Memes. They are everywhere. And in a digital world where brand trust is low, and trends are changing rapidly, you’d be wise to use memes to target the future of the global economy — Generation Z.
If you haven’t noticed: Gen Zers can’t get enough of memes.
But keeping up with Generation Z isn’t easy. They are, after all, highly social and always connected. If you want to meet them where they are, employ meme marketing in your social media strategy.
But how do you use Gen Z memes to catch your young audience’s attention and stand out in an overcrowded market?
This is where we come in.
In this article, we discuss:
- What are memes on social media?
- Why Gen Z likes memes
- Why use memes in marketing to Gen Z
- How to use memes to attract GEN Zers
- Wrapping up
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What are memes on social media?
Memes on social media are a type of content that uses a combination of text and images (or short videos) to convey an idea or commentary. It is typically used to inject pointed humor into content, be it as a political commentary, a trending idea, a social observation, or a current event.
Most memes reference pop culture or use familiar images (also called “meme templates”) to express an idea, emotion, or sentiment, often through a sarcastic lens. They are usually shared via social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. When gen z memes resonate, they spread fast.
Why Gen Z likes memes
So, why do Gen Zers love memes?
For one thing, Gen Zers are a visual-driven generation. They grew up with digital technology so no surprise there.
But the second reason comes from a dark place: Gen Zers turn to social media memes as a way to cope with depression, anxiety, and disillusionment. According to an American Psychological Association study in 2018, Gen Z is the least likely generation to report good or excellent mental health.
The third reason is much simpler. In a digital world where information spreads fast, Gen Zers turn to memes to absorb and express ideas and opinions on topics they care about.
Good memes stand out from the rest but also reflect trends and the sentiment of a generation. They are typically short and snappy, with eye-catching images and short text.
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Why use memes in marketing to Gen Z
Aside from the fact that Gen Zers dig memes, why should you use meme marketing when trying to connect with the Generation Z crowd?
1. Memes are inexpensive
With memes, you don’t need to drain your budget to produce images with high production value.No need for high-resolution photos or elaborate stage set pieces. And you don’t need to hire a graphic designer.
Why bother when you can use meme templates created by other people? What you only have to do is use meme templates that are trendy and make your own spin.
You can edit memes using meme makers like:
Need meme templates? Here’s a list of funny memes that have become popular over the last few years.
- Success Kid memes
- Distracted Boyfriend memes
- Rickrolling memes
- Keyboard Cat memes
- Joseph Ducreux memes
- Michael Jordan memes
- Grumpy Cat memes
- Kermit the Frog memes
2. Memes boost engagement
Gen Zers don’t just love memes, but they also love engaging with them via likes, comments, and shares.
According to ZDNet, 74% of people say they share memes because they want to make their friends smile and 35% to show how they’re feeling.
The great thing about engagement is they make social media algorithms favor your content over others, giving your brand more exposure, and subsequently more followers.
And what better way to grow your brand and generate more sales than to keep your followers engaged through memes?
3. Memes foster a sense of community
Nothing brings people together than a fit of laughter. And in an era of content overload, nothing brings Gen Zers together than a relatable meme that injects a humorous spin into their struggles.
The great thing about memes is that they work like “schemas,” in that they make complex messages easy to understand by using familiar elements. By combining familiar images and text that adds context, you’re able to create content your audience can easily relate to.
By understanding your audience (through personas or follower demographics, for instance), you can create memes that tell Gen Zers you get them, which improves brand affinity and brand recall.
4. Memes humanize your brand
Nothing shows your human side more than humor. If you want your memes to resonate with your Gen Z audience, drop the suit and tie and create content that shows you’re just like them.
Gen Zers are more likely to reward you with their attention if you show that you can relate to them in some way. After all, a humorous tweet shows them there’s a human behind your social media accounts, not some corporate-powered robot whose only intent is to get their money.
How to use memes to attract GEN Zers
No doubt about it: Memes are powerful content to use in your social media marketing strategy. But how do you make the most of memes when targeting the Gen Z audience?
1. Use self-deprecating humor
As already mentioned, Gen Zers turn to humor to cope with anxiety and disillusionment.
If you can make them laugh, then you’ve got their attention.
With that said, your memes will have a more emotional impact on the Gen Z crowd if you understand and nail their brand of humor – self-deprecating humor, to be exact.
Gen Zers love self-deprecating humor because it speaks to their struggles in a way that puts them in a better light. Their thinking goes, “If I can’t laugh at myself, what can I laugh at?”
Publishing memes that make light of your flaws and mistakes as a brand (or as a person) shows your Gen Z audience that you’re comfortable in your skin, and are therefore less judgmental of others.
This makes your brand more likable, and it’s going to entice your followers to pay attention to and build a relationship with your brand.
Bugles gets it:
2. Know your memes
Want to increase your meme game? Then know your memes. Keep up with the latest and trendiest memes.
If you don’t, you’ll wind up like this guy.
