Hijacking: From News to Memes

Hijacking: From News to Memes

Breaking news generates a lot of buzz on social media. When there’s a trending topic, it’s easy for brands to weasel their way into the conversation and make themselves relevant to us. Have an opinion about pineapples on pizza? Jump into the conversation and fans will naturally react to you. This phenomenon is also known as “newsjacking”.

However, in today’s age of media 2.0, topics can get so viral to the point of reaching meme status. Simply put, a meme is an idea or concept that is typically humorous in nature, that can be shared rapidly on the Internet. With this, the aforementioned ‘debate’ could also be considered a meme, as people all around the world were joking about the topic and adding in their own personal opinions about it.

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Following the rise of memes, some users have even created calendars noting down every meme that has appeared each month. Maybe it’s time to rethink “newsjacking” as “memes jacking”. After all, not all trending topics come from news. In this article, we’ll share with you the importance of memes and some handy ways to make use of them to get people noticing your brand.

Why should we bother with memes?

While it’s easy to talk about trending news, not everyone wants to see you talk about political issues, even if these news are dominating your Twitter feeds with their hashtags. In most cases, it’s hard to find a way to make your brand relevant to the topic. The last thing you want people thinking is,

“So what does this have to do with your brand?”

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With memes, you can jump on the bandwagon without touching sensitive topics. As memes use templates to deliver the punchline, all you need to do is tweak the content to suit your brand. A quick look at how Denny’s, an American diner, switches up standard images with their own shows how brands can easily “personalize” their memes. While it’s easy to make a meme, things may not always go right. Here are three things you should take note of:

1. Use what’s relevant to you and your audience.

There’s no point in using a meme if your audience can’t relate to your brand message. In an article about brand identity, Shiva Nandan mentions that better brand loyalty comes from being consistent with customers’ expectations of you. Rewind back to 2013, when US Department of Health and Human Services tried to promote Obamacare using the infamous Doge meme. Not only did they use the meme wrongly, but also failed miserably because of how misaligned it was with its reputation. Lesson learned!

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2. Get the meme right.

Save yourself the embarrassment from trying too hard to pick up a meme. Marketers often try to utilize memes to connect with their younger audiences, in a way that doesn’t even make sense. Using them excessively can also wear your audience out, especially when they’re presented in an unnatural, cringe-worthy way.

With that said, you can save yourself from trying too hard by referring to this Internet meme database that tells you everything you need to know about memes.

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3. Use new memes, not old ones.

There’s nothing worse than bringing back rage comics at a time when no one laughs at them anymore. Much like old news, it’s likely your audience will pay no attention to memes that have been recycled one time too many. Furthermore, the only reason you’re using memes is to tap on their virality. Using an old meme is like trying to dig up a topic that was trending years ago, so keep that in mind!

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Can’t grasp the concept?

When all else fails, you can play it safe and immerse yourself in the ‘meme culture’ until you become a true pro. If you’re an avid social media user, all the experience you need can be gained simply through browsing the Internet, as there are countless of pages dedicated to just posting memes. Scrolling through these pages can give you an idea of how to use them, and slowly find them funny as well. Of course, in the world of marketing, it’s not so easy to get into your audience’s minds; it’s hard to tell what they like. Need a hand? Feel free to drop us a message and we can share our insights!

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