Written by Anna Sonnenberg

November 15, 2019 at 10:43 am

Use Instagram Memes to Increase Customer Engagement (and Share Your Sense of Humor)

 

Should your brand or agency publish memes? Find out why this content performs so well and how you can improve engagement with Instagram memes.

As a photo- and video-based social media platform, Instagram requires eye-catching visual content. But what if the stunning photos and user-generated content just aren’t producing the results your team wants?

Memes could hold the answer to your agency or brand.

Sure, it’s easy to dismiss memes as the funny content you share with your friends over text and chat apps. But it’s that super-sharable aspect that makes memes such great candidates for generating engagement on social media.

Find out why this type of content tends to perform so well and how you can improve customer engagement using Instagram memes.

Why Instagram Memes Generate So Much Engagement

Let’s look at some of the top reasons these posts resonate with social media users.

They have an air of authenticity

Scrolling through Instagram can lead to a seemingly endless stream of pristine products and perfect-looking people. As pleasing as that aesthetic can be, it can quickly appear monotonous to your followers.

Unlike beautifully produced photos, memes tend to look far less staged and much more DIY. As a result, they have the power to stand out and capture your audience’s attention. Instagram memes also tend to appear more authentic, inviting your followers to engage with something relatable.

They inspire tons of comments

If you have a dedicated audience, you can expect them to double tap your brand’s best Instagram posts. But if your typical content rotation includes the same old product photos and lifestyle images, your followers might not have much to say.

In contrast, publishing memes that resonate with your audience tends to provoke comments. Whether you go for relatable or funny, memes have a way of inspiring your followers to chime in and have their say, driving up your Instagram engagement.

They prompt tagging

When you publish truly noteworthy posts, such as breaking news, a new product launch, or a huge sale, you might expect your followers to share your content with their family and friends. But when you publish everyday posts, getting your audience to share your content can seem virtually impossible.

When you post memes that your followers love, however, generating shares can be a breeze. The most relatable memes effortlessly prompt your audience to tag family and friends, which can lead to a major engagement boost.

They let you participate in viral events

For social media managers, watching a viral moment happen from the sidelines isn’t fun. You never want to let the perfect opportunity to join trending conversations or grow your social media following slip by.

That’s why publishing Instagram memes can be so beneficial for your brand. When you repurpose popular memes, you can easily insert your brand into the larger conversation while producing relevant content for your audience.

How to Improve Customer Engagement With Instagram Memes

Now that you know why memes can easily become viral content, let’s look at how to make them work for your brand or agency. Try these six actionable tips.

Insert your brand into the conversation

On the surface, many of the most popular Instagram memes might not seem like they’ll work for your brand or speak to your audience. After all, can you use a SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon or a series of human brain graphics to talk about your brand?

View this post on Instagram

Gang works smarter not harder.

A post shared by Slim Jim (@slimjim) on

While some memes might not work for every organization, many can convey your brand values, like the above example from @slimjim. Rather than republishing a meme as-is, however, you’ll need to repurpose it, so it’s relevant to your brand and relates to your audience. By altering the meme’s text or writing a clever caption, you can easily turn a popular image into an engaging discussion about your brand.

Create a sense of community

The viral nature of memes means that a large percentage of your audience is already familiar with many of them. Since the most popular memes are easily recognizable, they form part of a knowledge bank that your audience can draw from.

View this post on Instagram

👰 🎩 😮

A post shared by Pete Zaroll (@totinos) on

You can use this shared knowledge to your organization’s advantage by publishing memes that only your audience will understand, like this example from @totinos. When you share inside jokes, you automatically invite engagement, as your followers will be inclined to like or comment to confirm that they got the joke.

By telling jokes that only your audience will truly get, you also build a stronger sense of community among your followers, which can increase engagement in the long run.

Write captions that invite comments

Just because Instagram memes often contain text doesn’t mean you can skip the caption. If you do, you’re likely to lose out on serious engagement potential.

Instead, rely on the meme’s visual appeal to grab your audience’s attention, and write a caption that really resonates with your followers.

Meme captions don’t have to be wordy, as this example from @barkbox shows. They should be long enough to engage your audience and short enough to appear without requiring your audience to click to expand.

For example, you can pose a brief question or make a statement you know your followers will relate to. No matter which prompt you choose, opt for one that invites your audience to comment and start conversations.

After your followers comment, don’t leave them hanging. Respond to their comments with a quick confirmation or a string of emojis. Responding to comments is a great way to welcome followers into your community and generate more long-term engagement.

Encourage followers to tag friends

Why limit your viral content to your current audience only? When you publish content that your audience can relate to, they’re likely to want to share your posts with others who will get the joke.

Prompt them to share your Instagram posts by encouraging them to tag friends and family who also understand. With this tactic, you can grow your followers while creating a strong sense of community at the same time.

Alternate memes with other content types

Memes may have viral potential, but that doesn’t mean you should publish them exclusively or convert your brand’s Instagram page into a meme account. For most brands, it makes sense to publish memes occasionally, interspersed with product images, lifestyle photos, and user-generated content.

To encourage repeated engagement, make a habit of publishing memes on a certain day of the week. Committing to a schedule can help your audience anticipate this entertaining content and engage accordingly.

Know when a meme isn’t right for your brand

Just because a meme has gone viral doesn’t mean you should definitely repurpose it for your brand. As you add memes to your publishing schedule, remember that not every meme has a place in your brand’s content calendar.

Before publishing the latest memes, think carefully about the type of engagement you want to encourage.

Does the meme add value and create community for your followers, or will posting it make your brand look out of touch? Is it likely to resonate with your audience, or could it lead to negative comments or even force your brand to lose followers?

Use your best judgment to choose the most effective memes and develop an Instagram publishing strategy that prioritizes engagement.

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Get started on saving time and energy on your own social media management! Check out our free trial of Agorapulse to help you schedule, track, and measure all your social media efforts. 

Anna Sonnenberg

Anna Sonnenberg is a digital marketer who specializes in paid social strategy, social media management, content strategy, and email marketing. For over five years, she has run Sonnenberg Media, a digital micro agency that works with small businesses in the natural food and beverage industry, health and sustainability market, and travel space.

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