Do You Use the Potential of Social Media Memes in 2024?

Do You Use the Potential of Social Media Memes in 2024?

Memes have become so ubiquitous that they’ve become embedded in internet culture, so much so that it would be foolish not to use them in your social media strategy.

Let me begin this blog post by stating the obvious. Somehow, it seems fitting to present it as a meme.

social media memes - toy story meme

Because let’s face it. Social media marketing – and marketing in general, for that matter – is not only about delivering value. It’s not only about creating products that meet the needs of your target audience. It’s about the battle for attention.

And in an overcrowded market where standing out is a struggle, you win that battle by sharing ideas that stick in your target audience’s brains.

And it doesn’t get stickier than social media memes

In this blog post:
  • we talk about what social media memes are, 
  • why you must use memes in your social media marketing, 
  • and how to use memes to engage and connect with your target audience.
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What are memes?

The definition of a meme depends on who you ask, and can potentially head off to vague territory. So let’s start with a definition that many of us are familiar with.

An internet meme is an idea represented in the form of an image, video, text, or any piece of media that is spread via the internet.

Most internet memes use a familiar theme or reference pop culture to convey an idea, often through a humorous lens. Once the idea “catches on,” it can proliferate through social media, email, blogs, forums, and even news sites. Once a meme embeds itself in the collective consciousness, people can appropriate it for their own use and change its context.

Why use memes in your social media marketing

So, why use memes in your social media marketing? Because they’re damn effective. Let’s go over the reasons why.

Social media memes elicit a strong emotional reaction

Not many customers will admit this, but they buy things because of their emotional connection to a brand. Many scientific studies tell the same thing. In fact, Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman says 95% of our purchasing decisions are driven by emotions.

social media memes - emotional damage meme

To create an emotional connection with your target audience, you need to present them with relevant content that resonates with them in a meaningful way. You can use words, images, and videos to drive your storytelling and elicit an emotional reaction, but memes create an immediate emotional impact that lingers long after they are viewed.

So why do memes pack an emotional wallop? Because they contain a lot of meaning in a small package. What makes it more effective is that it does so without being overwhelming. 

Memes can pull this off because they draw on themes or references people are familiar with. This reduces cognitive load, making the message more accessible and impactful to those who happen to see it.

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Social media memes are inexpensive

Memes can do so much for your marketing efforts. The best part? It won’t cost you anything. You don’t need to hire a designer to create memes. All memes are public domain so you’re free to grab meme images used by other people. Once you have an idea, you can use an image template, pull up a basic editing tool, and add your own twist to the original meme by adding your own caption.

Social media memes get shared a lot

According to a survey by YPulse, 75% of 13-36-year-olds (and 79% of 13-17-year-olds) share memes on social media. The same survey also shows that 55% of 13-35-year-olds share memes every week, and 30% share them daily.

So, why do memes get shared a lot? 

We love to share because we want to share a piece of ourselves with others, and in doing so make ourselves look good. Sharing is a form of social currency.

social media memes - want to be loved meme

We share insightful memes because we want our friends to think we’re smart. We share funny stuff because we want our friends to think we’re funny. And so on.

Social media memes make you relatable

In a digital economy where empowered customers call the shots, marketers can’t afford to be pushy with their audience. These days, acting like a huckster or a traditional used car salesman is the fastest way to make customers head for the hills and never come back.

If you want to boost sales, you have to build a relationship with your customers. It’s a long game, and you have to be authentic about it if you want to generate results. 

And you need to be relatable to pull that off. After all, customers are more likely to reward you with their attention if you show them you can relate to them in some way.

social media memes - got you meme

And nothing makes you more relatable than a meme. A funny, relatable meme shows customers there’s a human being behind a post or tweet, not a pencil pusher trying to sell a product.

Speaking of relatable social media memes, this one by NapoleonCat got me good.

social media memes - emotional spectrum

How to use memes for social media

A meme is a powerful tool for persuasion. That doesn’t mean you should publish memes without a sound strategy to support your efforts. Remember, you’re not the only marketer using memes to attract and persuade an audience. 

If you want to publish memes in your social media marketing campaign in a way that builds an audience and generates revenue, follow these steps.

1. Understand your audience

Publishing memes is fun. But are your memes resonating with your target audience? If you want them to pay attention, your memes must be relevant and align with their interests. And you can only pull that off if you understand them on a deep level. 

