If you’ve ever laughed at a captioned picture on your social media feed, you have already been a part of the viral internet meme movement. But while it offers a quick smile, does this seemingly nonsensical trend have any impact to SOCIAL MEDIA?

This is an example of meme, this meme is call “Distracted boyfriend”. This image became a popular meme. With simple captions added to the image to represent real-life things people are distracted by. Let me explain more for who has never heard of it before:

What is Meme? Is it actually influence Social Media?

“Meme” can be defined as a humorous image that is copied, with slight variations, and quickly shared across the internet. Funny pictures and jokes are enjoyed by all, but are they actually important in social media communication? Social media users love visual content. The algorithms of many social sites prioritize visual content over text-based content. Viewers are six times as likely to remember a message  if it is paired with a relevant visual than the text alone. Memes can provide a unique snapshot into the cultural events of a moment in time. Some memes rotate for years, while others live a short, but often explosive life. Memes offer users and companies the opportunity to make a reference to an established inside joke that the entire internet is a part of. Memes carry more power than meets the eye.

Memes are used by businesses! Is it The Future of Social Media Marketing?

Meme marketing is one of the most powerful social media marketing strategies out there today. With social media continually on the rise, meme marketing has transformed hundreds of brands social media market strategies. Also, an average person spends an hour and a half everyday on social media. And memes are the language in which people on social media communicate new ideas and attitudes so, it’s not surprising that memes have become a cultural phenomenon. Memes spread like wildfire, and they’re popularly known. That makes it a little bit more obvious why a marketer might want to leverage these already viral pieces of creative for their own marketing especially in social media doesn’t it? Pepe the Frog, Disaster girl, and LOLcats all have one thing in common because they’re all meme characters that are now a part of internet pop culture. They’ve been used in different ways to spread various ideas. With the ability to go viral and increase brand exposure, these memes are now being utilized by many brands as their core social media strategy. Although, not every brand that uses them has been successful.

Here are a Few Brands that have been Marketing with Memes:


A luxury fashion brand “Gucci” that’s built an image around sophistication and grace. But in 2017, they created #TFWGucci campaign, they decided to shatter all preconceptions about their brand. With memes, they showed their target audience that they could be hip. Their campaign #TFWGucci, which is short for “That Feeling When Gucci,” was a campaign designed to promote their new line of watches. Moreover, Gucci used memes that ranged from absurd to hilarious. They created all of the memes in collaboration with artists from around the world.


Netflix is an online streaming service which offers popular movies or TV shows. And this is a cartoon character named Pikachu made a defiant face during a battle scene. The adorable Pikachu picture became a meme as people partnered it with statements about something funny they did that was probably a bad idea. So, Netflix use this meme to promote a series “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” Netflix drew a wig on to shocked Pikachu and described a shocking event that happened to Sabrina on the show. 


While not the only Old Spice Man parody around, DreamWorks featured its Shrek-based character, Puss in Boots playing the Old Spice Man in its 2011 trailer to promote the movie spinoff, Puss in Boots. The TV spot features a mashup of scenes from the series of Old Spice commercials. (For someone who don’t know old spice man, The Old Spice commercial series called “the man your man could smell like” was a marketing campaign in itself for, well, Old Spice. While the advertisement was initially created and debuted in 2010 to market Old Spice’s Red Zone After Hours Body Wash, because of its raging success, the campaign was extended to promote Old Spice’s other products, and the Old Spice Man lived on. It quickly turned into a popular internet meme and could be found in meme generators throughout the web.)

Memes Can be a Tool for Forming Social Connections

Memes can provide a way for people to connect with each other. Knowing the right memes can help you become part of a group. They give groups a sense of cohesion. Since today’s memes are based on social media, they are also a good way to gain influence online. Creating and reblogging popular memes is a way for people to get more followers, and of course these social connections can be leveraged in both positive and negative ways. An example of impact in the development and visibility of online social groups is Vine. It such an important part of developing today’s explosive meme culture. It popularized the idea of a ‘video meme’ and showed that it’s possible for them to take off outside of YouTube. Additionally, the 6-second time frame gave creators a worthwhile artistic challenge.

How Memes Become Popular?

First of all, memes that are shared on social media could be widely spread from Facebook, WhatsApp. Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Viber and many more.  The majority of internet memes are passed on by teenagers and adults. There are several ways in which a meme can be shared, one is by uploading it on your social media page e.g. Facebook or Instagram, then it is shared or retweeted to your followers. You can say, internet memes are just the adjusted form of sharing a short message or idea.

Memes Can Be Damaging Too!

At the same time, it’s important to consider that memes can be used for harassment as well as for furthering hate speech and disinformation about various social groups. The good example of harassment via memes is the Millie Bobby Brown meme. While the meme was supposed to be ironic, it damaged the reputation of a young actress. There are many other examples of an ironic meme causing social harm.

For this reason, this is what to know before you post memes!

  • Think about the meme and what it’s trying to say. 
  • What does  the text of the meme say? Is it a pun, or a joke about the person in the photo?
  • Is it clear that the message is supposed to be funny, or could it be read as sarcastic or offensive? Does it encourage a stereotype? If so, don’t post it.
  • How would you feel if that was you in the photo? 
  • Would you want people to post it if the photo was of you?

To summarize, similar to other aspects of online culture, memes are easily misunderstood by those who don’t use them regularly. Some believe them to be completely irrelevant. Others think that memes are dangerous and harmful to the way we communicate. Actually, the truth is that memes are a communication tool and they can be used for many different purposes. They can aid positive social changes, but they can also be used to harm others. It’s important to develop a realistic idea of the power of memes as a medium of communication now and in the future.