How To Incorporate Memes Into Your Content (and Not Be Tacky)

social media PR firm

When working with a social media PR firm, of course you want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.  It’s common that clients will ask, so what’s trending right now?  In reality, so many of the “big trends” that we see are actually memes!  But aren’t memes kind of cringe? Honestly, it depends on how you use them and how your client wants to relate to their audience.  Now remember, the memes from the 2010s are not the same memes that we see today.  So how can we successfully incorporate memes into our content as a brand (but obviously not be tacky)?


Why Memes? 

Memes are a powerful marketing tool (not just because they’re funny), but it shows that a brand is relatable.  And as a social media PR firm, we strive to create content that’s relatable with our audiences.  Nobody wants to be served forced content that feels like an ad.  Memes not only feel relatable to your audience, but also sparks a lot of engagement through discussion, sharing, and even re-purposing. A good example is Chipotle’s Instagram which is primarily memes!  Even Netflix uses memes as part of their marketing strategy even to the point where they now have another Instagram page (@netflixisajoke).  However, the type of memes and how often you use them can really depend on your client’s brand and how they want to appear to their audience.  


Identify Your Audience

As entertaining as memes are, they act as a universal language to uncover shared experiences or knowledge.  But with anything that we do in PR, we first need to identify the target audience for your client AND what audience different memes resonate with.  Memes today can be in the format of a photo with text, video trends, and even audio clips.  Our job is to know the audience that they all resonate with because a meme that Gen Alpha likes will widely differ with Gen Z or Millenials.  On TikTok, you’ll find a ton of videos that deep-dive into “millennial humor” versus “Gen Z humor”.  Understanding the key differences and the nuances between the two can really make or break how your memes land with your audience.  Using humor that would resonate more with millennials can work so well with millennials but likely will not resonate with Gen Z.  So if you’re trying to relate more to Gen Z, what memes do they find funny versus ‘cringey’? 


Timing Is Everything – Stay Up-To-Date 

And of course you need to stay up-to-date.  The last thing people want to see is an outdated meme on their feed (unless it’s resurfacing of course).  Memes that are more current are more likely to gain more traction and engagement than something that’s outdated or not “the vibe”.  Using trending memes also show that our clients are relevant online, and can feel more approachable from a company.  

At the end of the day memes are great for gaining exposure for our clients.  But as a social media PR firm, we always have to keep in mind if it fits their brand voice.   And if it does fit their brand voice, then remember that the purpose is to gain exposure and stand out online, not advertise.  Finding the right balance with all of the key points will help you to incorporate memes into your content without coming across as too tacky!  


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