Inbound Marketing Strategy

Meme Marketing 101: How To Tap Into Your Buyers' Shared Consciousness

by Asiyeh Attar

Today I’m going to show you how to “write” in context without writing at all...using memes.

But first, a story:

A direct response copywriter and a FB ad maestro had a competition to see whose ad copy converts best...

The copywriter dropped a classic DR line like,

“This Downright Creepy One-Liner Will Get You Unlimited Same-Night Lays From Cold Approaches Even if You’re Fat, Ugly, Or Poor”

The ad maestro wrote something to the effect of,

“Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t, My Baby?”

Bruh, do you even English?

Anyway, point is…the ad maestro won because he wrote IN CONTEXT:

  • The context of his market
  • The context of his marketing channel

 

^^ This is a true story btw, as told by Taylor Welch (the copywriter) and Chris Evans (the ad maestro,) the Smartest Guys In Marketing.


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via GIPHY

 

WHAT ARE THOOOOSEEE??!!!

And why are marketers joining the meme bandwagon?

The word ‘meme’ was coined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 in his book named ‘The Selfish Gene’. Memes are defined as an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means. 

Or in simple terms, a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.

It's tough to trace when memes first started being used marketing. Before memes, though, we had challenges. Like Kylie Jenner's Lip Challenge, the Ice-Bucket Challenge, the Salt and Ice Challenge, and so on.

What does this mean for a business? Combining experiential marketing with slacktivism is the new trend.

 

Slangin' Memes

Here are 2 memes we've used in our business. The first is one our Head of Growth, Nabeel Azeez, uses on his Facebook wall:

 

marketing-advertising-agency-memes

 

The second is one we've used in a blog post on social media for B2B:

 

b2b-marketing-memes

 

Memes are the Native Language of Social Media

The average person spends 135 minutes PER DAY on social media. It's all jokes, pop-culture references, trolling, meme-ing, and emojis.

Memes are the native language of social media.” - Asiyeh Attar

(Yes, I quoted myself. Deal with it.)

More and more, you see brands try to connect with Millennials and Generation Z. They try to speak our language but fail, often horribly so.

"How do you do, fellow kids" - most brands (I blame the agencies, tbh)

Here's a perfect example:

 

 

pepsi-kendall-jenner

 

In 2017, Google searches for memes trumped (I just had to, lol) Donald Trump, ISIS, and Jesus (I checked.)

 

memes-donald-trump

 

Meme Strategist and Meme Consultant are actual job titles

Yes, you read that right. No, I'm not joking.

Did you know you can make a full-time income creating dank memes for brands?

 

 

If memes are modern day masterpieces, then Ka5sh just might be this generation's greatest artist. There's no better currency for cool these days than being on top of the latest memes. But those little bits of viral content have to start somewhere, and that's where Ka5sh comes into the picture. You've probably shared or laughed at his work without even knowing it. Unless of course you did know it was his because you're right on the pulse of the latest memes. - Luke Brown, for Pop Crush

Here's a Ka5sh meme, commissioned by record label Mad Decent:

 

 

Literally, memes are serious business.

 

Here is why

  • The simplest memes take less than 60 seconds to create
  • Rich sub-communication you’d take hundreds of words to describe explicitly
  • And yet, consumption and comprehension are instant and effortless
  • Hyper-targeted; only your customer avatar will get it 100%
  • Humor; try disliking someone who makes you laugh
  • The inside joke creates a sense of belonging
  • They humanize your brand
  • Brand-recall is through the roof (who did the Dubai human catapult video?)

 

How to use the meme

  • The meme can be deployed standalone with a short, funny caption or anecdote to drive engagement
  • You could pair it with a story, lesson, and/or CTA
  • They can be used as creatives for Facebook/Instagram/Twitter ads
  • The meme functions as both Attention & Interest in the AIDA framework.

 

Overall, they're perfect for starting the conversation and nurturing the relationship with your target audience.

 

 

Guidelines for Meme Marketing

Know your Audience

Before incorporating memes in your content see whether they fit with your target audience. Are they more likely to understand your reference or will it fall on deaf ears? Consider the brand image you want to convey as well. Is your brand playful and energetic? Then memes may work for you but if your brand is traditional then memes could work against your brand image.

 

Be Authentic

Millennials appreciate a well thought out meme by brands and it has worked in favor of many brands such as Denny’s but don’t try too hard to be accepted, memes are for a niche market after all.

 

 

Be timely

One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is posting their meme a little too late, it makes a world of difference because of the nature of content. Memes are dynamic, and it can only stay relevant if you post it while it’s trending.

 

It’s a hit or miss

Gucci tried to implement memes in their new campaign and while it was refreshing and comically funny, it strayed away from its luxury image. Knowing your brand and your demography is vital.

 

Conclusion

Meme marketing can be tricky, may not be well received, doesn’t work with all brands, AND there’s no guarantee that it will achieve any of the marketing objectives you’ve laid out. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying them. Done right, you get massive engagement for very little work.

Here are a few additional tips so you don't do a Pepsi and end up with a PR disaster on your hands:

  • Don’t overdo it and use a single type of meme, your audience will get tired of it.
  • Don’t include a sales pitch or a tagline, it’ll come off as overtly promotional and cringy, make sure the content has entertainment value.
  • Do attach social buttons to increase shareability.
  • Do measure the success of your memes: and post a follow-up
  • Your meme should be simple enough for people to get it without further explanation.
  • Make sure you don’t sound too offensive with your memes, keep it lighthearted.

 

kermit-frog-meme-marketing-101

 

One more thing before you go

Once you have a deep and detailed understanding of your target audience, the decisions you make will be more clear. 

And with digital marketing, clarity is #1 because confused prospects do not buy.

That's why I've created a FREE guide for you called, "creating buyer personas for business."

Not only will you get the guide, you also get templates you can use to start building your personas immediately.

Click on the button below to download your copy.

Buyer Persona

Written by Asiyeh Attar

Junior Copywriter at Ubrik Media.

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