In other words, using outdated memes makes you look out of touch. And nothing turns off the Gen Z crowd more than an out-of-touch person. A YPulse study reports when it comes to pop culture moments, Gen Zers care more about memes and viral videos than movie releases or sporting events.
Besides, keeping up with the latest memes makes it easy for you to come up with content ideas for memes. So much so that you catch yourself thinking in memes sometimes (I’m guilty of this).
But how do you get current with the latest memes?
Here are a few destinations to find inspiration for trendy memes and pop culture moments to fuel your meme game:
3. Stand for something
Gen Zers, like Millennials, like to make a difference in the world. And that is reflected in the brands they buy and support. In fact, 68% of Gen Zers expect brands to contribute to the community.
If you want them to support you and buy your products, stand for something. Make it part of your mission to make the world a better place. Because when it comes to social justice issues, a brand’s silence can be louder than its words, and it’s not necessarily the noise you want to make.
How is this related to memes?
Research shows that people use memes to take part in public conversations about political events going on around them. So if you want your Gen Z audience to recognize you as their “peer,” you have to do the same.
Pfizer, for example, may have pissed off some people by standing up for science in this snarky tweet. (us pro-vaxxers and pro-science peeps won’t mind getting the Pfizer jab, though)
3. Be authentic
When it comes to choosing a brand, Gen Zers value authenticity above all others. According to a CNBC report, authenticity is an important value for Gen Z, with 67 percent of survey participants agreeing that “being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool.”
Gone are the days when consumers had to be force-fed corporate mumbo jumbo from brands. Customers are empowered more than ever thanks to the internet and social media. If you want to get on their good side, you have to speak their language. And when you talk Gen Z language, you make use of memes.
It’s hard to sound authentic if how you communicate is inconsistent. So take the time to define your brand personality or voice. Then stick with it. If you do, your content (not just memes) will feel authentic and make your Gen Z audience feel like they’re talking to a friend.
Wendy’s is one example of a company with great brand consistency. Since the brand’s social media marketing strategy makeover in 2017, the fast food chain’s social media accounts cracked jokes, poked fun at fans, roasted competitors, and even dabbled in rap battles.
The strategy worked, allowing Wendy’s to exceed their $10 billion sales target in 2017.
Wendy’s brings the snark in the following Instagram post.
Have a consistent posting schedule
Considering how fast trends change, you would think Gen Zers won’t crave consistency.
But the opposite is true. Gen Zers crave consistency more than ever.
Colby Vogt, the Global Head of Business Intelligence at DeVries Global, says as much:
“For good or for bad, shifting gears quickly between choices, topics, personas, and emotions is a way of life for Gen Z and the only one they know. This native ability has led to their reputation as a generation that can’t commit to anything, who aren’t loyal to too much for the long term, and who are constantly seeking out the new. However, our research showed the opposite is true. They actively seek out the familiar and the consistent and exhibit trust in, of all things, brands – at a level that may surprise people.”
But publishing consistently is as hard as it sounds. but it becomes easier if you plan your content in advance.
This means not trying to come up with an idea for a meme (or any type of content, for that matter) at the time when you need to post a social media update.
My advice? Use Jerry Seinfeld’s “Don’t Break the Chain” method.
Jerry Seinfeld became one of the most successful comedians ever not only because he’s funny, but also because he established a consistent routine for writing jokes and putting a mark on a calendar for every joke he wrote.
When comedian Brad Isaac asked Jerry Seinfeld for advice, what he learned was simple but enlightening: Write jokes every day, no matter what. Here’s how Brad recounted the encounter:
“He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
“He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it, and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”
You can adopt the “Don’t Break the Chain” method in your content creation. Write or create memes every day. Don’t break the chain, no matter what. Once you have a long list of meme content ideas, you can plan your content in advance.
This not only helps you save time but also gives you more room to refine your content and think of other content ideas that don’t involve memes (diversity in content is important, after all).
A social media publishing tool like NapoleonCat’s Publisher can help implement your “Don’t Break the Chain” method with greater success.
By letting you publish content (including memes!) across different social media profiles and channels with an all-in-one platform and a user-friendly content calendar.
The tool lets you:
- Upload all your images and write your captions at once
- Tailor each piece of content to each platform (adjust image ratio, see post previews, create Instagram carousels, etc.)
- Publish instantly or schedule multiple posts for later
- Schedule IG carousels
- & more
Better yet, NapoleonCat lets you organize your social media content in an easy-to-use calendar.
Do you work as a team when creating content? The tool lets you exchange feedback and assign tasks with the entire team, making content creation a cohesive team effort.
With commitment, a deep understanding of your target audience (Gen Zers, in this case), and the help of a tool like NapoleonCat, you can use Gen Z memes as part of your social media strategy to connect with the Gen Z crowd and be consistent in a way that will make your brand top of mind.
Elevate your meme game. Zoomers will love you for it.
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