The History of Memes and Why We Use Them in Social Marketing
Leeroy Jenkins. Numa Numa. The “I can haz cheezburger?” cat.
Oh, how memes have changed in such a short amount of time. But even as memes are largely associated with the internet, can we really say that they’re actually… new? After all, where did memes even come from? And when?
And, more importantly, how do they factor into your marketing strategy?
The Origin of the Word “Meme”
To find the original origins of our modern memes, we’re going to have to turn around and take a look at Greece. In fact, we’ll be glancing all the way back to Plato and Aristotle, who first coined and defined the term “mimesis” as a concept by which art is imitated, re-represented, or essentially copied.
Generally speaking, this theoretical principle is used primarily in the field of humanities. But not only is mimesis used as a way of describing the anthropological transfer of visual art concepts, it has since branched out and also become prominent in the study of literary criticism.
But how, then, did this seemingly-academic Greecian concept evolve into internet memes as we know them today?
Simple — from mimesis we have the word “mimeme,” or simply, “something which is imitated.”
Then, in 1976, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins published The Selfish Gene, a book from which we can trace back the initial establishment of the word “meme.”
In an effort to describe the proliferation of ideas and trends in a manner similar to that of genetics, Dawkins shortened the term “mimeme” to “meme” so that it would sound closer to the word “gene.”
Thus, he defines a meme as a unit of cultural transmission or imitation.
“Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes fashions, ways of making pots or of building arches,” Dawkins explains. “Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via sperms or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad sense, can be called imitation.”
The 21st Century Meme
With Richard Dawkins, the term we know so well today was officially coined. But the next question, then, is how did it diffuse and become all but synonymous with global virality?
Well, the advent of the internet not only expedited the process by which memes are spread from one individual to another, but the use of memes on social media platforms fundamentally changed the very definition of what a meme is.
“[Internet memes] often take the form of pictures, videos, or other media containing cultural information that, rather than mutating randomly, have been deliberately altered by individuals,” according to Britannica. “Their deliberate alteration, however, violates Dawkins’s original conception of memes.”
Despite this deviation, however, Dawkins himself has affirmed that, while the modern definition of the word “meme” is no longer an exact match to his original 1976 definition, it is still similar enough in that his original premise still concluded that a meme is “anything that goes viral.”
In fact, the final chapter of The Selfish Gene features a passage in which Dawkins uses the metaphor of a virus in order to describe the way a meme functions and is transmitted.
Enter: Marketing with Memes
Okay, so we just recounted historical origins and semantic variations regarding the word “meme.”
But what does this all mean for your company?
“Memes work for brands because they’re designed specifically for social platforms and provide value through entertainment,” Forbes states. “Memes aren’t overly promotional — they make people laugh with a casual reference to your brand.”
In other words, entertainment breeds engagement.
And not only are today’s memes inherently designed to be entertaining but, as memes exist based on the basic premise of imitation and recreation for cultural purposes, they can remain in circulation for long periods of time, thereby enhancing your brand awareness and generating earned media when one’s audience is engaged correctly.
The key, then, is defining what the “correct” usage of memes involves. After all, in order to stay trendy, social media managers and marketers need to:
- Be cognizant of the high rate of meme turnover when strategizing social calendars
- Keep up with breaking news and use emerging memes in a timely manner
- Mind their audience in terms of their interests and demographics
- Be relatable rather than blatantly sales-oriented, particularly for Gen Z and younger Millennials
- And more
Now, is that a lot to take into consideration? Absolutely.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to struggle to stay afloat in the flood of memes and internet trends. Rather, you can pass that responsibility on to the professionals you trust.
Namely, you can pass it to Mad Men Marketing!
Here at Mad Men Marketing, we are rooted in the belief that brands should interact with their customers, not interrupt them. And what better way to integrate that mindset into your strategy with memes? That’s why our team features social media aficionados and research experts who can help you stay on top of the ever-changing landscape of social strategy and trending memes.
So, if you’re ready to learn more, contact Mad Men Marketing today by calling (904) 355-1766!
