost inevitably funny, so there’s absolutely no doubt that they get a high percentage of engagement. This makes them irresistible to share because you know you’ll get a tonne of likes.

You’ll probably find at least 1 meme in your feed to every 4 posts.

But for the Grazia columnist this was a major turn off.

Instead of finding them funny and joining in with the ‘banter’, she found them annoying. Not only that, she felt like the interaction with whoever tagged her in the meme lost all meaning, because 40 other friends had also been tagged, loosing any sense of a personal connection.

Should We Use Memes In Our Marketing?

When it comes to sharing popular or trending content like memes on social media, you have to ask yourself how relevant it is to your audience. Is this the kind of content they expect or need from you?

Most importantly is it “On Brand” content?

Sometimes you’ll come across a meme that’s right on the money and sits perfectly with your brand and message. If that’s the case then take full advantage of the situation.

But try to avoid sharing something just because it’s popular. Chances are it’s already been seen by your followers and you’ll end up adding more clutter to their feed and your post will be overlooked.

Worst of all, it will have no meaning or sentiment to your audience because of it’s generic message.

Make Your Meme Personal

What I’d recommend you try to do is take the meme concept and personalise it to suit your own brand message.

Providing of course, being funny and satirical fits with your brand values.

Again, don’t just use memes because everyone else is. Use them because they will be an effective way to communicate your brand message and values to your target audience.

Using tools like Imgflip’s Meme Generator you can upload your own original images and add captions to it to create your own branded meme.

That way you control the language, the level of humour and the message.

Creating a truly unique piece of content designed specifically for your target audience will have way more impact than another fat seal hitching across some ice.

Oh look, there it is! Me going to the gym after Christmas (just kidding).