You’ve probably seen pictures of Yao Ming or a troll cartoon with witty punch lines all over the internet. And at first, you probably wondered what they were (you are not alone), but that didn’t cloud the fact that you laughed and probably went on to look for more. Memes are almost turning into a cyber plague, and it’s only getting more infectious over time, invading social networking sites, personal blogs or just plainly scattered throughout the web.
Why are they so popular? Because they’re easy to absorb (at least to those who know what they are). And let’s face it; they’re funny as hell, too.
In case you didn’t know, the word “meme” already existed before the internet. Memes are cultural items or behavior which are passed on or imitated by another culture or generation. Religion, architecture, nursery rhymes, neckties, and Santa Claus – these are examples of memes.
But internet memes primarily intend to entertain and sometimes mock certain cultural icons and ideologies.
The question is:can marketers hop in the bandwagon and use memes effectively to promote a brand? Or perhaps the bigger question is, should they?
Reality check: some companies, mostly SMBs, are actually already doing it on their blogs. It’s not too much of a gamble for small businesses to employ memes, especially if they only maintain a modest blog attracting a small geographic market.
But for large-scale enterprises, memes are actually a bit of a risk to undertake.
Here are some things to consider before joining the meme army:
Does your audience know what memes are? The thing is, you can’t just ask
them if they’re familiar with memes – you’re going to have to devise a way to find out. Try sharing a meme post from another blogger first, or you can write something with memes as your topic. Then observe their reactions.
Do YOU know what memes are? Imagine if your audience is totally familiar with memes and you aren’t, then you made your own which…turned out completely off. That’s a humiliating failure of epic proportions.
Define your limits. One does not simply compile memes and dump them all on a blog. You have to set a measure on how far your humor should go, how relevantly and frequently you incorporate them in your posts.
Casual, cheesy, fun. The best way to transmit humor is when you sincerely think that what you’re posting is funny. It could be cheesy or too casual, but if you see that it “fits” your blog post, then by all means share it. Memes lose its value when used inappropriately or half-baked. Remember that it’s supposed to elicit humor, so have fun.
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