Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past five years, you’ve probably seen those photos or graphics with funny, silly, or sarcastic text superimposed over them known as memes. Memes are proliferated across the internet via social media sharing, and apart from providing a few chuckles, are often used as a means of conveying more meaningful messages. The goal of a meme is to achieve “viral” status – meaning that it is spread rapidly from person to person via sharing on the Internet and social media platforms. But you may be wondering how to create a business meme for your business?
With the help of social media specialists, savvy marketing, and advertising professionals quickly learned that harnessing the power of social media virality can mean large payoffs for the companies they represent. A prime example of this is Snickers candy bars capitalizing on the release of the Straight Outta Compton movie, and one of the music artists featured in the film, Dr. Dre’s “Beats” headphones in this meme:
So, how do you create a meme that is relevant to your business and the customer demographics you are targeting? Well, the first thing you need to know is that you can’t choose any random image, slap some text over it, and expect it to go viral. It doesn’t work that way. You’ll need to select a photo or graphic that has already been widely circulated and is familiar to the masses. Like the Willy Wonka picture I just used to make this meme:
The next thing to know is that memes gain popularity based on their relevance to current events, so timing is everything. Whether you want your meme to make a political statement (which is somewhat risky), or just be a part of a larger social conversation, keeping up with pop-culture is an excellent way to generate and integrate memes into your marketing strategy.
Just like Snickers did with the movie release, you can use a photo of your product with a famous tagline from a movie, or you can create a meme using a pertinent photo and phrase. Just spitballing here, but if you worked for a GPS company, a picture of the Terminator with his famous line “I’ll be back” and then a line about your brand’s GPS would work. Like this:
Yeah, okay. It’s pretty lame, I know. But you get the idea. It really is that easy because as everyone reads the meme, they’ll all hear Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice in their mind because EVERYBODY knows that line.
Generating memes can be as easy, or as complicated as you want them to be. The easy way is to use a free online meme generating website such as Canva, PicMonkey, or Memes.com. Those three sites all have a vast library of images for you to choose from, but Memes.com has a robust collection of already circulated meme-worthy images to choose from. An important difference between Canva and PicMonkey and other meme generation sites is that the first two don’t watermark the memes you create on their sites. If you notice in the lower right-hand corner of the Terminator meme I whipped up, there’s a Memes.com’s watermark. Most of the free online meme generation sites will watermark images for their own self-promotion.
The hard way (which isn’t really all that hard if you know how to use software to manipulate graphics) is to use your own graphic editing software such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to meme-ify an image that you’ve taken the time to source on your own. Another bonus of creating your own memes in-house is that you can add your own watermark for brand promotion. Check out this post for why you should be changing up your social media marketing strategy, hint memes are a great way to do this!