By Blaze Pullman
March 13, 2016
Whether you use only use one form of social media, or you are a social media wizard, there is one thing that you will not be able to escape: the beloved meme. The first meme was actually created by Richard Dawkins in 1976 and has since sparked a cultural phenomenon that has recently swept through all social media platforms. From “Bad Luck Brian” to “First World Problems”, people all over the Internet have turned images into iconic memes.
However, as popular as memes have become, they are not for everyone. Some companies have tried using memes and have failed. Others have taken memes to the next level and have successfully incorporated them into their visual marketing strategy. So how do you know if using memes is right for your visual marketing strategy? Below is a list of the pros and cons of using memes in your marketing plan.
1.They are attention grabbing
Any images that are used in social marketing are likely to be attention grabbing. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. (Source) Since memes are usually an image with big, bold text, they really grab the attention of the reader. They are usually funny and straight to the point, making it easy for the reader to understand and to quickly read. Because of this, memes are a great way to capture your readers’ attention right off the bat.
2. They are very easy to make and share
Memes are extremely easy to create. To create a meme, you simply find an image and insert relatable text over the image. There are many websites that will help you create your own meme as well, such as http://memegenerator.net/. Most memes are posted as images, and since all social media platforms support images, memes can easily be shared throughout any platform.
Because so many memes have already been created, meme-jacking is another easy way of generating quick content. Meme-jacking is basically taking a meme that has already gained popularity and tweaking it to fit your own needs or to represent your own brand. This has been extremely effective in the past few years and meme use has skyrocketed because of this strategy.
3. They make content relatable
Memes are generally focused around topics that are relevant and current, making them the perfect visual marketing tool of choice. Memes can be directed towards specific groups of people, especially young people, which allows people to become directly involved in your visual marketing campaign.
Although these positives make memes sound extremely appealing to you for your visual marketing strategy, there are some cons to implementing them. Below are some of the reasons why you might stay away from using memes in your marketing campaigns.
1.They are extremely exclusive / not popular amongst all demographics
As mentioned above, memes are a great way to target specific groups of people. However, this can become a problem since some people may have a hard time interpreting your content. For one to understand your meme, they have to be on the “in”, or they have to be up to date with current topics.
Memes tend to be more popular amongst younger generations, which also makes it difficult to target other demographics. Memes rely heavily on humor, and some demographics might not understand the humor that is being used. Since memes are so exclusive, you may not want to use memes in your visual marketing campaign if you are trying to reach a large group of diverse people.
2. They require a lot of research
Although memes are very easy to create, the time it takes to research the meme could deter you from including them in your marketing strategy. Some memes have clearly caught fire and have become very popular amongst many demographics, but you must do your research to determine what age groups are most affected by that specific meme and what type of responses have been generated from it. Websites such as http://knowyourmeme.com/ can help you determine if a meme is worth the time and research to include it in your marketing.
3. They can become irrelevant quickly/ They wont catch on
Memes have an extremely short lifespan in comparison to other forms of visual marketing content (Source), so if you are late in the game to add memes to your marketing, you might want to look into the lifespan of the meme you want to use, as it might be coming to its end. This short lifespan makes it very difficult to stay up to date on current topics, and there are many other forms of content with longer lifespans that could be more beneficial to your visual marketing campaigns.
Creating a new meme is also risky, as it may not catch on or it might not be popular amongst your fan/ follower base. Thousands of memes have been created, but only a few have become extremely popular. So when looking to create your own meme for your content, remember that your meme will have to compete for content space amongst the many other memes on social media.
So, whats the verdict on memes?
Overall, using memes in your visual marketing strategy is up to you. There are positives and negatives to incorporating memes into your campaign, but it is up to you to weigh these pros and cons and determine if memes will help or hurt your individual social media presence. Just remember to do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and keep up to date on current and relevant topics if you are looking to incorporate memes into your marketing strategy!