What is a meme and how do you use it for marketing?

Harrison Jacobs

What is a meme?

A “meme” is a cultural symbol, idea or message that travels virally through our collective culture. Memes have been around forever. Think of any word-of-mouth story, joke, or slang that you have heard or learned over the years. It’s probably a meme. Since the internet came around and information began to travel faster, memes have changed. They spread faster and more frequently. Nowadays, a meme often refers to a running joke centered around an image that people change the text for. To get the joke, you either have to know the joke the meme is referring to or its cultural context, like this one that plays on Laurence Fishburne’s character Morpheus in The Matrix. This meme plays on the idea that Morpheus is always revealing world-changing thoughts. Here he speaks with the same grandeur, only to reveal basic knowledge you might just not have thought of.

Why is this relevant to you?

People love memes. They spread through the internet like wildfire. Remember those Sh*t X People Say videos. It wasn’t long before someone made a Sh*t Photographers say video. Why? Because when a trend starts, everyone wants to get in on it and it can be a useful way to bring people to your social media, blog or website.

How do you use this to your advantage?

You need content. One of the greatest tools to get people to like you in social media (and real life) is to use humor. If you use it well, people love you and will keep coming back for more. Create memes that cater to your demographic. Try to make things they might find funny or relatable and want to share. If you are a wedding and portrait photographer, make memes that have jokes about trying to plan a wedding or trying to shoot one. If your target audience is fellow photographers, make memes that reference an inside joke that photographers would know or a common struggle that photographers experience. Memes are so shareable, they quickly attract interaction such as likes, comments and links, which is exactly what you have been trying to get on your Facebook profile for months.

Here are a few examples I made:

“Desk Flip Rage”

“One does not simply”—This one plays off Sean Bean’s Boromir character in Lord of the Rings who tells his companions, “One does not simply walk into Mordor.”

“Am I the only one around here”— This one plays off John Goodman’s Walter character in The Big Lebowski, who gets famously enraged when people stop following the rules at the local bowling alley.

“Old Lady”

As you can see, there are some that come loaded with some story behind it, while others are based around a simple joke and image that anyone can grasp. It’s up to you which one you want to use.

To start creating your own memes, skip Photoshop and just head to Meme Generator.

If you feel like you need more information on how to use memes to your advantage, follow the link to Hubspot’s blogpost on “Memejacking.” Otherwise, happy memeing!



PDN August 2016: The Fine-Art Photography Issue



Tout VTS


Tout VTS


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