What is a Meme, Anyway?
A meme is a piece of content that's used to convey a relatable sentiment to an audience. This can be anything from a pop culture moment, like this iconic interaction between Emma Chamberlain and Jack Harlow, or a video of a cat sitting like a human.
For your brand or business, that means leveraging these moments to join in on global conversations. Memes can be videos or static images, but typically, they feature some text personalized to your specific point of view. They're great because they're universally understood and easily adaptable to any niche.
How Do Memes Work as Part of a Content Marketing Strategy?
To prove that memes really can be a viable part of your content strategy, let's break down one of our highest-performing viral memes. So you might have seen this viral video going around of Drew Barrymore running and dancing in the rain. It's a work of art, if I do say so myself. Our social team saw this video popping up a lot on Instagram and Twitter and thought, "This has really good viral meme potential."
First, we had to think about what emotions this video conveyed: Joy. Excitement. Relief. Fun. Then we thought about how these feelings could relate to our audience, mainly social media managers, small businesses and creators.
After that, we asked ourselves, what are some moments working in social media specifically where we would feel any of those emotions? And eventually, we landed on this. ("Me when someone actually clicks the link in my bio".) Not only was this a relatable topic for our audience, but it also gave us an opportunity to showcase the value (and shamelessly plug) of one of our Later product features, Link in Bio.
Plus, the analytics prove it. This video meme got over 68,000 views and over 189,000 impressions, with more than 75% of those being non-followers. That means we're landing on the Instagram Explore page or popping up as Suggested Content, which is a great way to gain new followers and build your community.
In general, this is the process we follow to source and brainstorm our memes that we then end up using on Instagram Stories, videos and static posts. So let's get to it. How can you make Instagram memes that go viral?
Step #1: Find Inspiration Online
Viral memes don't just fall from the sky. You have to know where to look.
One of the easiest ways to get in the meme mindset is by following Instagram pages like @sainthoax, @mignonettetakespictures, and @sarcasm_only. We also recommend keeping an eye on entertainment and celebrity accounts like @Deuxmoi, who are always on top of trending pop culture moments.
Once you've found a meme or a photo with meme potential, it's time to start brainstorming. A little pro tip: start interacting, saving, and engaging with memes you come across on your feed and Discovery pages. Not only is it a great way to have some inspiration in your back pocket, but it's also key to teaching your algorithm exactly what content you're looking for. So less searching, more memes falling into your lap.
Step #2: Make the Meme
Let's talk about creating static memes. Once you've sourced your meme, it's time to establish your personal twist. Like we mentioned earlier, think of creative ways you can spin a meme to be targeted to your specific audience, whether that be a hot take in your industry or a trending topic.
Then write out your text. The name of the game is simplicity. Don't overthink it. When it comes to creating your meme, never underestimate the power of a meme generator. Sites like ImgFlip, Mematic, and Imgur let you add your own unique spin to an existing meme super easily.
At Later, we like to stick with Instagram fonts, our brand colors, and use our own branded templates so that our audience can recognize a Later meme whenever they see one.
Use Instagram Fonts
If you want to recreate a simple meme like this using Instagram fonts, head to your Instagram app and go to create a story. Then take a photo of anything and fill the background with white by tapping on the three dots in the top right, selecting Draw and holding your finger down anywhere on the screen.
Then, type out the text you'll be using on the meme one by one. Choose a font color that aligns with your brand and be sure to toggle on a background. Then, just click on the three dots in the top right corner again and hit Save.
Erase the Background with Magic Eraser
Now we need to remove the white background and swap it with a transparent one. To do this, download the Magic Eraser app, tap Photo, upload your text image, crop it down, and hit Done.
Then, tap anywhere on the background and click Save. You can then hit the PNG option and download the high-resolution version.
Edit the Meme with Canva
Now, use a photo editing software of your choice - let's say Canva - upload your meme and all of your PNG text images and place them throughout your meme. Once your artwork is complete, export your image and upload it to Instagram. And just like that, you've created your first static meme.
You can create video memes with moving text in a similar way, but lucky for you, we've got a whole video tutorial on that too, right over here. For more tips and tricks on how to make memes and best practices, we'll link our full blog post in the description box below.
Catch you later, and may the memes be ever in your favour.