Memes have been a popular go-to for fostering online humor. The term “meme” was introduced into our lexicon 35 years ago by Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist. Dawkins suggested “that ideas could replicate, evolve, and enter popular culture” in the same way genes spread!
A meme typically combines an image, photo, or video with a tagline and is usually funny or ironic. Its small file size makes it easy to share and post on social media sites. The prevalence of memes is astounding; Instagram reports that 1 million users share memes every day.
Can real estate professionals use memes to share branded content? From Gucci to Jet Blue and Uber, many major companies have used professionally developed memes to promote their brands. And you could, too. However, always remember that humor and irony can be a slippery slope as what is funny to some can sometimes offend others.
That said, memes can be used by real estate professionals to engage your audience and compliment your other marketing and promotional activities.
By nature, memes are intended to go viral – or be widely shared. However, a meme’s success depends on how well it connects to your sphere of influence: your clients, friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and prospective customers. In addition, it needs to be meaningful enough to earn attention.
Therefore, when you create a meme, you need to think first about your target audiences and what would compel them to share your meme with others.
Here are 6 ways to create memes that have the potential to go viral.
- Make your memes relatable: A vital component to a meme’s success is that your audience should instantly understand it. Take the time to review what your friends and family are posting and sharing on their social channels. Do you see a repetitive theme or subject? Is what they are mainly sharing related to popular culture? Do they share humor? Do they share memes? What can you discern about their core values? What content do they appear to be passionate about, and what themes resonate with them? This understanding can help you create ideas that are more relatable to your audience.
- Evoke an emotional response: A meme should generate an emotional reaction, whether it provokes their curiosity, makes them feel elated or even gets a chuckle out of them. When creating a meme as part of your marketing efforts, think about the kind of emotion you want to appeal to with your meme content. It takes an instant and significant emotional response for a meme to be widely shared. Therefore, playing to your audience’s emotions is needed to compel them to share your content digitally with others.
- Use powerful visuals: Memes are essentially rooted in visuals. The memes that are shared the most are the ones that make a powerful first impression. Therefore, it’s essential to keep the visual image you use simple and contain a healthy balance of information, offering hope or humor. Super short videos or animated gifs also help earn consumer attention if you pick the right content. For ideas on memes, check out KnowYourMeme, a searchable internet meme database.
- Take advantage of online tools: While you can use software programs such as Adobe Photoshop to create your memes, other online tools are available that simplify the process of creating a meme. For example, Imgflip is a popular online meme generator that offers a variety of images to use and allows you to add text to the photos. You can also customize the text’s font, which is often a significant component of a viral meme. Canva offers free and paid accounts and is another popular online image editing tool that provides plenty of templates to make memes in just a few clicks. It also allows you to download memes for uploading in various file formats, including PNG and JPEG.
- Share memes at the right times: A critical part of viral marketing is timing. That means you must be up to date with the latest trends that currently are engaging your audience. If you find a locally relatable hot topic, you should strike while the iron is hot and create a meme that relates to that topic. Your network is more likely to share your meme broadly when the subject is topical. Over-posting – creating too many memes in a short of a period – can work against you and reflect poorly on your brand. That’s because it’s not easy to create memes that go viral.
- Branding your meme: This can be tricky, as most real estate marketing tends to brand its content aggressively. For a meme to go viral, however, subtly is the key to acceptance. You can build in a small source line and sometimes even a tiny logo, but it can’t take away from the meme, or that will defeat its purpose. Remember that even when you create and share unbranded memes, being known for creating and sharing positive memes reflects positively on your personal brand. Creating ironic or humourous memes that promote a positive idea related to the real estate business can be an excellent fit for your marketing strategy.
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