Memes and Social Media Advertising

Memes have influenced the internet culture for far too long. During the last decade, especially, memes have literally exploded. It has affected how people behave online, their speech, and their methods of expression. Memes have literally overrun the internet so much, that even the high-end brands have started considering memes as an effective mode of communication and advertisement. This article is about why we think memes are good for social media advertising for a business.


What is a Meme?

According to Google, a Meme is “an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.” That is relevant to the memes we see on the internet. However, giving a rigid definition to memes would be unfair as memes are very flexible and fluid.

People often use memes in a sarcastic way that comments on the contemporary problems and trends in real life and on social media. Some memes are edgy and are used to express one’s darkest desires or problems, or to troll others. Then there are memes that a majority of us can relate to.

Memes are originally a product of the West but are now a worldwide phenomenon. Every country has its own unique internet culture, and hence unique meme trends. They are used majorly by the younger audience such as Millennials and Generation Z population, but older generations are also observed to appreciate emerging meme culture at times.

Even though memes are getting more and more absurd recently, businesses can still find a way around them to advertise themselves and make a unique identity.


South Africa and Memes

Meme culture has grown rapidly and has been going strong in South Africa and the credit majorly goes to TikTok. Memes existed in South Africa pre-TikTok era. But, ever since 2020, TikTok has massively influenced South African meme culture. Over the last decade, memes have taken over South African social media and it has changed the form of expression on the internet.

South Africa is currently facing a variety of issues; Coronavirus and Unemployment are on top of it. It is no doubt that we have come far ever since this pandemic has begun. And there’s absolutely no doubt that memes were a huge part of our boring, shut-in lives during the quarantine period that allowed us to express our frustrations through a humorous medium of art.

Related: 12 of the best South African memes of our time (Source:


Important Things to know in Using Memes for Social Media Advertising

1. Understanding your Demographic

This is important as memes are a product of the millennial and later generations. Memes may not appear as appealing to older generations than that. So, if you actually intend to use memes for advertising your business, understand whether your target audience is millennials or younger than that.

Each generation shares its own set of humour. For example, if you try to use older generation jokes on newer generation audiences, most likely it is not going to resonate with them and vice versa.

2. Understanding the types of Memes that would work

Different types of memes evoke different types of responses or emotions. If you are new to the meme world, you really should familiarise yourself with some general tropes.

Using popular meme formats will help you gain traction quickly in the market. Always lookout for the trends. Twitter, Pinterest, and Reddit are three great sources of keeping up with the memes.

3. Why do you want to use memes for advertising?

Corporations and businesses have been turning towards meme culture step up their game. Using memes means you will be able to attract a great audience as people always are positive towards a good, humorous advertisement. Memes take you out of the boring traditional advertising competition and level up your advertising game.

Some businesses may turn to memes to form their own unique identity. Our favourite example is Summoner’s Greed, an android game that quickly became a meme sensation online on Facebook.

However, you also should understand the following factors:

  1. Do memes really suit your business?
  2. Will it attract the right kind of audience to your business?
  3. If I am purely a B2B business, will memes actually help me?
  4. What kind of memes can voice my business better?

For example, we are in a website design business. Doing memes might attract attention for us, but it will not attract the right kind of audience. As a B2B business, we have to act extra professional and memes just don’t cut it for us.

But for B2C businesses with trendy products users would love to buy, a meme channel may help you greatly in increasing your visibility and attracting attention.


How to use Memes in Social Media Advertising?

1. Do your Research on Memes

This is the most important part if you plan to use memes for your social media presence or advertising. Research is necessary to stay relevant with your meme game, give a voice to your business, and attract the right target audience. Furthermore, it will also give you an idea of whether memes is something your business should pursue advertising.

Research is the way to go to understand all these. Take a look at your competitors and see if they are following a pattern with any kind of local or global memes. Refer to the websites like Know Your Meme if you are unsure about certain memes, and often stay active on social media channels to understand and research the local and global meme culture.

2. Use Relevant Memes

Once you are thorough with your research, this is the important part. Relevant memes here refer to using the right memes that tune well with the right target audience as well as give your business the right personality. This phase takes experimentation and time, so keep your meme game in control. Don’t use memes that may give a vibe like your business is ‘dissing’ on others.

Stay on the wholesome side, make sure it gives your business a personality, and that it attracts the right target audience.

3. Set a Tone for your Memes

There is no “setting a tone” for your memes, practically speaking, but if your meme game constantly gives a stand-out vibe for your business, then your business may stand out and give people a more pleasant, humane vibe. For example, if your business constantly uses memes in conveying wholesome intent, then it sets a tone with your business.

Depending on your business and the vibe you want to set on social media, you should consider using particular types of memes. Setting a tone for your memes means setting up a stand-out personality for your business.

4. Don’t go off-topic

As you step up your meme game, make sure all the memes actually stay relevant to your business practices. Posting memes for the sake of attracting an audience will not necessarily attract the right ones. If it goes too off-topic, people may just stop taking your business seriously, which is harmful.

5. Interact with your Community

If your meme game is strong, people may want to interact with your business more. They will see your business as a person rather than some “professional entity”. You may even get a devoted fanbase.

Some people show their appreciation by making memes for you. You can always select a few to improve your brand image and also make your community happy.

Besides, if someone uses your services and posts photos about it, you may be able to use them for meme purposes – of course with permission. These kinds of treatment will always make your audience feel better about your business, so don’t miss the opportunity.



Memes might not be for every business out there, but it is a powerful medium indeed. They may seem simple on the surface but the psychology with memes run deep and it can greatly improve your overall brand image too. Consider using memes if they harmonise well with your business.

The right strategy with memes will take your business to new heights and ahead of the competition. South Africa is stepping up its meme game, and your business can too.

If you require any help with social media management, please don’t hesitate with contacting us. Digital Lime Green is a Cape Town based website design and digital marketing agency that also provides a cost-effective solution to social media management. Reach out to us for more information.