Wait, you don’t know what memes are?  Well, thankfully I’m here to pull you out from under that rock and into the great world of meme marketing.  It’s really quite fun and it counts as marketing.  That’s a win-win in my book (hey, it makes my life as an Internet marketer a whole lot more interesting!).

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What are memes?

In short, memes are ideas, symbols or behaviors that spread naturally throughout a culture (usually but not always online); like an inside joke or a virus. The goal of a meme is to “go viral” and spread like wildfire through a community, with the very members of the community being the ones to spread the concept; like big hair in the ‘80s and body glitter in the ‘90s.

Memes usually take the form of a visual, such as a picture or video, but they can also show up as a hashtag, a simple word or phrase, or a trend.

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Marketing with memes

While the concept of memes is nothing new, meme marketing has sprung up so quickly in the recent months as more and more companies realize the potential.

People love pictures. People love humour. Combine the two and you get nothing short of brilliance: you get meme marketing. Memes are just a representation of a larger evolution in content marketing: visual content marketing.  By placing a greater emphasis on the creative – visual – design aspect of content, you are showing the community who you are, what you stand for, and how you relate to them.  Marketing with memes = catering to your audience.

It’s important to note that time is not a meme’s best friend. Just like a trend fades away, a meme will eventually, and inevitably, be replaced by something more current and more popular.

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Marketing with great memes

Great memes are absorbed by a community. Whenever a brand can get their message to go viral – with minimal effort on their part, leaving all of the work to their community – that’s a good thing.

It should make sense that memes need to be noticeable.  They need to grab the community’s attention, be relatable in some way, encourage discussion, and elicit strong emotional reactions.  You want people to feel important by being a part of them.  But more than that, great memes are memorable.  They need to pass the initial test of being interesting – marketing with memes is a successful endeavour when the thought “catches on” and continues to spread.

Great memes are those that have a long lifespan (for memes).  We know that time works against memes, but when you have a great meme on your hands, you’ll get far more out of it.  When you’re positioning a meme to relate to your audience, don’t make it overly targeted to a niche group that it doesn’t get enough attention or virility.  Arm yourself with a meme that is specific, but not too specific, and general enough so that many people can relate to it.

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Great memes are addictive. From a marketing perspective, you should seriously consider their potential, whether you like them or not.  Yes, certain memes can fizzle and die out, that being their nature; but while they’re here, they are powerful and influential. The concept of memes isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – it’s been around since the ‘70s.


Some of the content from this article is from Vision Advertising.