As web marketers, we’re generally expected to have a firm understanding of the web and how it works. While we may not know everything there is to it, it’s definitely a good idea to familiarize ourselves with as much of it as possible lest we lose credibility from our clients and peers. One of those areas which I feel web marketers should spend more time on is the use of well known internet memes, specifically the ones with repeatedly-used photos and captions such as Advice Animals. In my opinion, there’s nothing more embarrassing for web marketers than incorrectly using memes. I have unfortunately seen this type of meme misused too many times.
Though I’m certainly not claiming to be THE expert with the use of internet memes, I know a thing or two after spending countless hours on Reddit and Imgur. Being on those sites have also shown me how damaging it can be to erroneously use them. While the consequences of doing so for most users would only affect one’s karma and/or reputation, in addition to one’s inbox, the consequences could be much more severe for businesses. To help you avoid this pitfall, here’s a quick look at some of them and how you can properly use them should you wish to.
The Most Interesting Man in the World
Based off the iconic Dos Equis ad, this meme usually starts off with “I don’t always…” in the top caption and “But when I do…” in the bottom caption. Compared to other memes, the use of this is rather liberal. It can be used to broadcast both achievements and failures, or simply comment on everyday occurrences. For example, it could go “I don’t always lose a client, but when I do, I get two new ones.”
Good Guy Greg
This meme is generally used to depict an act of kindness that one has come across. The top caption is usually used to describe an action taken by the “Good Guy” and the bottom caption describes the good deed that was performed by this person. For guest posters out there, you could create one that goes, “Reads your guest post pitch – Explains why they’re denying it, gives you suggestions, and invites you to resubmit it.”
As the antithesis of Good Guy Greg, Scumbag Steve is used by users to vent their frustrations regarding the acts of someone else, whether it be to them or others. The top caption usually depicts an observation made by the person while the bottom caption explains the course of action taken. On a side note, I hope that none of you are the “scumbag” referenced above.
What You Can Learn from Them
Even if you don’t have any clients who would be keen on using such content on their social media accounts or their website, you can still learn a lot about from how these Advice Animals work and why they can work so well and apply them to various areas of web marketing.
Keep it Short
In order to get your main point across, it’s important to keep things as short as possible without damaging the quality, especially since people’s attention spans are getting shorter. Doing so also allows you to ensure that they get the main message.
Stay Casual if You Can
Unless the industry is one where you have to be formal, such as law and finance, remember that you’re probably communicating to someone browsing on their couch after work or at a coffee shop waiting for their name to be called out. Get in their mindset so you can communicate with them and not communicate at them.
Images and Design Go a Long Way
Without the images, the captions wouldn’t be as effective as they convey emotions and context that text sometimes cannot. Use these to your advantage.
Original Content is King
New may not always be better, but for this, it’s much better. In addition to SEO reasons, you shouldn’t repost content. While you might be able to get away with it with a few, it could come back and bite you and cause you more problems than coming up with original content. People will notice, and it won’t look good for you, your site, or your inbox.
Try to be Funny
People like sharing things that are funny. While that’s no surprise, it’s something that marketers don’t always take advantage of. For example, if you have a roofing client, you could have a single-panel comic where a homeowner has created an incredibly complex system to deal with leaks when it rains. It doesn’t have to make people fall out of their chairs as a small laugh or even a smile can go a long way.
Happy meme making!