You’ve probably seen a meme on social platforms. But can you be able to explain in detail, “what is a meme on social media?”
Meme, pronounced as “meem,” is a humorous way of expressing a situation. But what are the characteristics of a good meme, and how can memes benefit your brand?
Here’s a detailed look at how to post a meme and everything else you need to know about memes.
Table of Contents
What Is a Meme?
According to the Oxford Learners Dictionary, a meme is “an image, a video, a piece of text, etc., that is passed very quickly from one internet user to another, often with slight changes that make it humorous.”
A meme is usually associated with an image or video that portrays a given situation in a way that is intended to elicit humor. Memes often relate to existing cultures and are often cultural inside jokes. Most memes are usually shared through social networks.
Further, memes share information in a memorable and fun way. When used as part of a social media campaign, they help humanize a brand by adding personality to it. They also uniquely show a brand’s culture. Since they’re tailored for social platforms, memes also elicit more engagement from the targeted audience.
Where Is the Origin of the Word “Meme?”
The word meme comes from the Greek word “mimema,” which means imitated.
The term was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 bestseller, “The selfish gene.” Dawkins was a biologist, and he used the term meme to explain imitation. Dawkins’s understanding of a meme was an idea, style, or behavior that spreads from one person to another within a culture.
Nevertheless, memes have been used to communicate even before Dawkins coined the term. And over the years, the term has undergone a shift semantically, just like most English words. In today’s age of the internet, memes refer to images coupled with captioned texts that are created, circulated, mutated, or imitated by internet users.
The videos and images that are used to convey the meme messages are often changed and built upon, which results in the evolution of the original meme to something else entirely.
Notably, taking up a trending meme and changing it into a niche-specific meme is called meme-jacking. For instance, the Woody and Buzz Lightyear Everywhere meme has been changed into numerous niche-specific memes.
What Makes a Good Meme?
Who doesn’t love a good meme?
Good memes are hilarious and popular. But what are the most popular memes, and what makes a good meme?
A good meme is one made with relevance in mind. It should also cross-reference popular and interesting topics or events.
Moreover, a good meme is simple, funny, and appeals to your target audience. The more your target audience can understand, relate and appreciate the meme, the more likely they are to share it with their friends.
Let’s now look at the characteristics of a good meme:
1. Has a High-Quality Image Paired with Clear Text
A clear quality image is crucial to making a meme go viral. The image should be bold and relevant such that when the audience sees it, they can tell the meme’s intention. The image and the text also need to work together to create a memorable experience
2. Relatable to the Audience
A good meme is relatable to the target audience. So, know your audience well and come up with a meme that they can relate to. For instance, you can tap into inside jokes made by particular online communities. This way, the meme can create a sense of collective identity.
3. The Humor Is Just Right
When creating a meme, one of the key things is getting the humor right. A good meme should be hilarious first. The more the number of people who can understand and appreciate the humor, the more popular the meme will be.
4. It’s Short and Simple
A good meme is short and simple. It’s also easy to understand and has a punchline. To make it clearer, use an easy-to-read large font for the text. Make the language of the meme as natural as possible. If the text feels out of place or forced, don’t use it.
How to Create a Perfect Meme
Now that you know what makes a good meme, it’s time to try creating one. Here are a few tips that will help you get started.
· Pick a relatable problem or topic – The topic you pick will determine if your meme gets any attention from your audience. Think of a problem that relates to your audience’s everyday life. Next, figure out how you can come up with a fun-packed meme based on the problem.
· Relate the meme to your audience – Don’t use a topic just because it’s popular. Make sure your audience can relate to it. Using topics that your audience is familiar with is the best way to get their attention. Also, ensure your audience can relate to the image and text you use for your meme. The most successful memes are those that cleverly incorporate some essence of the audience.
· Be witty – While you want to make sure that your audience understands the meme, don’t be too serious. Use witty or funny language, as this will make the meme more shareable.
· Create memes off existing ones – if you’re struggling to create an original meme, you can always use established ones that are on Facebook or other social networks. Use existing memes and add your unique spin to them. Rather than create something from scratch, you can leverage a meme that is already successful.
What to Consider When Using Memes
Memes are edgy and fun. If you’re looking to use memes to grow your brand’s popularity, or maybe you just want to create and share them on your social media accounts, you’re in good company.
But before you get started, here are a few factors to consider when using memes.
Be careful with humor – Your memes should be funny but not inappropriate. For instance, don’t make memes out of gender and racial issues. Also, making fun of your customers or audience is a no-no.
Don’t overuse memes – If you’re using social media marketing memes, be careful not to overuse them. Too many such memes will bore your audience.
Ensure the meme isn’t too obscure – The beauty of a meme is the fact that it can be easily understood.
Know your memes – Memes may look simple, but they have a specific lingo. If you don’t understand the meme language, it’s going to be obvious to your audience. If you aren’t conversant with the meme lingo, you can always hire a social media manager who knows how to craft great memes.
Don’t put CTAs or sales language on the meme – The use of too much marketing language on a meme will make it look like an ad.
Check the usage rights – Check the usage rights of the meme’s image or text so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law due to plagiarism or copyright infringement.
Don’t jump in when it’s too late – Every meme has a peak time. Some memes are popular for only a few weeks or days. Using such memes after their peak time will only see them ignored. So, if the meme is no longer popular or it has been used too many times, don’t use it.
Memes are taking over social networks.
If you’re planning on using memes to promote your brand or just as a fun way of engaging your followers, you have to make sure you get your meme game right. Otherwise, you’ll look out of touch.
Fortunately, you have everything you need to get in on the meme action, thanks to this article. So, go on and add some humor to your social media conversations using memes.
Have something to add about memes? Let us know in the comments section below.