If you open Facebook or Instagram on your mobile device right now and scroll through your feed, you are almost certain to encounter a meme within seconds. Memes have become extremely popular on social media because they are so easily sharable -- and this can lead to memes snowballing and going viral throughout the world wide web.
Marketers and brands have taken notice, and they are quickly becoming more common in advertisements and campaigns, simply because of the amount of engagement they generate. Memes can help you bridge the gap between your brand and your target consumer, and while memes aren't the save-all answer for everyone, it's definitely something worth exploring. Here are a few things to consider if you want to leverage memes in your marketing message.
Memes allow you to engage with your target audience without force feeding an advertisement down their throat
Consumers are becoming savvier when it comes to advertisements online, and learning how to ignore them completely -- especially the Millennial and Gen Z demographics. Marketing messages that offer nothing more than an offer will often receive very low engagement.
Memes, though, allow you to use humor and entertainment as a way to attract attention and be rewarded with engagement, which can then help amplify your message organically. Memes are made for social media -- easy to consume and easy to share. You are able to experience high-engagement rates using memes because your audience doesn't feel like they are liking, commenting and sharing an advertisement. They just see it as a meme.
Memes can help brands thrive that normally wouldn't be considered 'exciting' on social media
Ketchup. It's a popular condiment that is probably in the majority of refrigerators across the United States, but would you like, comment or share a social media post that featured a bottle of ketchup and a call-to-action to save 50-cents on your next bottle? Not a chance.
Heinz, which is probably the most recognizable ketchup brand, recently deployed a meme-focused social media campaign with the goal of generating one million impressions. "We created original meme content that played off the 'fruit or vegetable' debate and asked the audience to chime in by using hashtags. We were able to 4X the original goal, generating more than four million impressions and 80,000 engagements across Instagram and Facebook," explains Razvan Romanescu, co-founder of Memes.com, the company responsible for the ketchup campaign.
Now is the time to test meme marketing, as popularity is at an all-time high.
Memes.com boasts more than 16 million followers across Facebook and Instagram, and their Facebook Messenger bot is ranked number one in entertainment, with more than 600,000 people requesting and uploading memes on a daily basis. Yes, you read that right. This is what that madness looks like:
"I have long been an advocate for meme marketing, hence the reason I have put so much effort into building our brand, and while many thought I was crazy in the beginning, they are now seeing the opportunity and value memes can add to a campaign," explains Romanescu.
Two things to consider when creating a meme that will deliver results
While memes are extremely popular right now and can help brands connect with their target audience, there are a couple of things to consider, according to Romanescu.
1. Don't try too hard, just be relatable. Most brands that will find success with memes have Millennials and Gen Z as their target market, and these are the most internet-savvy generations. "You need to find a way to actually being cool without your audience thinking that you are trying too hard to be cool," advises Romanescu. Also, create memes that appeal specifically to your audience -- if you go too wide and appeal to everyone you will strike out.
Timing is everything: "To increase the odds of riding the viral wave, make sure that you use memes that are trending," says Romanescu. If you use older memes that have already run their course and exhausted their audience your brand will appear out of touch, and that can have a severe negative impact.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors