Memes are everywhere. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re impossible to get away from.

Oh, and they’re also enormously popular. Which is precisely why they should become a part of your social media marketing.

What defines a meme?

If you’re more in the habit of looking at memes, rather than understanding them, you might be wondering what exactly makes a meme what it is. Memes are as diverse as they are numerous, constituting GIFs, videos, images, and even just raw text.

Merriam-Webster lists two definitions that help provide some context.

The first one lists memes as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” This definition is important because it highlights the core meaning of memes. In the purest sense, memes have not been a strictly digital phenomena. In fact, the term originated in Richard Dawkins’ 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, long before smartphones and social media had entered our lives.

The second definition provides some further specificity to memes as they traditionally relate to the online ecosystem: “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”

Relevancy is Key

Determining which memes are most likely to resonate with your audience should be your first order of business. The key here is relevancy. There are an infinite amount of memes across the Internet that you might find humorous or entertaining, but not all of them are going to make the most sense for your brand.

Consider what you expect to see from the brands you follow on social media. There are meme accounts on social media that specialize in finding-and-sharing entertaining memes. Brands are a different story. If a brand is sharing a meme, it’s doing so because it’s relevant to both its audience and brand at the same time. Posting a GIF of a funny cat might get some laughs out of a few followers, but if it’s not on-brand, it’s not relevant. And the entire reason people follow a brand on social media is for relevant, curated content.

Finding and Creating Memes

A good website for finding memes is Know Your Meme. There, you can read up on what memes are currently popular, their origins, and other key details. Know Your Meme is incredibly useful for gaining an understanding of memes and meme culture. I highly recommend consulting it whenever you’re thinking of sharing a meme, especially to make sure you haven’t misconstrued the meaning of a meme.

In some instances, you might even wind up creating your own meme. Below, I’ve listed a unique example Target posted a few weeks ago.


This meme works on several levels. If you take a scroll through Target’s Twitter feed, you’ll see that this Tweet is very consistent with Target’s brand. Additionally, it’s humorous and provides relevant information (“there’s a candy clearance tomorrow”). On top of that, it’s shareable (as of this writing, it’s sitting at 238 Retweets).

There are many layers to effective meme marketing. I encourage you to look at what different brands are doing with memes, namely your competitors. Much like the Target post above, try to figure out how each meme relates back to the brand itself.

Digital Marketing With CoGoBuzz

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Does your brand use memes on its pages? Sound off in the comments!