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How to Use Instagram Memes to Increase Engagement

Instagram memes taking over your feed?

That’s because this year’s biggest trend is using memes to boost your Instagram engagement, and brands quickly jumped on board!

What was once reserved for Instagram meme account, brands today are realizing the power of Instagram memes, especially when it comes to building brand identity, driving product interest, and increasing engagement.

In the following post, we look at how you can get involved and use Instagram memes for business:

instagram memes

What are Instagram Memes?

What makes a meme a meme? Does it have to be funny? Clever? Pop-cultural? Some combination of the three?

While most of us will immediately recognize a meme when we see one, nailing down a definition is surprisingly difficult to do.

In the broadest sense possible, a meme is any piece of media that passes from person-to-person on the internet. They usually have some kind of cultural relevance, they’re often funny or clever, and they typically feature a combination of text and imagery (this can be a photo, a GIF, or even a video):

But while they may be difficult to define, there’s one thing that’s for certain: memes are really popular on Instagram — like really, really popular.

In fact, some of the biggest, most engaged accounts on Instagram exist for the sole purpose of creating and sharing memes. We’re, of course, talking about accounts like @fuckjerry, @ladbible, and @mytherapistsays — all of which have over a million followers.

View this post on Instagram

I’ll open you one day I swear 🥬

A post shared by By Sarah Merrill (@bigkidproblems) on

But that’s beginning to change.

In the last year or so, brands and businesses have also started jumping on the meme bandwagon, breaking away from the highly curated feeds of 2018 in lieu of something a little more authentic and way more fun:

instagram memes

It was really just a matter of time — memes are meant to be relatable, relevant, and highly-shareable so they’re perfect for building brand engagement.

But there are tons of different business uses: everything from sharing brand identity and values to driving product interest.

 

How to Use Instagram Memes for Business

As we’ve already mentioned, because they’re so shareable, posting a funny or relevant meme can earn you a ton of likes, comments, shares, and saves.

In fact, Later’s most-commented Instagram posts of all time was a Britney Spears meme that we posted when Instagram’s servers went down.

Wondering how you can incorporate memes into your own account? Here are a few great examples:

Instagram Memes #1: Promote Your Brand Values

There’s no denying that Instagram is still a very social place. And people want to follow accounts that they can relate to, regardless of whether it’s a brand, influencer, or something else.

So it’s important to make your Instagram account as relatable as possible and really show off what your business is all about! And memes can be great for this.

Take @ritual for example. The modern vitamin brand often posts fun, pop-cultural memes that show off its ethos and brand values — all while engaging their audience in a relatable way:

View this post on Instagram

*What like it’s hard?*

A post shared by Ritual (@ritual) on

The same is true for @curology — they often use memes to build brand affinity with their audience while tying back to their values:

What’s great about this style of Instagram meme is that anyone can do it! All you have to do is find the right photo, video, or GIF, and build a message that captures your identity and vision, and helps make your brand memorable (bonus points if you can make it funny!). 

Instagram Memes #2: Share Viral Tweets from Your Community

As we mentioned in our top trends of 2019 post, one of the biggest (and strangest) design crazes to hit Instagram this year is using the platform to share screenshots of viral Tweets. 

Meme accounts like @daquan and @thefatjewish have been doing it for years, but the big surprise is that brands are now jumping on the trend too!

View this post on Instagram

Self-confidence is the best filter ✨💖

A post shared by PrettyLittleThing (@prettylittlething) on

The community aspect that we love about this trend is that it isn’t just brands reposting their own Tweets on Instagram — they’re also finding Tweets from their community that reflect their brand style, attitude, and messaging so it appeals to their Instagram followers too!

Of course, whereas meme accounts are happy to share screenshots as is (aesthetics don’t matter quite as much in comedy), businesses and influencers are taking it a step further and adding on-brand backgrounds to their posts.

Check out how Later did it with a simple color gradient as a backdrop to keep up our aesthetic: 

Instagram Memes #3: Promote Your Products

Because they’re often funny or clever, memes don’t usually feel like an ad or promotion for a product — so they can be a great way to “soft promote” your products without being in-your-face about it.

Furniture brand @burrow does this really well. They often share playful memes that entertain their audience while drawing attention to their product in a peripheral way:

While Instagram is definitely growing as a sales channel, as a business, your goal should be to post content that engages your audience rather than simply promoting your products — and one of the great thing about Instagram memes is that they can do a little of both! 

Check out how @meundies does it:

View this post on Instagram

Feelin' cute 🙃⁠⠀ #MeUndies

A post shared by MeUndies (@meundies) on

These memes offer a more “indirect” way of selling that’s perfect for Instagram because they don’t come across as too inauthentic or salesy. 

Instagram Memes #4: Make Them Timely

Instagram memes are also great for sharing relevant, timely content that relates back to your brand and audience.

Take @rocketsofawesome — the apparel brand for kids often shares laugh-inducing memes that are highly relevant and timely:

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But who’s counting… 👀😬

A post shared by ROCKETS OF AWESOME (@rocketsofawesome) on

@bustle is also great at this, often sharing timely memes for important holidays:

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tag someone who gets it 🎃👻

A post shared by Bustle (@bustle) on

Instagram Memes #5: Entertain Your Audience

Having a business-central goal in mind is great, but you can also share Instagram memes for the sole purpose of entertaining your audience.

Take @glossier for example. They often post cute and hilarious memes that are just that — cute and hilarious!

View this post on Instagram

The more you know!

A post shared by Glossier (@glossier) on

Sharing these kinds of memes is great way to show your followers you’re approachable and that there’s a real human behind your account.

So the next time you’re in a pinch for something to post, consider pulling up an entertaining meme — your audience will love you for it!

These are just a few ways that businesses can use memes on Instagram! Just remember that while they’re fun and super-versatile, it’s important to stay on-brand with the Instagram memes that you post.

Try to find memes that deliver value to your specific audience — or are highly relatable to even a small portion of your audience!

Ready to start curating and sharing UGC to Instagram? Join Later to easily find, schedule and post user-generated content to your social feeds!

Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.