An Introduction to Internet Memes and Marketing
Creating a viral marketing pandemic is no easy feat and requires an acute understanding of market trends and your audience and, in many cases, a clever sense of humor. Enter internet memes. These often hysterical and eventually mind-numbing creations have become a major part of internet culture. But what is a meme? How can your business actually leverage something like this?
Defining “meme” for the internet
According to Wikipedia, the term meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene”. It is defined as an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Examples include fashion, catch-phrases, and key aspects of technology.
A couple not-commercially used examples:
And some commercially used examples:
Recognize any of these? If you’ve been online in the past year, you probably do.
Using a meme for marketing
There are a few key things to consider when creating a meme that promotes your business. Follow these steps before delving into the meme development:
1). Target audience. Like any good marketing plan, you need to understand who your audience is. Determine what they need and why they need it. Start first by identifying key individuals or groups in your audience and broadcast to them. Let them perpetuate the idea further.
2). Have a goal. What’s the purpose of this meme? Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website, or are you promoting a certain product or message? It’s important to understand why you’re doing something more than how you’re doing something.
3). Make it easy. It should be very easy for people to share your meme. Make sure to post it on optimized pages of your website or blog, or focus on sharing it with niche communities to get the ball rolling. If you’re really trying to make a splash, you could even build a meme generator so people can make their own versions of your meme. As always, put easy-to-use share buttons on the pages with the meme so people can post it to Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites more easily.
4). Measure and refine. Like all marketing tactics, it’s important to measure the response to your meme and refine it to get even better results. Be sure to listen and respond to audience feedback and adjust your content as necessary.
5). Know when to quit. Memes get annoying. Quickly. If you start seeing a lot of negative feedback to your meme, it’s time to gracefully step aside and let it fade away . You don’t want someone creating a meme of your meme that negatively interprets your brand messaging.
We know memes have exploded online over the past few years and they don’t seem to be slowing down. If you think you can make a meme-ingful contribution to the internet or have something with viral potential, try it out. Just be sure you have success metrics in place and monitor it carefully. It could very well be your next big marketing implementation (unlike the picture below).