Marketing Methods And The Merit Of Earned Media
Let’s be honest: you want to see your business’s name on the news, but you don’t want to have to pay to get there. After all, intentional ads are good and well, but journalistic attention is far more likely to bring in the leads you can actually convert, right?
We understand. While owned media and paid media certainly offer their own benefits and have their own place within a multifaceted marketing strategy, there’s another ultimate form of media that brands are constantly chasing after… and possibly without evening knowing its name.
Specifically, we’re referring to earned media.
The Ins-and-Outs of Earned Media
Simply put, “earned media” is any kind of publicity you and/or your brand receives without having to create or pay for it on your own. In other words, that five-star Yelp review? That public praise you were tagged in on Facebook? A passing recommendation of your business from one friend to another by word of mouth?
Those are all examples of earned media.
What’s more, earned media is becoming increasingly commonplace given the continual broadening of the internet, social media platforms, and the overarching globalization of today’s market.
And for you, that means more opportunities to convert customers. In fact, not only do 83% of online audiences trust their peers’ digital recommendations more than that of advertisers’, but “25-40% of all traffic and lead generation comes from earned media,” as reported by Newswire.
How Earned Media Is Earned
“Great,” you may be thinking. “Earned media sounds fantastic but how do I, well, earn it?”
Allow us to present you with a few key methods:
- Develop Exciting Content — When you have cohesive, catchy, and reliable content to share with your audience, chances are they’ll want to share it to their own stories and with their own friends. Specifically, “shareable content tends to be either really useful or really funny, and in the form of a list, infographic, or video,” as suggested by Hubspot. Whether you’re taking a public stand on an issue, unveiling a new innovative product, or simply rebranding for the coming year, you’ll always have the opportunity to develop increasingly exciting content.
- Engage Your Audience — While content provides you with a polished brand presence from the outside, developing your leads from the inside via engagement is what will garner trust.
By responding to and interacting with your audience on your website and social media platforms, you can further build a positive brand reputation that is worthy of more attention. In some cases, this may also include capturing the attention of influencers. Beware, however, as the trick is figuring out how to gain the influencer endorsement without handing over a significant sum of money.
- Attend Live Events — By attending events that are relevant to your brand and industry, you can provide yourself with the opportunity to more literally and physically interact with potential leads.
Try posting photos and videos to your Instagram story in real-time, tagging on-site advocates and attendees, spotlighting your company culture, and generally putting a face to your overall brand name. The more personalized you can make your brand, the more likely your audience is to trust you, gravitate toward you, and pull their network along with them.
Of course, these three methods aren’t necessarily the end-all-be-all for any one business. But they’re three distinct ways of building your brand voice and angling it in a way that individuals are more likely to take note of you.
Earning Made Easy
Developing a strategy for earned media is as helpful as it is challenging. After all, when you’ve effectively earned public attention without spending so much as a dime, you know your overall business is generating both effective products and an authentic presence.
The obstacle, though, is determining how to get there.
“When asked to identify the top three biggest challenges in implementing an earned media strategy,” Cision explained, “60 percent of marketing/communications professionals chose identifying and connecting with key influencers, 52 percent chose measuring financial impact of programs/prove ROI and 42 percent chose creating compelling content.”
But don’t worry — before you begin sweating over the small details, we want to remind you that you never have to develop, implement, or coordinate such a strategy on your own.
Not when you have Mad Men Marketing on your side, at least.
Our team understands that your focus should be trained solely on your existing responsibilities as a leader and entrepreneur. Thus, our services are specifically designed to offer you more than mere media management; namely, we provide creative digital campaigns, social media strategies, research-driven results, and more!
So, are you ready to interact? If so, reach out to Mad Men Marketing today by calling 904-355-1766.
How Online Marketing Strategies Are Evolving Into 2021
So if you’re wondering how 2020 has generated lasting changes in the world of online marketing strategies (and how that might impact your plans for 2021), we’ve got you covered.
Brand Activism, Engagement, and Transparency on Social Media
Constructing Conversations and Cultivating Communities
Did you know that, according to Forbes, approximately 62% of millennial consumers have affirmed they’re more likely to become a loyal customer of brands who interact with them on social platforms?
