16 Sep Should You Use Memes for Marketing?
As much as I love memes, I’ve been torn about fully embracing the whole memes for marketing thing. I don’t want to overdo it, you know? I always include one in my monthly newsletter, but I began wondering if I could use them on LinkedIn, in blog posts and in presentations.
So, I did some research on using memes for marketing, and all signs point to “yes, it’s a great idea.” Even better – any industry can use them, no matter how conservative.
The case for using memes for marketing
Who among us, after the last 18 shit-show months, doesn’t want to laugh more and harder?
When we laugh at a meme, we are having an emotional response. Great marketing elicits emotions, which creates connections, which helps develop trust and fascination with a brand.
And let’s not forget that laughing is good for us. It’s proven to reduce stress, boost our immune system and improve our mood. When you make someone in your audience laugh, you are supporting their health and wellness. That’s pretty cool.
Memes are also popular because you can laugh and nod along at the same time. “Ohmigod, that is totally me!”
That relatability also creates a connection. I talk a lot about how important it is to create a connection with your audience, because your business’s longevity and success depend on it. People buy from people and brands they like. Creating connections facilitates that relationship.
They’re highly shareable
How many times have you tagged your spouse or best friend in the comments of a particularly funny meme? How many times have you shared one?
As I’ve written about before, comments and shares are the best engagement metrics across all marketing channels. If people start sharing the memes you use for marketing, you will reach a much bigger audience very quickly.
Will any of us ever forget the Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World? I think not.
It helps that hundreds of memes have been created for the character. We might not remember all of them (or any of them!), but we remember they exist, and we remember that The Most Interesting Man in the World started off as a Dos Equis commercial.
Wouldn’t you love your brand to be associated with something that is equal parts hilarious and delightful?
Using memes for marketing telegraphs that you are plugged into pop culture. Your brand isn’t just a name, logo and product. Your brand knows exactly what’s going on, and you’re not afraid to show it.
Even the most buttoned up, serious industries (law, insurance, healthcare) can use memes.
They deliver results
Ah yes, results. It’s hard to find statistics on the effectiveness of using memes for marketing, but I did manage to find a couple.
In this article, the author (a small business owner and digital marketer) noted that the click-through rate of an email campaign that used memes was 8% higher than normal.
And in that same article, Anushk Mittal, the founder of meme platform Memeois, said that using memes on social media resulted in 10 times more reach with 60% organic engagement.
Not bad results for making people laugh!
The case against memes
They can offend
I don’t mind offending people, because when I do, I know they are not my people. Just as people choose to work with brands they like, brands only want to work with people they like. It’s a two-way street.
Offending people becomes a problem when you offend your ideal client – the person you love to work with. So this goes back to knowing your audience. Will they dig it? Or is the meme too edgy, obscure or possibly crosses the line?
When in doubt, file the meme away and review it later. Or just delete it. There are too many good memes out there to worry about one that’s questionable.
The joke might be over already
Remember the “Got Milk” campaign? It was funny until every brand out there started asking if you “Got [Whatever We Are Selling]”?
Don’t be the last person to jump on the train. You’ll look out of touch, which will start to raise doubts about your competence.
They could hurt your brand
If you’re ever unsure about meaning behind a meme, do some research. You might think it means one thing, but it could mean something else.
This is also true for hashtags and emojis. (Sometimes an eggplant emoji does not refer to an eggplant.)
Let’s say you make a mistake, and you share a meme that is offensive or means something different from what you thought. Apologize immediately, explain what happened and share what you are doing in the future to better vet memes. People will remember your quick apology and response.
What to consider when using memes in your marketing
Don’t do it because everyone else is
If everyone jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you? Of course not. Use memes with intention.
That means having a goal in mind. Do you want to grow your audience, increase engagement or expand your reach? All great reasons to use memes for marketing. Track the metrics to see if your campaign works.
Use memes judiciously
In marketing, you can easily go overboard. Why send one email per month when you can send one every day? Why share one meme on occasion when you can share multiple memes every week?
The answer: Because you’ll look desperate or like a one-trick pony.
Sometimes, less is more. Actually, most of the time, less is more.
Make sure it’s relevant to your brand
Just because a meme is funny doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your brand or audience. If you’re a financial planner who is known to be an avid college football fan, football or sports-related memes would be super fun to share. But if you suddenly share a meme about cats, your audience will be confused.
Likewise, if your brand is known for enthusiasm and generating excitement, don’t share a melancholy Eeyore meme. It would make no sense. Stick with Tigger instead.
Are you on board?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on incorporating memes into your marketing. Have you done it? What kind of success have you seen? If you haven’t, are you going to give it a try? Shoot me a note with your thoughts here.