Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.
At least two-thirds millennials and Gen Z regularly share memes on social media. The only content most likely to be shared are infographics and travel photos. Visual media is currently the most important form of communication. Polls have found that 55% of 13-35 year olds send memes every week and that at least 30% exchange memes daily. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they send memes several times a day.
The question on most marketers’ minds is, “How do I create viral memes?”
If your content can incorporate these five elements, your chances of going viral are much higher.
Related: How to Use Memes to Get More Attention Online
1. Post for your target audience
You don’t necessarily have to treat meme generation like a marketing campaign. Often the best memes arise organically, just waiting to be developed. Any media event can become a popular meme, even news that seems trivial, like President Biden falling off a bicycle. It’s harmless news that is interpreted in hundreds of humorous ways.
Still, it would be best if you had an idea of who this content will appeal to when you create it. It is impossible to predict whether a meme will go viral because its popularity depends on the whims of others. In this vein, it helps to create content that people in your niche will feel emotionally connected to. This is the best predictor of your meme’s success. A good example is the dating app OkCupid which shares relevant memes widely to drive engagement on their social media.
2. Think creatively
The best memes take recognizable content (stills from a movie, images from a major current event, etc.) and give it a new twist that provokes a reaction in people.
In the United States, memes about politics, political figureheads, and inflation are consistently popular. These are topics of constant discussion, so naturally, memes follow. These issues are particularly “memes” because there are many ways to add humor to situations that aren’t humorous.
Flexibility of the mind is the greatest meme-generating tool you have. Meme formats that persist often stem from a new perspective on a movie, news report, or media event. For example, Netflix created an Instagram page, Netflix is a jokewhere their customers share memes, which helps the company gain more audience.
Related: “Bird Box”: breaking barriers in the world of streaming in marketing via memes
3. A genuine sense of humor
The universal love of memes stems from the fact that, as humans, we like to laugh. In today’s society, many people use memes to connect with friends or strangers over something lighthearted like a momentary escape from stress. Trend reports note that 38% of Millennials and Gen Z follow social media accounts dedicated to memes.
Memes should combine online trends with simple, fun text. Humor is subjective, so you can’t always get it right, but memes don’t work without a sense of humor. You need to be able to embrace the absurd and laugh at yourself or a situation to generate memes that others enjoy.
There’s even a neural network called GPT-3 that can use AI and machine learning to generate relevant and fun memes based on just a few words. There are entire meme accounts that create and post content in this way.
Related: Here’s how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing influencer marketing
4. A relatable feeling
Memes have become an essential communication tool thanks to their relatable nature. The right meme has the unique ability to convey an enormous amount of meaning in a single image. Yes, memes are partly used as comic relief, but 36 percent millennials and Gen Z use them to express their feelings, and 28 percent use them when they cannot find the right words to express themselves.
This proves that a viral meme is a relatable meme. In most cases, it’s important to remember that a person is looking for themselves in a meme. They want to see something recognizable in the sentiment conveyed. Gucci was one of the first fashion brands to collaborate with Instagram meme creators to promote the collection of watches.
Related: How to Harness the Power of Internet Memes for Your Business
5. Realistic expectations
You don’t need a huge budget, complicated photo editors, or deep pop culture cuts to create a viral meme. However, you need to understand that creating viral content is always a bit of a gamble.
A meme stays popular until it’s not. There’s usually a big jump and a big drop in the popularity of memes. One thing will be trending everywhere until suddenly something new pops up, and the old meme is now largely outdated.
The spirit of a meme is to evoke feelings of all kinds in a relatable, often humorous way. Not everything will be an instant success and nothing will last forever.
Where will meme culture go from here?
Memes have quietly entered our lives, and now they’re even more meaningful than emojis because they can convey more nuanced feelings. Everyone from the US President to Elon Musk is now part of meme culture (in both cases they share and feature in memes).
Anyone can now create a meme about anything. Many people can earn money by creating memes and gaining followers on Instagram or Facebook. The only problem with these platforms is how the algorithms work. They depend on factors such as the number of subscribers and the “age” of your account.
If your brand account is new, your content may not be highlighted or recommended to others, so growing your account becomes the main hustle rather than creating good content.
YouTube and TikTok have more transparent monetization systems that rely on views, so smaller brands can benefit more by creating exciting and fun content. Other platforms like Yepp share advertising revenue and help users easily create memes and generate revenue from their content.
In the future, we can expect memes to become more ingrained in our communication. With the rise of topics such as Web3 and digital property, memes may become more prevalent in the NFT and metaverse space. For now, the potential of memes is almost limitless.