With my blog, I try and answer questions I’m asked regularly from clients and prospects.  I talked to someone recently about memes and, when the person mispronounced the word, I thought this would be as good a time as any to educate all of you about the videos and photos you see regularly posted by your friends and family on social media. Memes have become the fastest and easiest way to get viral attention on social media for people and businesses alike. If you’ve ever seen a photo of Gene Wilder or “the fist pumping baby” with various messages written over top of the image, that content falls under the category of meme.

The word meme has actually been around for quite some time.  While the modern way it is being used has only been around for a short period of time, according to Wikipedia, the word was first introduced in Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book “The Selfish Gene.” Often used in a way to lock established beliefs and ideals, memes are a great way for your company to establish a humourous connection with your audience.

In term of your business, maybe not necessarily mocking your audience and competition, but taking into consideration the process you and your team undertake daily, throwing one out that pokes fun at yourself for some of the practices you have in play for example, can help you connect with people by introducing them to your world a little. Just as in any conversation, which is really the essence of social media for business as you get to consistently converse with your target audience, injecting humour is one of the best methods of sustaining a pleasant and rewarding relationship.

Another falsehood regarding memes is the fact that they consist of only images.  Various videos over the years featuring “planking,” Toronto’s own Drake dancing in his Hotline Bling video, and even the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge are all examples of video memes that have taken the internet by storm. While the initial videos themselves were just shared as content, video memes can be a way to repurpose content to get a laugh from viewers.  At there basic level, these videos had one reason for existence.  After some more creative people on the internet got hold of them, they became different entities altogether which produced hilarious content AND huge viral success for those who made them.

And at the end of the day, that’s exactly what you’re looking for when introducing memes to your social media strategy.  Having your brand name attached to something that brings joy to audiences can provide extremely positive results to your overall engagement numbers. While the warning of avoiding potentially offensive content remains, just as it always does, navigating through the world of generating memes is a strategy your social media manager should already be implementing. Whether humourous or inspirational, memes provide quick content to digest and that’s a staple among the very best content social media has to offer. By being at the forefront of that trend, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from others in your field by taking advantage of the creativity of your staff and/or social media manager.