One Does Not Simply Ignore Memes In Their Social Media Strategy

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Memes. In Spanish, it’s pronounced “may-may”. In French, it’s “meh-em”. In Italian, it’s “meh-meh”. Whichever pronunciation you fancy, “mee-eem”s are ubiquitous in our social media feeds. They may be popular for a day, a season or become part of the canon (remember when we couldn’t go a day without seeing one of these?).

They may be understood and enjoyed by a select group of enthusiasts, or sometimes they take on universal appeal and go viral. At their core, they are designed to make us laugh, but beyond entertainment value, memes can address current social and political issues in a digestible and fun way, while still delivering an important point.

Given the popularity of memes, businesses should consider sharing or creating their own memes to connect with their audience. By leveraging pop culture events, there is the added advantage of increasing brand awareness by making the brand more approachable as well as au fait with current news stories.

But as internet culture is always evolving, how can you make sure that you have your finger on the pulse of the latest meme trends? Here are our tips on which Instagram meme accounts to follow and how to make your own meme. Because “the girls that get it, get it. The girls that don’t, don’t.”

First of all, what are memes?

Perhaps the best definition of a meme is that it is a piece of media that is repurposed to deliver a cultural, social, or political commentary, mainly through humor. 

One of its key factors is that it’s instantly shareable. Found a funny cat meme that you liked? Social media platforms have made it so simple for you to share it with friends by tapping only a couple of buttons on your phone. The more times a meme is shared, the bigger the spread of its net and the greater the cultural influence it has.

In addition, memes are an easy form of content to consume. Most of them can be read and understood within a matter of seconds, which is why they do so well on social media – the message gets across quickly and effectively. And in our busy world, brevity wins. 

Occasionally throughout a meme’s life, it will be altered and built upon by its audience so that it ends up taking a completely different form from the original. This phenomenon is known as  “meme within memes”. A popular example of this would be the expanding brain meme.

The original galaxy brain meme.

This is a series of images comparing the brain size of a person relative to other variables. It was a popular 2017 meme used to ironically showcase ‘intellectual superiority’ in a ludicrous way.

To put it simply, a person who uses “who” has the smallest brain compared to an individual who uses “whomst’d” – the most ridiculous variation – is shown as having the largest brain. 

As previously noted, memes can develop over time, and that evolution can take on a life of its own. This was the case for Drake and his Sprite Commercial in 2018, a year after the original galaxy brain meme’s creation. This new meme showed the famous Canadian rapper in a similarly nonsensical state of evolution. 

Drake and his Sprite Commercial meme.

Now that we know what memes actually are and how they can change, we recommend injecting some into your social media strategy. So, where should you go for inspiration? We’ve curated a handy list of Instagram accounts below that you can repost from and keep up-to-date with the latest meme trends.

Top five Instagram meme accounts to follow

Here are some of our favorite accounts to browse through:

1) memezar

This account posts a few times a day and compiles all of the most popular memes at any given time, meaning that whatever content you decide to repost is already trending. Feel free to jump on the bandwagon!

 

2) mytherapistsays

This account caters to the young, millennial female audience, but there are a lot of pop culture references that will be understood by many. It is generally text-based with a few static images thrown into the feed as well.

 

3) sainthoax

The content is mostly based on American culture. The carousels are especially great as it takes the meme and looks at the wider conversations growing around it, so it’s also informative and makes the audience think a little deeper.

 

 

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A post shared by Saint Hoax (@sainthoax)

4) funnyvideos

As the name suggests, this account focuses on video memes. Some of the memes may be too on the nose, but it is nonetheless popular. Note that some of the content may not be suitable for work viewing!

 

5) kalesalad

This account appeals to the younger generation and mostly reposts Twitter messages with images and videos.

 

 

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A post shared by Memes (@kalesalad)

It’s important to highlight that while some specialist meme sites are starting to gain prominence, in general, the secret of meme accounts is relevance and relatability. This means that a lot of people can easily understand and consume the content. If it’s too niche, brands may face having very limited reach.

Build your own meme

Alternatively, you can make something original for your brand. Creating your own memes is a great way to showcase your brand’s personality and demonstrate that you understand your customer’s humor. 

Back to the past

The Old Spice advert seems to have transcended time and space. Its virality meant that it soon became part of the meme canon. At the height of its popularity, DreamWorks referenced the grooming product when promoting their new movie spin-off, Puss in Boots (one of Shrek’s right-hand men, for the uninitiated). We’ve previously written about how video content is the future in digital marketing, so what could be better than combining a meme with video content?

Capitalize on trending events

When an event is relevant to your business, we recommend talking about it on your social media too. 

The Met Gala, an annual event seemingly made for generating memes, is one such example. You can follow in the steps of Zomato, a food delivery and restaurant discovery service, that linked their brand to Fashion Killa, A$AP Rocky and Rihanna’s ensembles. 

How to actually create a meme

It may seem like nobody wants to work these days, but the reality is that business leaders may be deterred by the assumed costs of creating memes. But you don’t need a Photoshop subscription to create your own, instead, use free websites such as Imgflip or Memegenerator.

For both websites, you can browse through their selection of everything from classic memes to what’s popular at the moment. If you have your own image in mind, simply upload it to the website, add in your text and voilà! You’ve officially created a meme. It’s really that simple!

Be a cool mom

For much of the younger generation, there’s nothing worse than brands “trying too hard”. Staying up to date with internet culture also means knowing when to leverage a trending topic and when to stay in your lane. If the content seems forced, it has the undesirable effect of making brands look out of touch and inauthentic to their target audience. As always, authenticity is key.

In layman’s terms, this means only adding to the conversation when it is truly important and relevant to the business. Otherwise, it’s best to stay put. 

An EY survey further demonstrates that authenticity is exactly what Gen Zers value the most. They are noted to have a distaste for anything that looks, feels or is – to them – “fake”. As a generation with growing buying power, it’s important to ensure that businesses can relate to this audience and keep them in mind when making content.

What’s the future of memes?

Meme culture is constantly evolving. For meme Instagram account founder, Haley Sacks, memes will become NFTs (nonfungible tokens). She predicts that “creators [will be] selling their best work as digital assets.”

Andrew Price, the head of content at Memes, predicts that within five years, every cultural moment or news story will have an accompanying meme, and that meme will be a large part of the mainstream conversation about that event.

A meme’s ability to entertain generations, make a dull product exciting or popular and attract the world’s attention means that it should absolutely be considered as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Jessica Anduiza

Jessica has a BA in Ancient History from King’s College London and an Achilles heel for digital marketing. Her odyssey, from DIME to Careful Feet Digital, began with an internship position and now encapsulates social media management. She currently lives in Paris, France, ipso facto, enjoys the local pastries, and has a growing collection of indoor plants.

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