A Guide to Creating Viral Memes for Any Social Media Platform

October 23, 2023

Memes are earning more shares and engagement on social media, which is no surprise.

They're highly shareable, funny, and easy to create - the perfect content to earn your website some visibility. Memes are also relevant, tailored to a specific audience, and ideal for promoting your business on social networks.

Looking for a way to use such content in your marketing? Well, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of elements defining viral memes, along with some inspiration for potential use cases to expand your brand:

Social Media Memes 101

brown and white pomeranian puppy on macbook

Memes are becoming a huge component of social media marketing, as users employ them as units of culture that can be easily communicated from one person to another. They leverage current events including films, TV, politics, and day-to-day life.

Social media memes allow you to easily transfer information, sentiments, and thoughts in a relatable and engaging way. These pieces of content can be static or dynamic, often featuring a combination of viral imagery and funny text.

With so much content being posted to social networks daily, it's hard to stand out. A good strategy would be to use exciting and humorous visuals that are processed by the brain 60,000x faster than text—plus nearly half of all users respond better to photos and videos.

Thanks to the effectiveness of humor in marketing, memes can be great for connecting with audiences while illustrating your company values. They can also provide a bit of personality to your social media page.

A well-made meme can do more than just brighten someone's day. It can increase engagement and strengthen your online community too.

Memes keep blowing up on social media platforms—why?

To put it simply: not only are memes funny, but they also reach tons of potential patrons.

Meme marketing is an incredibly low-cost approach for brands to get people talking about them. These posts are highly shareable and easy to relate to, leading to more views, likes, shares, comments, and followers.

Memejacking is a technique to get your brand message across to followers by adding to a popular media made by another creator. This could be just what you need to outclass the competition—with no need to create anything original.

Memes allow creators and businesses to produce quality content with little effort. You can reuse existing media by adding a fresh caption or some twist. The meme audience also doesn’t mind low-resolution materials, so if you’re not too confident in your design skills, don’t worry.

So many consumers are skipping ads, which is why it’s smart to communicate with them using humor. Memes are a fun way to appeal to a community's interests around current, cultural, or contemporary events. This makes your content feel more authentic, real, and relatable.

Create a sense of belonging among your followers by referencing a situation that people can relate to and then adding their special touch. You create something that everyone can enjoy and participate in.

Use memes that are funny, absurd, or include an interesting tune; this attracts followers and customers, making them more likely to remember your brand.

Humor is incredibly powerful for persuasion. When used correctly, it can instantly build or strengthen buyer-seller connections. Your words should be more focused on the joke or trend at hand, giving your message more weight.

Still, it’s tough to create humorous content. Some punchlines could be taken offensively, so brands should always consider who their audience is when making a joke.

Some of the most popular accounts on networks like Instagram or TikTok tend to be meme-focused, with millions of followers to show for it. This content type has always been popular, but recently video and GIF memes are driving a new wave of popularity and the shift away from picture-perfect visuals is fueling this rise.

Since many young people share memes on social media every week (with some sending them every day), brands are using these posts to increase engagement and appeal to younger audiences.

More marketers are using memes to interact with their audiences and stay on top of their thoughts, and we’re seeing this across industries and niches.

These videos, GIFs, and photos are designed to be shared so that more people can see them. When users share your meme, in a way, they’re advocating for your company.

One thing is for sure: memes have taken over the world and they’re here to stay as long as social media is still a thing!

How to find or make a social media meme

woman browsing on the internet

It can be a little difficult to create the perfect meme at first, but there are a few tips to make the process easier. Here’s how to find something that’s on-brand, timely for your audience, and has the right tone:

  • Finding inspiration online

    The easiest way to find inspiration is to follow pages that post sarcasm and hilarious content. They're great for pop culture moments and watching upcoming trends.

    Check out the likes of @sarcasm_only, @epicfunnypage, and @societyfeelings. These accounts dedicate themselves to posting the first response to any event, allowing you to post your own content with a personal, audience-focused touch.

    (Here’s an external link on Inspiring Meme Ideas & Tips for Making Hilarious Memes.)

  • Repurposing others’ memes


    • Check Imgflip, GIPHY, Imgur, etc., for popular meme templates.
    • Pick a viral video, image, or GIF and add a unique caption to make it yours.
    • Customize it to your heart’s content—add not just text but drawings, stickers, and other media to best fit your brand’s aesthetic. And with that, a meme is born!
    • You can also rewrite a popular movie scene or GIF. This works well for those who are making memes for the first time because it provides an outline of the joke.

    Remember that viral videos often become memes. Keep an eye on what moments from trending YouTube or TikTok videos may be good for content. A unique and funny caption helps make shared media relevant to your followers and capture their attention with humor.

    Brands will continue to use meme formats to wow their audiences and stand out—and by reposting familiar memes, you get to build your community at no additional cost.

  • Creating your own memes

    Most static and video memes are easy to create, as they follow a similar format. All you need is some fonts, and the best part? You don't need advanced design skills!

    Refrain from using out-of-fashion fonts. And since Twitter uses Helvetica Neue and Montserrat, these styles are the industry standard. Creators also use Comic Sans, Arial, and others depending on the context.

