Let’s Make A Meme-ory

Ah, Memes. Wait, what? You don’t know what a Meme is? Well, let’s fix that first, then. According to WikiPedia:

“An Internet Meme is an idea that is propagated through the World Wide Web. The idea may take the form of a hyperlink, video, picture, website, hashtag, or just a word or phrase, such as intentionally misspelling the word “more” as “moar” or “the” as “teh”. The meme may spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, news sources, or other web-based services.

An Internet meme may stay the same or may evolve over time, by chance or through commentary, imitations, parody, or by incorporating news accounts about itself. Internet memes can evolve and spread extremely rapidly, sometimes reaching world-wide popularity within a few days. Internet memes usually are formed from some social interaction (such as rage comic or reaction faces), pop culture reference (such as Pardon the Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser in WHY.jpg, Xzibit in “Yo Dawg,” or situations people often find themselves in (such as “That feel when,” Socially Awkward Penguin, and Futurama Fry / Not Sure If X). Sometimes these categories cross over, as with Futurama Fry, and costanza.jpg, a popular reaction face of George Costanza from Seinfeld. Many memes also come from video games (such as the “arrow to the knee” from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or “Do a barrel roll” from Starfox 64) or the scene from “Downfall”. For researchers it’s hard to track down the birthplace of memes because of their viral nature, as well as the high chance that the meme will spread to major websites nearly instantly.

Their rapid growth and impact has caught the attention of both researchers and industry.[3] Academically, researchers model how they evolve and predict which memes will survive and spread throughout the Web. Commercially, they are used in viral marketing where they are an inexpensive form of mass advertising.

So, what does this mean to you? Well, perhaps nothing. Or, perhaps, it means that you’re now obtaining a basic understanding of your next big – and free – marketing idea.

For, you see, Memes gain momentum dependent upon the strength of the concept put forth. For our purposes, let’s focus for a moment on one of the more prevalent Meme phenomena: That of the photograph.

By itself, a photograph can be fairly mundane. However, if one were to Meme-ifiy it by adding quasi-relevant, humorous text, it becomes a whole new ball game. I’m willing to bet that, somewhere, you have an insane photograph in storage that is just begging for a caption to bring it to life. I know, personally, I have an amazing photo of my Great Aunt that she accidentally took of herself at an up-the-nose-angle while trying to figure out how to use the disposable cameras we offered up at our wedding. If I didn’t love and respect her, I would be all over Meme-ing it. So, how about you? Am I generating any ideas yet?

When it comes to Memes, social media is your most powerful ally. By creating – and imparting – a new Meme via social media channels, you’re tapping into a cluster of friends, family, and acquaintances who have the power to spread your Meme virally across myriad layers of friends-of-friends-of-friends, etc. THIS is where you ultimately want to end up.

So, find a photo. Now, using any software you might have – from MS Paint, to higher-end products, simply add a caption that’s funny. If you’re not funny, I’d be willing to bet that you know someone who is. Another option would be to have a caption contest in your store, or anywhere the public has an opportunity to interact with you.

The important part is to, somehow, tie the Meme back to yourself. This can be done by adding your URL, FaceBook, or other link – and possibly your logo as well – in an unobtrusive area of the Meme photo. The object is not only to entertain, but to get folks to visit the launch pad of this new, humorous, creation, in an attempt to gain a new audience and, hopefully, new business.

And who’s to say you have to stop at just one? In fact, when it comes to Memes, building an audience who looks forward to regular output is a much stronger – and lasting – option. If possible, prepare a number at one time, and release them slowly. I would recommend seeing how long it takes to generate new hits and likes, and gauge it from there. It may be days, or weeks. Whatever you do, don’t wait too long. This will have those once interested individuals scattering for greener pastures. Especially if your target audience is like me, with no attention span and… oh, look! A bird!

So find that photo, get creative, and be funny. I promise that you – and those who enjoy it – won’t regret it.


~ by digitalninjasmedia on August 12, 2012.

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