One thing that really REALLY annoys me about marketing people is how they have a tendency to take simple ideas and make them seem complex.
I’ve been taking photos, adding a phrase and posting the images to social media for a few years now …. and getting some great results. But it’s only very recently that I discovered this kind of content marketing is actually called a meme!
But, whatever they’re called, the fact is memes are something that sound difficult to create and use, but are actually pretty simple. They can also be a very powerful form of content marketing that can bring you much bigger results than their simplicity might suggest.
If you’re looking to bolster your content marketing, quickly and without too much effort, I’d strongly suggest you take a look at creating and using memes in your marketing.
So exactly what is a meme ?
There are a few definitions (I told you digital marketing bods like to make things more complicated than they are). But a very good way to explain a meme is that it is an image or piece of text, often both together, that expresses a concept, idea or feeling.
What’s so good about memes ?
* Memes are quick and easy (ish) to create. That means they’re perfect for today’s digital marketing jungle where you need to push out a lot of content without spending too much time and money on it.
* Memes are a way to get your message over in a very quick, punchy format. If you like, a meme is a kind of visual soundbite.
* Memes stand out above other kinds of content. They’re more than just a picture, but they’re more than just copy too.
* People like memes. Even if (like me until recently!) they don’t actually know what a meme is! They’re easy to read – and absorb. They’re perfect for reading or viewing on a phone where there isn’t a lot of space.
* Memes are a fantastic method of vital marketing. Or can be. Popular memes are often shared thousands and thousands of times.
How to devise your own memes
To create a meme you need to start with a single, simple idea, feeling or concept. Here’s a suggestion to get you started: Think of the one most important thing you’d like to say about your business, product or service and build a meme around that.
Your own ideas are often the best ideas. Start with a personal idea, concept or feeling. But …. the most successful memes are based around concepts and ideas that lots of other people are likely to share, so don’t make them too personal.
Memes are often based around mimicry or imitation. Which is in fact the origin of the word meme. So try lifting a concept or maybe an ad. or image etc. that’s already doing the rounds of social media then imitating or mimicking it.
Funny or humorous memes are some of the most shared. So always go for an amusing meme if you can.
How to create your own memes
Creating memes is a lot easier than you probably think. It’s much easier than writing a page of copy, or even creating infographics.
There are quite a few online meme generators you can use to create memes in minutes. Personally I don’t use them as they tend to make your memes look like everybody else’s memes, but you could give them a try and see what you think.
It’s not too difficult to create your own professional-looking memes from scratch. You’ll need an image and a phrase to go with it.
I’d recommend you start with a base image. You can use one of your own photos, or source an image from a paid-for or free photo library. (Wherever you source your image from check that copyright rules allow it.)
Next you’ll need to add a sentence, phrase, saying or quote to add to your base image. You can write this yourself, or source a popular saying, phrase, well known or lesser known quote …. or even a line from a song.
Tip. Make sure there’s room to fit your copy onto your image. You’re usually limited to a maximum of 8-10 words or so. Many memes divide this over two lines at the top and bottom of the image.
Now bring the two together. You can do this with pretty much an graphics program. (I use MS Paint which is super-basic, but still does the job very well.)
Here are a few memes I’ve created and used with very good results over the last few months, based on my own photographs and then just adding a few words of copy:
How to use memes effectively
Memes are absolutely perfect for using with social media. Because they consist of both images and copy you can use them with social media that is best suited to content, as well as social media that is best suited to images, and both.
If you have a blog, start by adding memes to your blog. Then, you can post memes to your Facebook page. You can tweet memes with your Twitter tweets. Pinterest is perfect for memes. You can also use memes on Instagram to some extent.
Memes are really big on Reddit, Tumblr and Imgur. Although they have something of a cult status in these places, so be sure you get a good feeling for how they work before posting there. You could also add your memes to photo hosting and sharing sites like Flickr.
Here are a few techniques that can boost the effectiveness of your meme: Try asking for feedback or comments on your meme, to try and get a conversation going. Or use them in a survey or poll. Once you find a meme that works look at creating a series of them, to build up an audience.
Another good thing about memes is that they’re fun to do. It’s hardly like serious marketing work (although it is!). And the results come in fast too. You can have a lot of fun trying new ideas. Be as wacky or weird as you like. If your meme doesn’t really hit the spot then very little is lost. When you hit on a meme that works just create more and more of them …. and watch your hits, likes and shares skyrocket.