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How and Why to Use Memes in Marketing

By definition, a MEME is “a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.” The tech-savvy millennial generation has taken this phenomenon by storm. Memes invade popular websites like Buzzfeed, pop up all over social media, and spread like wildfire. They’re funny, relatable, and clever – so why not incorporate memes into your marketing strategy? Properly leveraging popular memes can lead to more engagement, higher reach, and further brand awareness.

Why and how, as a marketer, can you utilize meme marketing to reach new potential? Let’s begin with the why…

1. Memes are easy and cheap to create

Fortunately, memes take less than half the time of an infographic and far less money to create. There are websites and applications (we like that allow users to choose a popular meme and customize it to their desires. You can even upload your own images in most cases. They’re usually free or extremely inexpensive, and with the chance to possibly go viral, it’s a no-brainer.

2. Memes are already viral

Choosing a meme that has already gone viral is a great way to latch on to trending content and hopefully get noticed. It’s all about finding something that’s already trending and being talked about, then coupling that with your brand.

3. Memes are relatable

Most memes are silly. Silly, relatable content gets shared. If you can find a meme that is relatable and establishes an emotional connection with your audience, you’ll increase shareability tremendously. Find a meme that resonates with the interests of your potential customers.

Though memes are easy to generate and have a high shareability factor, it’s important to know exactly how to leverage them into your marketing strategy for success.

Pro Tips:

  • Know your audience. If your customers are a younger, more technical bunch, memes are ideal. For those with older audiences, “memeing” could be a waste of time.
  • Fully research the meaning of the meme. You don’t want to find yourself in a sticky situation if you use a meme with a negative connotation that you weren’t aware of or an insincere undertone.

FAFSA, a student financial aid provider, tweeted a meme with a clip from the movie Bridesmaids with overlaying text that read, “Help me. I’m poor.” Unfortunately, the meme was met with harsh criticism given that many people struggle with student debt. The company later took the tweet down and issued an apology.

  • Don’t stray too far from your brand message. You want the meme to be memorable, but you also want it to relate to your brand so that people remember both.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and strategize on how to effectively utilize memes within your social marketing strategy! Correctly leveraging meme marketing can work wonders and get your campaign seen by a slew of new eyes.


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