Memes bring so much more to the table when it comes to marketing than people give them credit for. For those businesses that believe memes aren’t effective, they may be missing out on a big opportunity to not only engage with customers but build a stronger relationship with them as well. So, what’s stopping your business from sharing relatable and often hilarious content? In this article, we will cover 4 reasons why you should use memes in your marketing strategy and how they can benefit your small business.
What is a meme?
We should first discuss what a meme is before we get into the benefits of utilizing them in marketing. Surprisingly enough, the word “meme” was around way before it became a pop culture phenomenon. Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, first used the word meme in his book titled The Selfish Gene, which was published in 1976.
The general idea behind Dawkins’ use of the word is that memes are essentially “cultural genes” that are transmitted from person to person, almost like a virus. But what exactly IS a meme? It can be almost anything. A picture, video, GIF, or anything that can be shared on social media. The general theme of a meme is content that captures the audience’s attention and relates to them somehow. Whether that be through a feeling, a thought, or even a moment, it strikes a chord with the user enough for them to want to share it, oftentimes adding their own spin on it. We’ve listed a few of our favorite memes throughout this blog.
We’ve seen success stories on many occasions with memes, including the picture below titled, “Woman yelling at a cat” which was just a screen grab from an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills paired with a hilariously confused cat in front of a salad. Users went wild with this meme, and it’s the same case for many other memes.
Memes don’t have to be funny either. If it evokes a strong feeling, the content is considered a meme. Anger, sadness, envy, empathy. You don’t have to stick to shallow, funny memes. As a small business, you can decide what sort of content you want to produce. That’s the great thing about social media! As long as the memes you post resonate with your target audience, you’re doing something right!
Benefits of Meme Usage
Let’s get into what we’re here for, shall we? Why should you use a meme to connect with customers? This brings us to our first point:
1. Connect with your audience.
There are only so many social media posts you can create to engage your customers. What better way than to make them laugh, or even engage more by creating their own spin-off meme? If companies can effectively utilize a meme and execute it well, memes have the propensity to go viral, and quickly.
2. Get better engagement.
According to a study conducted by Forbes, the click-through rate (CTR) on a meme campaign can be upwards of 14% higher than a regular email marketing campaign. Relating back to reason number one, audience members feel connected and often feel the need to share this content, leading to higher CTRs.
3. Create a community.
In some cases, memes can create a sense of camaraderie within your target audience. Though memes are often viewed as funny, some memes capture a more serious note. Like the #metoo movement, this encouraged others to speak out about sexual violence. It doesn’t always have to make users laugh. If it evokes any sort of strong feeling, it is considered a meme.
4. Grow your audience.
This is probably one of the biggest benefits of utilizing memes. If done the correct way, memes can go viral fairly quickly and you would be able to reach a LOT more people than your normal social media outreach ever did. It can sometimes be hard to crack the algorithm, but when you do, engagement and traffic can shoot up.
To wrap up, memes are a cultural phenomenon that can reach billions of users online. Not only can they evoke happiness and make the reader giggle but can also share feelings of anger and sadness. As long as a meme evokes a strong feeling, it is a meme. Use memes to your advantage. Contact us now if you would like help with curating your social media feed as well as identifying ways your digital marketing strategy can be updated to include fun ideas like memes.
BBC, “The surprising power of internet memes”, Helen Brown, September 28, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220928-the-surprising-power-of-internet-memes, Accessed May 8, 2023
Digital Marketing Institute, “4 Reasons to Use Memes in your Marketing”, Clark Boyd, October 18, 2021, https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/4-reasons-to-use-memes-in-your-marketing, Accessed May 7, 2023
Forbes, “Memes: A Digital Marketing Tool For Every Industry”, Karina Tama-Rutigliano, August 10, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/08/10/memes-a-digital-marketing-tool-for-every-industry/?sh=2ab2fcf62664, Accessed May 7, 2023
Independent, “Top ten most popular memes of all time”, Rachel Hosie, April 28, 2017, https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/top-ten-memes-of-all-time-ever-most-popular-kermit-gangnam-style-a7707336.html, Accessed May 8, 2023
US Magazine, “Chrissy Teigen, Nick Young, Ariana Grande and More Celebrities Who Became Memes”, Nicholas Hautman, November 29, 2019, https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/pictures/celebrities-who-became-memes-chrissy-teigen-nick-young-more/, Accessed May 7, 2023
Wikipedia contributors, "Woman yelling at a cat," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Woman_yelling_at_a_cat&oldid=1148752604, accessed May 8, 2023