We’ve all used a grumpy cat, Kermit the Frog or smart Eddie Murphy to collect some likes and lols on social media before.
But is tossing a carefully crafted and delightfully witty meme on your business social media a stroke of brilliance? Or a major corporate faux pas?
The risks of going for virality with your marketing campaign
You don’t have to look too far to see cases where businesses have gone viral for all the wrong reasons.
Pepsi came under enormous fire recently for its ill conceived advertisements featuring Kendall Jenner serving up cans of cola to protesters.
Needless to say, the general public did not grasp the intended message of ‘unity, peace and understanding’. Instead, the video went viral in a storm of vitriol vented against the insensitivities the advertisement actually broadcast.
Nivea is in damage control over a recent ‘White is Purity’ online advertisement, which was branded racist and even adopted by hatemongers as their own vehicle to share their gutter beliefs.
By clicking post on a meme, it is important to check, double check and check again to ensure your meaning is clear and you are not inviting an unwelcome backlash generated from a runaway train post that can no longer be contained.
Are memes a wise choice for your business?
All risks aside, one should not fear the meme. Why should a millennial with three cans of lager under their belt be the only one to reap thousands of likes on social media from a simple picture and half a dozen well chosen words?
Rick Astley is basically a walking meme himself, and now has a career in 2017 that he would otherwise have never dreamed possible.
Institutions perceived as ‘serious’ have used memes to lighten the mood, with the UK Russian Embassy using Pepe the Frog and the Queensland Police Service regularly dishing up lols to keep the crime-watching public amused.
What are the dos, and the don’ts
Like any other marketing campaign, knowing your audience and your brand is critical.
Is your market primarily seniors? Is your business strongly trying to convey an image of stoic conservatism?
Dropping a wise cracking Kermit the Frog meme may not go down so well.
Use them sparingly as well, soaking every post or article with memes only makes your audience know you are trying to cash in on a trend.
And most importantly of all, use memes to augment your social media content, not replace it.