Why I’m Mad About Memes

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mad about memes

Okay. I’ve had it. And being that it’s been awhile since my Twitter rant I suppose I’m due for another.

I guess (with a very deep sigh and a HUGE eye roll) I can let “Add us to your Interest List so you’ll see our posts!” and other lazy-as-all-get-out marketing slide.

That is, as long as you were only buying into the erroneous hype and not actually believing that you should ask your customers to jump through hoops for YOUR benefit.


The Worst Offenders

What I can’t let slide are of are all of these DING DANG MEMES.

Seriously? That’s your marketing tactic? You think using funny or beautiful images with snarky or inspirational quotes are in some way relevant to your brand, or to your online marketing strategy and are somehow enticing your community to think about your brand when they’re ready to buy?

You think using funny or beautiful images with snarky or inspirational quotes are in some way relevant to your brand, or to your online marketing strategy and are somehow enticing your community to think about your brand when they’re ready to buy?


If you don’t know what a meme is, check this out. And for tips on what NOT to do (and to stop using other dumb marketing tactics),

And for tips on what NOT to do (and to stop using other dumb marketing tactics), ‘Like’ this Page on Facebook.

Hey, if memes ARE relevant to your brand, more power to ya. Your strategy has been handed to you on a silver platter … LUCKY YOU!

My guess is, for most of the people I see using these, all you’re aiming for is a cheap laugh and a stab at getting more shares.

Stop Soliciting Shares (With Stupid Memes)

I get wanting shares since they score high on the engagement scale. But think about your social media ROI.

Do you really believe your audience is sharing your funny meme and saying to themselves …

“WOW. What a great photo with a snarky comment company XYX just posted. I think I’ll go buy something from them today”?


“WOW. What a great photo with an inspirational quote meme brand XYZ shared. They are SO wise. I think I’ll buy something from them today”?

I think not. In fact, I think this rampant meme sharing shows a complete lack of online marketing talent, a complete disregard for your audience and is actually an insult to the intelligence of anyone over the age of 12.

Now, I’ve been known to laugh very, VERY hard at inappropriate jokes meant for twelve-year-old boys. And as I’ve mentioned before, an inspirational quote here and there can really lift the day.

However, if your only shtick (or marketing tactic – GAG!) is to employ meme after meme, I’m quite sure I’ll grow bored – as would anyone of average intelligence.


Use Memes Sparingly

Your content, for the umpteenth time, should be incredibly valuable to your audience; it should solve their pain points and help them keep your brand top of mind – meaning it should be RELEVANT to what you do.

Your content should spark conversation and relationship building; it should be establishing trust and positioning you as the GO TO person/company/place for XYZ.

Sharing a constant barrage of meaningless memes simply can’t do any of those things.

So stop already!


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and social media customer care agency. She's also the author of Conversations That Connect -- a book all about social listening and social media customer care. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on the socials!
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24 Comments. Leave new

  • Oh, I love this! 🙂 And I did NOT know how to pronounce it.

    Thank you for a great start to a busy day! (I liked that Facebook page; it will provide so much entertainment)

    Relevant content is important. Begone, memes!

  • Well, you’ve done it again, another AWESOME post! You know I am right there along with you- aka why I needed to be brainwashed for the last month 😉 Don’t get me wrong I love me some of those hysterical e-cards but you are right…I don’t think about where I saw them. I give it a like, maybe screen shot it and send it to my friends…

    Thank you for this! It needed to be said!

    • Judes, you’re learning a lot these days, huh? Happy that were on this fantastic journey together. 🙂
      PS: I LOVE SomeeCards – I just wouldn’t use them on the B2 page just to garner likes and shares, ya know? There’s a difference between marketing and “online stand-up comedy” (and marketing should take precedence).

  • Tellin’ it like it is! Fortunately, it’s easy to tell pretty quickly after you’ve liked a page if they are guilty of this, and you can go ahead and unlike them. Couldn’t agree more with this.

    You rock.

    • Sometimes, Steve, it has to be done. (And don’t tell anyone, but it feels good to rant every now and again)
      You’re right, it’s very easy to ‘unlike’ a page guilty of these tactics – and I think as people start paring down more of the message they are bombarded with, these will prove as “noise” and people will start to remove them from their News Feed or ‘unlike’ them. I think used sparingly they can be really funny – and some brands CAN actually use them and be relevant (but not many).
      Thanks for your comment!

