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Small business memes

December 1, 2020 | Small Business Marketing

What is a meme?

A meme is a unique piece of cultural content that can be easily shared online from person to person.

Each time a meme is shared, that person may add to, or alter, the meme slightly.

For this article, ‘Internet meme’ and ‘meme’ are the same. Bear in mind, memes existed before the Internet and can spread without the Internet.

Table of Contents

  • What is a meme?
  • Why are memes important to society?
  • Why are memes important to small businesses?
  • Why do memes go viral?
  • How you can make your own memes.
Leo DiCaprio business meme
Leo DiCaprio business meme

The term ‘meme’ was coined in 1976 in Sir Richard Dawkin’s ‘The Selfish Gene’ . Dawkins calls the meme ‘the behavioral equivalent of the gene’.

Definition of a gene: a unit of heredity which is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring.

Memes became popular with the rise of the internet.

Like genes, memes are transferred from person-to-person (often with some modification) but retain some essential characteristic.

Meme sharing increased using digital files, like videos and images. Some more criteria of memes are the following:

  • A meme is like a gene in that it conveys information.
  • Like genes, memes are passed from person-to-person.
  • Unlike genes, which use DNA to transmit information, memes use text, images and video.
  • Memes are ideas, behaviors or concepts represented visually, usually online.
  • A meme can be any digital file.
  • A meme can be text, image or video.

For example, Sweet Brown’s short, 42 second video in 2021 is a meme.

Her interview started out as a TV news interview just after her apartment building caught on fire.

She gained 1 million YouTube Likes and 128,000 Facebook shares within 24 hours.

Sweet Brown is the one who originally uttered the phrase “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

This is an example of a text meme that has been applied by many people in many different contexts.

Sweet Brown’s original YouTube upload below is an example of a video meme.

Why are memes important to society?

Memes are important to society because they capture and transmit information so that other people can use it.

The infinite availability of information online is leading to more complexity in society.

Memes simplify information and reduce complexity by serving as a unique cultural touchpoint.

Additionally, since memes are shared voluntarily, they improve the distribution of complex knowledge because they will be shared among like-minded people:

  • Co-workers
  • Friends
  • Families

Why are memes important to small businesses

Small businesses can improve marketing and advertising using memes that describe their service or product.

Companies can use memes to speed new worker training and upskilling their current workers to deal with new, complex technologies.

Society-at-large can improve the distribution of knowledge for social justice campaigns.

Small businesses that serve customers can benefit by using memes to improve information transfer for either Marketing or Training.

Why do memes go viral?

According to Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing by Karen Nelson-Field, virality can be described as the rate which people share a meme –beyond the expected rate of sharing.

In other words, if your posts ordinarily get 100 shares, on average, and you succeed in gaining 100 shares with a particular video, you could define that as a viral video.

Check out ‘How to Make Your Video NFT Go Viral’

Posts that are strongly negative or strongly positive are shared at higher rates than other posts.

Strongly positive posts have a slight edge over strongly positive posts.

How you can make your own memes

Follow this 3-step process to create viral videos that may become internet memes:

Step 1

First, decide on your preferred meme format: text, image or video?

  • If you prefer text content, then Twitter might be the most appropriate platform for your memes to go viral.
  • If you prefer image content then Facebook or Instagram might be the preferred platform for your Memes to go viral.
  • If you prefer video content then any of the platforms, including TikTok and YouTube, could work for you.

Step 2

Tell your business story to 1 other person…

YOU could tell your business story, but…

“When YOU tell your business story, it’s marketing; when your customer tells your business story, it’s word-of-mouth”

Video testimonials are powerful for telling your business story; even better when the owner/manager/employee is also in the video interviewing the customer.

Who is the best person in your business to interview the customer? Find out here.

The key to a compelling business story is emotion – WHY should I care about your business?

  • Use an emotion-driven story arc to keep your video viewer watching until the end.
  • Keep the video short – under 3 minutes, for most forms of online video content, will increase sharability and watch time.
  • Use 2 people – one person is the customer answering questions and the other is a team member from this list asking questions:
    • Owner
    • Manager
    • Employee/Team Member

Why 2 people?

Two people, properly positioned in the video, can convey the most important emotion for most small businesses: Trust.

Trust is conveyed in online video with the 2 people stand within 18 inches of each other – within each others’ Intimate Zone.

Learn more about the Intimate Zone and Trust at this blogpost.

What do I say on the video?

“What do I say?” is a very common question.

Check out tips to learn what to say in a testimonial video here.

We use the Worlds’ Simplest Story process create your business story in under 3 minutes.

Discover how you can get your customer to tell your business story, on video, online.

You can get a free 1-hour Storytelling masterclass here.

Short-form video with an emotionally compleling storyline is an excellent strategy to generate video content that is likely to be hared online and, possibly, become a viral meme.

Step 3

Ask the customer you just interviewed in the video to help you share your meme.

Does that feel weird? The truth is asking a customer for a testimonial is weird – unless you are prepared…

Read these instructions on How to Ask a Customer for a Testimonial

Here are some great examples of online viral videos that – in some cases – have turned into memes.

Preparation often means practice…

  • practice asking your customer to post the video
  • practice asking for the testimonial
  • practice interviewing your customer using the story structure format you learned in the masterclass
  • Practice your ‘pitch’ so you’re confident, prepared and ready to answer any questions.

Finally, your customer is a human and we humans are hardwired (by something called the Reciprocity Rule) to give back when we’ve received something from someone else.

Dr. Robert Cialdini made the Reciprocity Rule famous in his 1984 book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – check out his video below:

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Reciprocity Rule

Get the free app – save time and $$

If you are an influencer who deals face-to-face with people, like a dentist or a real estate agent, you can become an online influencer using short, testimonial videos on popular social platforms.

We can show you how.

Do you like all the hosting and posting?

All the hashtags, hypertext links and tech-y stuff?

If not, just let the WOW Promoter app do it for you – for free!

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