Q&A: How can I use memes to advertise?

“How can I make sales off of memes??”

That question is quite important.

Photo from memegenerator.net

I work with social media and specialize in the social web, meaning I am up-to-date on the latest trends involving social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Youtube. I research the latest trending topics via the internet, checking to see which video is popular, what memes are circulating, and what people think about specific topics. The internet follows an order of creation. In most cases, things like memes go from 4chan to Reddit to 9gag to Stumbleupon, and finally, to Facebook. What my goals, and other advertising minds like myself, have to do is find ways to incorporate these memes and other popular trends into profits for a business.

Here in St. Louis, I will use Woodard Cleaning and Restoration as my example. My goal is to get as much quality content filling social media homepages and timelines, so that when someone needs the carpet or furniture restoration, they will already be familiar with a company who posts frequent, sometimes comical reminders of the services they offer. We’ve taken many popular memes and simply incorporated Woodard into the meme, showing potential customers that not only is Woodard taking advantage of free advertising, but they’re trying to have fun and give consumers something to laugh at.

Lordo’s Diamonds is a local jeweler that I have also personally worked with. Every Wednesday, I post a picture of a cute animal under the title, “Cute Animal Wednesday”. Rarely do I post anything about the company itself, but I still post something that consumers like to see. Is it an advertisement? It lacks a message and a company name, but it did just make you interact with the company’s social media. That share, like or comment can help bring in customers who normally wouldn’t have seen the page for Lordo’s Diamonds, all because of a simple picture or meme.

The key to advertising is to not always be so blunt.

People hate companies who only focus on selling a product. For example, when you see a message to “LIKE or SHARE this is you want to buy these shoes, only $99.99!!!”, you may like or share it, thinking you can get a deal. However, I have found that direct advertising causes people to eventually turn away from these services. On Twitter, I follow a lot of humorous joke accounts, which I really enjoy. But the minute they stop being original and startn selling sponsor products, I unfollow them.

Memes tend to be funny which is why they become so popular so quickly. As much as it’s not a real life movie, in Monsters Inc. they went around just scaring (directly advertising) the kids so they could collect energy (money). One day, Scully and Mike discover that laughter (indirect advertising/humor post) was more effective and it saved the company from going under.

To really drive home what I’m trying to say is this, humor and indirect advertising will almost always be in favor over directly throwing your product out there.

Written by Scott Criscione – Social Media Specialist.

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