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Integrating Memes for Social Media

DATE PUBLISHED: September 25, 2014

While the word "meme" may not ring a bell, odds are you have already seen dozens of them. According to Social Fresh, a meme is a "categorization of a cultural trend or truth, a unit for communicating and collectively sharing cultural ideas through words, symbols and pictures.”

 social media marketing memes

Examples include funny jpeg pictures of Willy Wonka with funny text in "Impact" font to viralvideos of a golden retriever puppy snuggling with a raccoon (not sure if that one actually exists, but we'd love to see it.)


Memes are fun, shareable, and if rolled out properly, they can be a great delivery channel for distributing your content and strengthening your brand. Oh, and most importantly: they're perfectly attuned to the magic of social media.


Therefore, we'd like to briefly look at when and how to integrate memes into your social strategy. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Timing is everything. Effective memes for social media quickly pick up on what's hip across the social landscape. For brands who pull it off, it shows they're dialed in to popular culture. Case in point: some brands created photo memes using a particularly awkward photo of Beyonce "looking fierce." This is all well and good, but beware: certain brands, particularly those in industries that need to convey professionalism and expertise — think finance and solar — should tread carefully before trying to co-opt the cutest new cat video. Our point: make sure your meme is aligned with your brand. With that in mind...
  • Know your audience. Again, if you're a community bank, a meme of a panda falling out of a tree won't get you very far. However, if you're a small boutique jeweler, a baker, a cafe owner — artsy kinds of brands that are active on Pinterest and speak to younger and an oftentimes female demographic — you can certainly experiment with more kitschy or fun memes. To that end, let's say a majority of your leads are "children of the 80s." Have fun with 80's-related memes. (It's no secret that we here at Palmer have a soft-spot for photo memes with Keanu Reeves from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.")
  • Budget accordingly. You will most likely not spend three days filming your own version of "Harlem Shake." However, it's important to approach your meme creation with a clear understanding of the associated time and cost. Which bring us to our next point:
  • Memes can be created on the cheap. Websites like memegenerator.net enable users to find a popular meme and customize it with their own text. You can also upload your own images.
  • Share, share, share. Like any piece of content, share your meme on social media, your blog, and all other applicable delivery channels. (Also don't forget sharing sites like Reddit, Digg, and Stumbleupon.)


Lastly, remember that memes are supposed to be funny. If they make people in your office laugh and align with your brand, odds are they'll resonate with your social media followers.


So what do you think? Has your firm experimented with memes for social media? If so, which ones have proven successful? If not, why not?


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