  • Well said and good rant Brooke! I totally align myself with your facebook snark on what so many are trying to pass off a “successful marketing.” Mostly what I see is many trying to bombard feeds with “HEY LOOK AT ME” crap. Cat photo’s and questions asking generic simplistic things is not what I think of when it comes to creative, yawn! Also, I have grown so tired of those that use their “profiles” for 80-90% of their business, seems a bit like the tail-wagging-the-dog to me.
    …cheap plug coming: I have post (opinion) coming in the morning about the egderank shift and the impact on facebook/business, It may be of interest and I value your opinion…

    • Thank you, Randy! I agree that this tactic is narcissistic – it’s NOT about the audience and more about, “HEY LOOK AT ME … like my stuff, share my stuff, ’cause I need a higher Reach or EdgeRank Score.” I also tend to side with you on using their profiles for business. Facebook separated them (profiles and pages) for a reason.
      I’m VERY interested in reading what you have coming tomorrow morning! I’ll be sure to look for it. Thanks!! 🙂

  • Avatar
    November 14, 2012 4:21 PM

    I just wish you stop holding back and tell us how you really feel. 🙂
    What I really wish you would share is some of those inappropriate 12 year old jokes…Nicely done Brooke

  • YES. I think we may have been separated at birth, Brooke. Well done.
    Jon Loomer recently posted…Survey: Would You Pay for Facebook Page Business Suite Upgrade Package?My Profile

  • LOL and while we’re on the subject, don’t forget the steady stream of TIP OR VIDEO #238 folks are sending through the streams. Really? You have to number them? Do folks really think we are gonna click on VIDEO Q&A #238??? Sheesh!

  • Another thought provoking and excellent post, Brooke! Appreciate your telling it like it is!
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted…DNS Services Invoice Scam AlertMy Profile

  • Ok – I have to admit, I LOVE memes. I usually keep them just to the realm of wack Pinterest fun, but I have been known to toss out a “pinword” or two throughout the month. But I do make sure I pepper them in with quality content! OK – rant away 🙂

    • HAHA! Thanks for your honesty, Carrie. I love them too … PERSONALLY. And when/if they pertain to social business, I’ll use them for B2. However, I do so sparingly. I’m not knocking occasional use at all … more so the marketers out there who use a meme for practically EVERY post (DM me if you want the examples – I won’t call them out here as a professional courtesy). I think eventually the novelty wears off, OR, as we talked about on the strategy blog post, where is the strategy and ROI on putting out meme after meme??? I would LOVE someone to show me how this works in getting people to buy their stuff. 😀

  • Totally love this! There is NOTHING in the ‘social sphere’ that will make me run for the hill whilst madly banging on the unlike button, than a ding-dang meme!!!!! They can be fun in personal sharing but as a marketing tactic (-gag) they are awful!

    • HAHAHAHA! I’m laughing SO hard because you said “ding dang”!!!! Are my southern-isms rubbing off on you, Kerry?!
      Glad someone agrees with me on this one. And the other point I forgot to mention about memes is that WE’VE SEEN IT A MILLION TIMES. So while you think you’re being original – you’re not. 😛

  • Hi Brooke

    This post is hot! How do I know that? Jon Loomer dropped in left his mark in your comment box. 😉

    Joking aside …
    I see way too many pages with WAY TOO MANY memes. It’s an instant and humongous turn off for me. I will confess, though — If I feel a meme is something my fans and followers would find either inspirational or will give them a good chuckle for the day, I’ll share it with them. But use memes as a social media marketing tactic?! No way, Jose.

    The ever lovin’ bottom line for me …
    “Obsessive” and “Excessive” behaviors cause me to run away (fast) in the other direction. 🙁
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted…Out With The Trash And In With The TreasuresMy Profile

  • HAHAHA, Melanie! I know!! I was very shocked and pleased that Mr. Loomer dropped by (I follow all of his stuff – he’s AWESOME – and “walks the walk”).

    I TOTALLY agree on using them every once in a while IF they are relevant. I used one just yesterday on the B2 Page to ask about Facebook Fans (the meme was about Facebook Fans) – you catch my drift.

    I see some Pages out there using them EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I can set my watch by one Page’s cat meme on Mondays … about hating Mondays. I’m laughing as I write this, because that’s how ridiculous it is! You can’t think of anything else clever to say on Mondays?! You have to resort to a cat saying they hate Mondays?! Mindless.

    Thanks for your input, as always! 🙂

  • I had no clue about memes…I tend to write what comes in my head. I never think anything about memes or this is totally overplayed…hmmmm….


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