In the last couple of weeks, your Facebook page may have been awash with lists of peoples names accompanied by a very simple caption. Something like this:
If you’ve never seen these and still have no idea what a meme is, heres a really quick lowdown. Memes are humorous captions attached to a very simple picture or video. They effectively have no purpose, but they make people laugh and have taken social media by storm. This most basic form of meme is at the height of its popularity. However, are they just a bit of a laugh or could there be a little more to them?
Firstly, lets be frank, some of these memes are very funny. They are generally made by young people, for young people. When these memes are posted, young Facebook users mention friends who's names appear on the list, essentially starting a snowball effect where the post spreads like wildfire throughout social media.
Now, this is where the article gets interesting. Behind all of the jokes, these memes may actually have a serious strategic purpose. Marketers understand the way that young people engage with memes and understand that when they (and their friends) relate to its content, they will mention others and the post will gain traction. For brands, this presents a significant opportunity to engage with social media users.
These name list memes also represent a fantastic opportunity for brands to reach very specific demographics. Think about it, with just a name you can target a specific gender, age group, ethnic origin and in some cases; social class.
The simple use of different names is key to the strategic success of these memes. By featuring names that were more common in the 60s brands can target a middle aged audience, featuring names common with 90s kids targets a millennial audience. Male names mean that more men will be exposed to your brand whereas female names mean that women are more likely to be mentioned alongside your content. Names that are popular in the UK exposes your post to a UK audience where Eastern European names mean that a majority Eastern European audience will interact with your post.
Engagement is what all brands aspire to within the social media space. These name list memes present a clever strategic opportunity for marketers to promote engagement amongst a very specific demographic. They may just seem like a joke but next time you’re mentioned on a meme list, take a look; are you being mentioned for a reason?