And not only can this form of relationship-building generate immediate lead conversion, but sparking and participating in these online conversations can attract a wider audience as well as allow you to lead the ever-changing narrative of your brand’s story and identity — particularly when it comes to the matter of values and transparency.
After all, with the rise and diffusion of social movements over the internet in the last several years — such as with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer of 2020 — consumers are becoming more and more invested in whether or not the brands they buy from are taking a stand, be it social, political, or otherwise.
For example, an online survey conducted by Nielsen determined that “a whopping 81% of global respondents feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment,” placing sustainability and environmental activism as top priorities for consumers across various markets.
Social Media? Meet PR
When breaking news emerges and spreads like wildfire or, worse, when your brand or client has a public crisis that needs to be addressed and put out, social media has quickly become one of the most versatile and efficient tools marketers have in their arsenal.
“PR and social media are based on communication, but social media, with its real-time messaging, amplifies your message, allowing PR to be [that much] stronger and more impactful,” Georgetown University reports.
Particularly with the advent of Twitter as a breaking news community and crisis management resource, more and more we’ve seen brands and agencies utilizing social media as their first line of PR defense. And once the 2020 lockdowns and election went into effect, that phenomenon only increased in frequency.
Don’t believe us? All it takes is one glance at any given Twitter account belonging to a politician, regardless of party affiliation. Not only will posting on social media allow them to reach their constituents immediately, but it is also a relatively surefire means of attracting the attention of journalists.
Diving Into the Digital Dynasty
Greater Engagement in E-Commerce
There’s little doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way consumers buy products, and with the continued spread of the virus, that change is likely here to stay. In particular, e-commerce has grown significantly as lockdowns led people to buy products online that they might have otherwise bought in-store during the long-past “precedented” times.
For example, Adobe Analytics announced that, on Black Friday of 2020, online sales had hit a total of $9 billion, thereby jumping up a whopping 21.6% in the span of one year.
But that’s not where it ends — social media wants in on the game, too. According to Business Insider’s projections, over 76 million Americans will complete a purchase through a social network at least once this year, making up approximately 38.4% of all U.S.-based social network users.
Thus, we recommend getting your online store up and running while the new year is still fresh, or at the very least revamping it to be more accessible via your social media channels.
A Continuation of Digital Developments
Did you know that approximately 60% of the global population were internet users as of April 2020? What’s more, 2020 effectively escalated overall digital traffic as a result of the pandemic, thereby introducing about 346 million new users to the internet over the course of about 12 months.
But wait — there’s more. Statista reported an overall 38% year-over-year increase of home data usage between March 2019 and March 2020, meaning more people than ever before are spending recreational time on the internet at home; thus, marketers can more effectively launch campaigns, catch their attention, and capture leads.
Oh, and don’t forget to make way for new mediums in the digital realm. After all, not everybody on the internet is out to read social updates and watch cat videos. Rather, some people just want to listen.
For instance, today, more and more consumers are using their digital devices to access podcasts for educational and recreational purposes. In March of 2020, Edison Research revealed that, at the time, “more than one-third of Americans age 12 and over (104 Million) are consuming podcasts regularly.” And almost a year later, that volume of digital listeners has likely continued to increase.
And we know, we know — we just launched a lot of numbers and changing information in your direction at once, so why not also let us take the lead in helping you adjust your 2021 strategy accordingly?
Here at Mad Men Marketing, we believe that businesses should not only be rooted in a position of interaction (as opposed to interruption) with their audience, but we, as marketing experts, should also specialize in the ever-fluid nature of online engagement and advertising so as to ensure your long-term success and growth.
That’s why we offer comprehensive digital advertising solutions, creative design, and web development services for clients of any industry or market. If you’re ready to interact with your customers (as opposed to interrupting them), contact Mad Men Marketing today by calling 904-355-1766!
Services, Solutions, and Skills: Why Social Media is Integral to Your Marketing Strategy
After the days of shuffling around your “top friends,” adding music to your profile, and seeing Tom’s face consistently popping up across the platform, it’s hard not to laugh a little as we now watch TikToks, monitor political news on Facebook, and plaster our pet photos across Instagram.
That is to say, social media has grown, hasn’t it? And, in that case, shouldn’t your marketing strategy, too?
