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Memes- Should You Be Using Them and Do They Really Work?


MARCH 2016

You’ve heard the term before. And for sure, you didn’t know the exact pronunciation of this word at first.


MEME – pronounced \ˈmēm\


And rhymes with “dream” and “team.”


Like me, you probably loved it then hated it then loved it again – in an endless cycle. And why not? They’re on social media like a swarm of bees. Some of them can be pathetic, it will irritate you. Others can be very witty, you’d want to see another one.


The point is, memes can attract an audience and engage them in a way that reading an article cannot instantly do. It gets easily viral. Something marketers aim that their content does, too.


So why is the meme so popular?


  • It’s a feel-good item – You’d be pressed hard to find a meme out there that isn’t funny – or tries to be. That’s why you’d want to share it.
  • It’s bite-sized – It’s so easily consumable, because of the few words printed (usually in bold letters) on a simple image. So many readers who like skimming through their social media feed can grasp the concept (witty or otherwise) in a very short time.
  • It’s very familiar to you – You’re familiar with the image characters, allusions or references. But even if you’re not, it’s easy to relate to.
  • It’s very shareable – Once you see it, you’d want to look for the social media buttons and share it! It made you chuckle, so share it! It made you cringe, share it! Why suffer alone?



These four reasons can be useful in your content marketing and content 2017.

How do memes help

  • By using memes within your content, you are possibly adding some form of viral-ity. Marketers want to create content that catches their target audience’s attention instantly. That’s what memes do.
  • By incorporating memes into your content, you’re adding a witty image to explain a complex topic or something that will generate an emotional reaction. Whatever you add, you are enhancing your content.
  • By using memes in your content, you can ride on the popularity of a viral meme or create an original one with the same context. You are also reaching a younger audience.


Rules to follow

Unfortunately, there are some rules to using memes. Rules that can give you the right content marketing help. Our content still wants to answer our audience’s queries, remember? We still want to connect with our subscribers and readers. And some audiences may not be so visually attracted to purely memes as content. A few rules to follow:

  1. Back to basics – Know your target audience of your brand for your memes. Most meme lovers are young audiences – millennials who stay online for hours. And remember, most memes are playful or corny jokes. This is fine if your brand is in the “playful” category. Obviously, memes won’t work if your brand is the conservative type or a B2B market for the Gen X and older crowd.
  1. Don’t make it too obvious – If you’re trying too hard to include a meme, readers will notice. They will think you’re trying to get in on a viral meme but wasn’t very successful. Use memes to enhance your content, not overwhelm it.
  1. Be careful with your meme. – Your audience may not have the same wit and sense of humor as you. In effect, they may be offended by your meme. An expert content provider should know the consequences before publishing memes.
  1. Sometimes, less is more. – Don’t overdo it. Like eating too much chocolate, too many memes can make your audience sick. Even if you think your audience will want more of it, still use it sparingly in your content.

Bottom line is, memes are either boon or bane. One thing I learned from seeing all these memes in my entire marketing life: they can really get you hooked. And if you do it the right way, your brand can hook your audience and catch their attention perfectly. But there are no guarantees that using them will give you content 2017 success so be very careful.

The other thing I learned is that majority of the memes out there shows adorable cats with horrible spelling. But hey! They caught my attention!


Annie Ianko

Content Geek

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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