If you have spent any length of time on the internet, you have either read, seen, or heard of a meme. But, you might not be entirely sure about what, exactly, a meme is. In simple terms, a meme is “an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users, often with slight variations” (according to Oxford Dictionaries, anyway). If you are working on an online marketing strategy keeping up with the trends is vital. And this means tapping into pop-culture, including memes. A meme is a well-established part of Internet culture, but they can be used for more than simply posting and sharing humorous content. 

In case you are a little confused about the title of this article, head on over to Know Your Meme to find out what the joke is. Using memes in your online marketing strategy can help to grab the attention of your audience, but it does need to be approached with caution and knowledge. If you would like to tap into this pop-culture phenomenon, below we look at how to use memes in your marketing. 


First Step: Know Your Meme


Before you start using memes on your social media marketing or other marketing channels, you will need to understand some of the more popular ones on the internet. This will help you to use them effectively and not make any blunders, which could prove to be more embarrassing than you think. 

There are various websites that you can choose from to understand the latest memes, but the most reliable option is Know Your Meme, which provides an in-depth explanation of a meme, starting from its origin up until how it is being used currently. Spend time searching for popular (and inoffensive) memes that you can use, and share these with your online marketing agency so they are aware of them. 

It is vital that you understand the meme before you use it. You do not want to turn out like American brand DiGiorno Pizza and use an important hashtag in a (very) embarrassing manner. The first step in any online marketing campaign is to perform due diligence and research, which will help you to put together an effective marketing campaign. 


Look At Legalities First


Aside from sharing a meme incorrectly or in bad taste, you will need to look out for any legal issues that could appear, such as intellectual property rights for content such as images or wording. Consumers who share memes are protected under the “fair use” law, which might not extend to brands or companies looking to share or use the meme for their marketing purposes. 

Using a meme without the proper permission could result in serious charges or fines from the owners of the mem or even from social media platforms. Be sure you have the right to use any content before you make it a part of your social media marketing strategy. Make sure you give credit wherever you can in order to avoid these situations. It might be wise to look into a third-party service to alert you to any possible copyright issues for images you want to use. 


Always Consider Your Audience


Once you have ensured that all legalities are out of the way, you will need to learn more about your audience or keep in mind that you already know about them. Memes are usually enjoyed by a younger audience, such as Generation Z or Millennials, meaning that if your audience is older than this, memes might not be a good idea.

If you share a meme with your audience and they do not enjoy or understand it, then your online marketing strategy might not be a success. For example, if your audience does not play video games or at least does not understand them, then a meme about Pokemon will certainly fly over their heads. Understanding your audience will help you to create a better marketing strategy that your consumers can relate to and engage with. 


Become A Digital Native


There is a meme that sums up how not to be a digital native, the “How Do You Do, Fellow Kids?” meme, made famous by actor Steve Buscemi in a Saturday Night Live skit. It clearly shows someone who is pretending (badly) to be a part of a community they are not, which is how it will appear if you try to share a meme without understanding the culture. 

If you are a little out-of-touch when it comes to digital lingo, you will need to ensure that the person who is running your online marketing strategy is a digital native. Your content will feel natural and will be as up-to-date as possible with internet culture trends, which will help to prevent your brand from committing any pop-culture or social media faux-pas. 


Remember Relatability


It is almost a given that only a small slice of the population will understand any of the memes that you share, so remember to only share those that are relatable to your audience. This is easily done by sticking to the most popular memes on the internet rather than veering off the course and choosing more obscure references. 

If you would like to improve your social media marketing strategy, contact the NetMechanic team today to find out what we can do for you.