Saying “Hello” to Social Media
With the advent of the internet came the inherent opportunity for marketers to embark upon the newest advertising frontier. And as the total amount spent on online advertising grew exponentially by the early 2000s, it was only a matter of time before social media platforms began to dip their toes into the waters of online revenue generation, too.
Today? Social media advertising is expected to amass a total of $39.6 billion by the end of 2020, which is approximately 9.4% higher than that of 2019.
Of course, many entrepreneurs today seeking social media glory (or attention, at the very least) may not necessarily find that surprising, seeing as internet users are reported to spend a daily average of 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on social platforms.
Thus, as social media continues to flourish, so, too, will the opportunities for businesses to attract and advertise to new audiences.
It Pays to be Social
While we may have started by discussing the advertising-specific avenues of social media, it goes without saying that these platforms act as more than mere digital billboards for brands. Rather, they act as the venue by which businesses can attract new individuals, thereby increasing their overall rate of exposure.
In fact, according to a 2020 analysis conducted by Hootsuite, “52% of all online brand discovery still happens in public social feeds,” meaning that, on a year-over-year basis, more and more consumers are turning to social media to feed their spending habits.
In fact, this trend is likely to increase in the near future, judging by the current breakdown of active social media usage by generation:
Baby Boomers — 48.2%
Gen X — 77.5%
Millennials — 90.4%
And that’s before we take Gen Z into account. In short, social media isn’t just another avenue for advertising your particular brand or product (though it is that, too)! It also allows you to interact with your audience, rather than interrupting them, thereby increasing your ability to strengthen your brand identity, monitor and track leads, place yourself at the center of the conversation, and more.
Social Innovation and Integration
By integrating social media into your overall marketing strategy, you’re providing yourself with the opportunity to innovate and explore new methods of audience engagement that you might not otherwise have with other forms of traditional media advertising.
After all, social media may be just one cog in the proverbial marketing machine, but it’s also one that continues to grow and thrive as technology and communities develop.
That’s why, here at Mad Men Marketing, our social media team comes equipped with an arsenal of services, including the ability to help you generate effective paid social media and strategize your organic social media!
We understand that your attention should be rooted in the day-to-day responsibilities of running your business, not reading every little social media comment or message that lights up your push notifications. Thus, we don’t just offer social innovation and management, but we also provide you with monthly analytics to clarify your brand’s return on investment, as well as strategize the effectiveness of future social media campaigns.
If you’re ready to interact with your customers (as opposed to interrupting them), contact Mad Men Marketing today by calling 904-355-1766!
The Rise of Social Commerce (s-Commerce)
We've seen companies like Amazon and Facebook transition from a laser-focused CD and movie source and social media network respectively, into multi-faceted money making machines. Amazon has positioned itself as THE online marketplace in the United States and has diversified into other web services like hosting and marketing as well as developing its own distribution infrastructure to the point that it can rival virtually any logistics company and it has its sights set on grocers too.
Meanwhile, Facebook has gone from cool collegiate exclusivity to the most ubiquitous social channel in the world. Recently, Facebook revealed that it would amplify its existing e-commerce ads to account for showcase shopping ads. Just like Google, Facebook is taking advantage of their online resources to help advertisers push more merchandise just in time for holiday shopping. The new ad format allows advertisers to display one main picture with several product images that would, ostensibly, have their own unique landing pages. This gives the potential consumer a broader understanding of what the retailer may be selling and what's specially priced.
Pandora's box is open and there's no going back. Linking a bank account to everyone's personal Facebook page isn't far off and this may raise security concerns all over the world, but for now, social media will undoubtedly see a rise in sell-through, especially with reasonably priced impulse buys. It will continue to command an ever-increasing amount of your advertising budget as their ads evolve in terms of what can be done with them creatively and who can be targeted strategically. Currently, only a few heavy hitters are testing out the new format, but look for a wider roll-out soon with other companies following suit in 2017. Admittedly, I laughed derisively when some people claimed that Facebook was coming for Google. Well, it appears that not only do they want to compete with Google, but with Amazon and Alibaba as well. What's more is that they seem to have the golden touch right now and I wouldn't put anything past them.