If your target customers are not typically sports fans, it might be better to not use a sports-themed meme. 

Creating a buyer persona helps. To build one, ask the following questions:

  • What types of content do they enjoy?
  • What are their favorite TV shows, movies, musical acts, etc.?
  • What specific pain points do they have where you can present your product or service as a solution?
  • What do they want to achieve?

You can enrich your personas through surveys, interviews, competitor analysis, and market research. Use social listening to discover specific information on what interests them. You can also use the free analytics and insight tools provided by the social media platform you’re using to discover your target audience’s age group, geography, shopping habits, income information, and more.

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2. Know your social media memes

It helps to be aware of memes that have gone viral already. If you want to publish memes that will get a reaction, you must stay on top of current trends in pop culture, politics, entertainment media, etc. 

You might want to check your own social media feeds to have a good idea of what’s currently popular. Check which memes are getting a ton of social media engagement. 

Once you’ve gathered up meme-worthy images, put them in a meme library so you can use them when an idea strikes.

3. Put a new spin on existing memes

As already mentioned, people reuse the same meme images or templates and put their own spin on them to communicate an idea. Collect popular meme images and put them in a meme library so you can quickly create your own meme when you’re struck by an idea. 

Here are good places to find meme templates:

  • Imgur
  • Know Your Meme

Make sure the meme template you’re using will be familiar with your target audience. When you add a caption, ensure that it’s relevant to them. Once you’re done crafting a meme, go back to your personas and evaluate if the meme will strike a chord with them or evoke a reaction. 

4. Create your own social media memes

You can create original memes that are specific to your brand. Obviously, this will take some time since you’ll have to create your own material. But it’s worth the effort because original memes can improve brand recall. With the right message, you can easily spark a connection with your audience.

To ensure your memes are relevant, gather material directly related to your brand. Netflix, for instance, uses screencaps from its own shows to create their own memes.

social media memes - key or peele meme

Another effective way to ensure that your memes are connecting with your audience is to use user-generated content. Customers create memes all the time. And by encouraging them to create memes, you’re not only getting free marketing content, but you’re also giving creators a much-deserved exposure. Besides, user-generated content helps you build a community around your brand and forge a deep connection between your brand and your audience, 

5. Craft your social media meme

So you have a meme idea and want to share it with the world? Creating a meme is easy once you’ve decided on a photo. 

There are two easy ways to create memes:

Meme generators

These tools or platforms provide you with meme templates pre-loaded with placeholder captions which you can use to create custom memes. Popular meme generators include IMGFlip, Imgur, Quickmeme, and Live Meme.

social media memes - thinking about other woman meme

Photo editors

You can also use a photo editor to create your own memes. Adobe Express, for example, has a meme maker filled with features that allow you to customize your memes the way you want them to look. Other meme-friendly photo editors you can use include PhotoScape X and Canva.

social media memes - first cup of coffee meme

6. Scale your meme marketing strategy

Once your memes have gained some attention from your target audience, you’ll need to keep producing memes to scale up your engagement. With that said, this can be incredibly difficult to do if you’re using multiple social media platforms and managing different social media accounts. 

To avoid having to publish memes separately on each platform, it helps to use a social media publishing tool like NapoleonCat’s Publisher tool. For one thing, it lets you publish your memes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google My Business using one single dashboard. 

Schedule post to multiple platforms at once

Aside from letting you upload your memes all at once, the Publisher tool allows you to tailor your content to each platform. You can adjust the image ratio of the meme for each platform in one go so that it renders well. What’s more, the tool also shows previews of your content as you create them.

Once your posts are ready, you can publish them all at once or schedule them separately!

Stay on top of your content schedule

Publishing content and staying on schedule can be a struggle, even more so if you put memes into the equation. Thanks to our Publisher’s calendar feature, it’s easy to stay on top of your content schedule. 

In one single view, you get a bird’s eye view of when and where your posts (and memes) are scheduled, allowing you to schedule your tasks more efficiently, and also work on your content strategy in a team.

Napoleoncat's calendar
Social media content calendar in NapoleonCat

Wrap up

We hope that this article has helped spark some ideas on how to leverage memes in your social media marketing. At the end of the day, the same rules for marketing still apply. 

If you want your memes to generate results, you need to start by understanding them on a deeper level, and then making sure that your efforts are supported by a robust strategy. Then it’s all a matter of using your creativity to create memes that resonate with your target audience.

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