Tapping into Meme Culture to Communicate with Digital Natives

Language evolves rapidly as societies grow and change. In today’s world of constant change and innovation, language changes by the minute, aided by instantaneous digital transmission all around the world. One of the most intriguing nuances of Internet culture and digital communication is the rise of the meme.  In this article we’ll be exploring how to use memes in your marketing to connect with your audience in a fun and trendy way.

Memes have taken over the internet in recent years, becoming a cultural phenomenon that transcends age, gender, and nationality. Whether you love them or hate them, it’s impossible to ignore the impact memes have on our daily lives. As a business owner or marketer, you can take advantage of this trend and incorporate memes into your digital marketing strategy to connect with your audience and increase engagement.

What is a Meme?

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines a meme as “a concept, belief, or practice conceived as a unit of cultural information that may be passed on from person to person, subject to influences in a way analogous to natural selection.”

Pronounced meem, a meme in the modern sense is a cultural phenomenon in the form of an image, video, phrase, or idea that is rapidly spread and shared on the internet. Memes are often humorous, satirical, or ironic and are typically created to convey a particular message or idea in a way that is relatable to a large audience. Memes can take many forms, including photoshopped images, animated GIFs, and short videos, and they often reference popular culture, current events, or trending topics. Memes have become a significant part of internet culture and are often shared on social media platforms, blogs, and websites.

Memes lend themselves well to inside jokes and the forming of cultural groups because you have to get the meme’s cultural reference to find it funny, and it usually has some more complicated meaning packaged into the simple idea it conveys through some known template or cultural reference.

Meme lords are the new generation of digital entertainers, entraining their fans with short clips and images that riff on the politics and topics of the day. The flexibility and versatility of memes make them suitable for any message, as long as the tone and timing is right. Memes unite sub-cultures across the web and some are broadly recognized enough that brands and businesses can join in the fun to connect with savvy digital natives in their orbit.

How to Use Memes in Your Marketing, MemeSpeak : How to Use Memes in Your Marketing, Signal Interactive

Features of Successful Memes

There are millions of memes on the internet, but not every meme gets the maximum attention and goes viral. Several factors determine the popularity of a meme. The meme culture is one of the only community’s most random and rampant cultures. But some key similarities determine the success of a meme. As we consider how to use memes in your marketing, we should note that a successful meme needs to focus on the following key factors:

  • Human-oriented: the most successful meme starts with a human, preferably a meme content creator, and not a brand or a brand marketer. Brands should only use memes that are already viral and created by meme content creators.
  • Culturally relevant: memes are based on popular cultural ideas or topics which are trending. The meme should capture the present popular culture, entertainment, politics, and other popular issues in a funny and insightful way.
  • Socially validating: viral memes can appeal to and validate shared emotions and memories of the online community.
  • Emotionally arousing: content triggers different emotions. The meme content you create should trigger certain emotions from different viewers. Most viral memes trigger anger, sadness, desire, joy, and controversy.
  • Inviting and easy to edit: memes are likely to be shared with many people if they can be easily edited and recreated. You can manipulate most viral memes easily, be it the image, text, or video.
  • Community perpetuated: The share-ability feature of memes plays a crucial role in making them viral. A meme that can be easily shared and posted by users on the native social media platforms will likely become viral within hours.

The success of your meme marketing content depends on the originality of your approach, popularity of the meme, and how fast it can be shared on various platforms and create brand awareness. Memes focus on current cultures and events. Hence, your marketing meme must include exciting references for your audience and brand.

How to Use Memes in Your Marketing, MemeSpeak : How to Use Memes in Your Marketing, Signal Interactive

How to Use Memes in Your Marketing

Memes can be tricky to pull off because they depend so heavily on context. It’s vitally important to understand the audience, the reference, and the humor before attempting to join the Meme Game, otherwise you risk being corny or out of touch. However, a well-timed meme in the right context can drive your message home like no other, winning over new fans in the process. Here are some tips for using memes in your marketing without sounding like a Boomer:

Understand Your Audience

Before you start creating memes for your brand, it’s essential to understand your audience’s sense of humor and what resonates with them. What type of memes do they like, and what trends are they following? Conduct surveys or engage with your followers on social media to gain insight into their preferences. Even better, spend time in the places where your customers are chattering and exchanging memes to get a sense of the tone and rhythm of their conversations. Remember, the goal is to connect with your audience, so it’s crucial to tailor your memes to their tastes.

Be Timely and Relevant

Memes have a short lifespan, so it’s important to strike while the iron is hot. Keep an eye on current events, trends, and pop culture, and create memes that are timely and relevant. This shows your audience that you’re up-to-date and in touch with what’s happening around them.

design team no make hatDon’t Be Too Promotional

Memes are meant to be fun and entertaining, so avoid being too promotional with your content. The goal is to connect with your audience on a personal level, so focus on creating memes that are relatable and shareable. Use humor to get your message across, and avoid overtly advertising your product or service.

Netflix is one of the brands which have greatly benefitted from meme marketing. The brand has a comprehensive social media marketing strategy using memes. More than 99% of Netflix memes are created using platform content, ensuring originality and creativity are nurtured and appreciated.

Stay Authentic

Memes are all about authenticity, so it’s important to stay true to your brand’s voice and personality. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, or your audience will see through it. Be true to your values, and create memes that reflect your brand’s personality and culture. Most memes are very low-fi, meaning they aren’t polished graphic designs, they are shoddy and thrown together. The idea is to look amateur and therefore authentic. Keep this in mind when styling your memes to your brand image.

Memes stand out because of their creativity and share-ability across multiple social media platforms. Brands shouldn’t prioritize sharing memes created by other content creators. Instead, they should ensure they add originality to the trending memes. Weaving your brand’s identity, message, and objectives in a trending meme will keep everyone amused while getting recognition. Thinking out of the box will ensure your creativity and originality remain at their peak while communicating your brand using meme marketing content.

Use Memes Across Multiple Platforms

Memes are perfect for social media, but they can be used across multiple platforms. Incorporate them into your email marketing campaigns, blog posts, and even your website. This helps to create a cohesive digital marketing strategy and allows you to connect with your audience on multiple levels. It also allows you to get more mileage out of each meme.


let signal make your dank memes

Become a MemeLord for your Brand

Memes have become a staple of internet culture and are an excellent way for businesses to connect with their audience on a personal level. By understanding your audience, staying timely and relevant, avoiding being too promotional, staying authentic, and using memes across multiple platforms, you can create a successful meme-based digital marketing strategy. So go ahead and embrace the power of memes – your audience will thank you for it.



Wanna Market with Memes?

Have a chat with the Creative Team at Signal Interactive to learn how we can create all of your internet marketing content for the cost of hiring one person to your team.

Sharing is caring!