By Tempest Wright, Staff Writer/Illustrator – October 29, 2020
Meme Your Marketing
With social media deeply enmeshed in the way we communicate with one another, it’s no shock that brands take popular trends and incorporate them into their social media strategy. One such trend, the meme (pronounced meem), evolved so fast and became so widespread that Smithsonian Magazine discusses memes as “information technology.” In other words, memes are a form of communication and are a cultural shorthand.
In existence since the early 1990s, when the internet was taking off, a meme is a humorous concept, joke, or catchphrase. Knowing the context from which they come is important to be able to understand them, as memes are often inside jokes.
Memes are usually an image or video with a specific meaning or concept, although they can also be a text post. When made from images, memes convey meaning faster and more effectively than text alone. For this reason, many brands utilize memes across their digital platforms.
Fenty Beauty pushes much of its marketing through Instagram, lending itself to the visual nature of memes. Through Instagram and Twitter, Fenty isn’t shy about posting memes related to their products – and they always go viral. However, Fenty Beauty isn’t the only major company making use of memes. When the Netflix original film Bird Box was released, viral memes with screenshots of the film helped it garner over 70 million views in the first 24 hours.
Occasional meme-marketing allows a brand to connect with its audience through humor rather than straightforward promotional ads. As long as a brand is up to date on popular culture and trends of the moment, memes are easy to make. They don’t take much planning and have a greater chance of going viral than the average post. Viral posts are beneficial because they increase brand exposure and generate web traffic. Additionally, viral memes are more likely to earn the attention of younger demographics. This is important as those who are social media savvy, especially younger people, have a greater aversion to paid advertisements and promotions. Genuine connection with an audience through humor or lighthearted posts is often a better way of obtaining reach.
All in all, meme marketing is only a small part of social media marketing. As long as memes remain consistent with the brand, they are an effective way of breaking up promotional material monotony. They also create organic reach. When your audience is in on the joke and can join along through either written replies or memes of their own, engagement is inevitable. If the post is entertaining enough, many will share it with others on their feed. The point of meme marketing isn’t just to be silly, but to connect with consumers and make a brand’s online presence memorable.
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