The Problem with Meme Marketing

Oreo released a campaign via its twitter that left its users less than satisfied.

The tweet featured images of milk and cookies between the pages of a book with text saying, “Don’t have a bookmark? Try using OREO cookies and milk instead.”

At this time, the post received 10.2K retweets and 32.9K likes. However, many of the comments are from outraged booklovers and trolls from competitive cookie companies.

It’s clear to see that Oreo missed the mark, but then again, here I am talking about it, right?

What exactly is the cookie co promoting in this campaign? Are they expecting livid literature lovers to combat reckless teenagers in a battle for the books?

The only thing Oreo is making loud and clear is their desperation. Companies are trying too hard to create viral content and edgy promo.

Recently, memes have been making marketing enjoyable again. It’s guerilla marketing, plus comedy, and it isn’t invasive like other traditional channels. It’s what the kids are into… right?

Memes are perfectly tailored to social media platforms and easily shared, hence the viral success!

But the old people are onto us.

Many clients and companies are now asking for “viral content.” Let’s put this in words they will understand… AS IF!!

As much as you wish there were some magic “go viral” button, that’s not how it works.

I can understand the flashiness of viral content and memes; it seems like the ultimate victory, right? An endless loop of engagement, rapid audience expansion, and delivering your message to the masses all while saving big bucks. 

Unfortunately, you can never guarantee the results of a social media campaign. There is no formula for viral success, and it’s essential to consider the following:

  • shelf life (here today, gone tomorrow)
  • backlash (Oreo in the example above)
  • misinterpretation (your message may get poorly photoshopped by other consumers)

But hey, that’s show biz.

Instead, a thoughtful, long term social media strategy may be best. Here are a few things to consider for your brand’s bulletproof social media strategy:

  • Compelling Content

Content is King. No matter how much money you spend boosting your posts, successful social media marketing is impossible without strong content. Your brand can come off as inauthentic if you’re obviously chasing viral achievement. Don’t miss the mark. Aim for powerful, compelling content that your audience can’t help but share.

  • Timing

Timing is Everything. Have you ever posted the most fire selfie and received an inadequate number of likes? That’s what happens when you post at the wrong time. Strategic timing goes beyond hours; it can apply to days of the week or even months of the year. Insights on social platforms are easy to read and should be used appropriately. Don’t waste your content on the sleeping demographic!

  • Adding Influencers

Influencer Magic is what I like to call it. Refer back to why memes are so successful (nontraditional, comedic relief, casual) and apply it here. Influencers take product placement to the next level. These social media stars have a huge network of followers, and by placing your brand in their feeds, you can spread your message and build brand awareness.

Sometimes, the stars align, and your funny ad gets the attention of all the right people. But even then, if the rest of your promo isn’t compelling, you will inevitably lose the hype.

Going viral and achieving lasting success don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Viral content is often fleeting while thoughtful, compelling content and engagement ensures audience growth and brand recognition.

Those are much more valuable in the long run. Take the realistic steps towards long-term social media success with the above strategy.

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