    Creating original meme-style content is a bit more challenging because you have to find relatable materials, think up a format, and add some funny or interesting commentary. It takes more time and creativity, but your content has a higher chance of being shared.

    For instance, you can make a short clip or GIF out of an entertaining video of a dog playing fetch. Try displaying original memes like this in unique or unexpected contexts to drive sales.

    If buyers can take photos with your physical product, ask if you can repost their photos and videos and turn these visuals into branded memes.

    Just be creative with what you post on social media. Feel free to add memes to your product photos and ask customers to take a picture of their purchase and post it with a branded hashtag.

    You can also create memes with your team by filming or shooting content yourselves. There are many ways to create content, so experiment to see which meme types users react to the most. Try experimenting - photos, videos, GIFs, or screenshots!

    Evoking emotions on social media can be easy, thanks to tools like Videoleap and PowerDirector that offer templates to help you make an engaging video meme. The apps make it easy to create memorable memes—you can combine video clips with text overlays.

    Remember to include emojis and text formatting. Consumers are also used to rounded corners and other visual styles; they’ll recognize these elements as soon as they see them.

    Note: People love brands tied to animals and pets. They are "wholesome" and social media users are more likely to share these types of posts.

  • Useful tools/sites for finding or making memes

    • GIPHY
    • Tenor
    • Tumblr
    • Reddit
    • Canva
    • Mematic
    • Imgflip
    • Quickmeme
    • Kapwing Meme Generator
    • Adobe Spark
    • Imgur
    • Gfycat
    • GIFbin
    • iLoveIMG.com
    • Know Your Meme
    • Free GIF Maker

How to leverage memes on any social media platform

Insert Something Clever wall decor

Marketers and managers should read the following primer on how to incorporate meme marketing into their social media strategy.

  • React to the latest happening

    Post a meme in response to a current happening, like a holiday or live event.

  • Repost suitable user-generated memes

    Meme creators encourage others to repost their content, but it’s legally important to check with them before resharing their creation. Many established brands repost memes from smaller accounts; this gives the creator more exposure and makes the brand’s feed more interesting.

  • Partake in a meme-inspired challenge

    For instance, the Castaway Clothing page changed its logo in 2019 and decided to share the differences between the old and new ones during Facebook’s 10-Year Challenge.

  • Share a screenshotted tweet

    You can leverage memes by screenshotting tweets and sharing them on other platforms—just be sure to give credit to the original creator.

Best practices and useful tips for creating viral memes

two white pendant lamps view

  • 1. Consider your target audience and brand voice

    It's important to stay true to who you are as a brand. Know your audience, and don't just post for the sake of posting.

    While memes might appeal to your audience, it can be difficult to maintain brand consistency. This content type is increasingly popular amongst all age groups, so high-end brands are starting to use them to stay relevant and reach a wider audience.

    Memes tend to use satire, social commentary, or nostalgia. So, for a meme to be successful, it needs to have a humorous and insightful quality.

    Meme marketing is a delicate subject. To avoid offending their audience, marketers experimenting with meme marketing will need to educate themselves on popular memes.

    Share entertaining content on your social page to show customers the unique personality of your brand. The best way to pull this off is to use your authentic voice while being edgy and not too conservative.

    Even if they are divisive, memes can help support niche positioning and reach a specific community. You should always start by defining your customer personas.

    • What content ranks best for your company’s social channels?
    • How have you ever intrigued or amused consumers?
    • What celebrities, music, or TV shows align with your nature of business?

    Now, aside from your brand voice, all your jokes should be related to things that the target persona is currently interested in.

    Some memes fail because they're slight extensions of generic ads. The idea is, successful memes don't have any call-to-action.

    When your social media content is entertaining, it is more likely to be shared with other people. This can lead to a larger audience for your brand which in turn leads to more prospects, sales, and advocates.

    A campaign centered on memes may also fail if it ignores the young people already following your brand, so think about the kind of content your current followers share.

    Tap into what your prospects and followers find funny. Reflect on the types of media they consume and use that to attract new audiences. You can build your humor on their interests or problems.

    So when creating a meme, it's important to consider your buyer personas. If the content is irrelevant or offensive, you risk damaging your brand reputation.

    Gen Zers are tough to reach, but they might respond well to branded content created with a Gen Z influencer. Hence, you can also give this method a try.

  • 2. Try something new or different

    Corporate content might not always be relatable to younger audiences. By trying something new and exploring your brand's sense of humor, chances are you'll see a spike in engagement.

    Try catering to Zoomers and Millennials by adopting a more casual tone. Brands that use memes effectively stay youthful and playful, as if the initial manager might not approve of such content or caption.

  • 3. Understand and honor the joke

    It might surprise you to know the origin of that meme you’re about to publish. Doing some research before sharing can help keep you from making a mistake—the need to apologize to an offended customer is never preferable.

    It’s important to know the context in which a meme was created and what it is typically used for. If you don't understand the meme and your text doesn’t fit with the audience’s expectations, you’ll create a confusing post for your followers and they may ignore your efforts.

    If you're looking for a meme that represents your brand, look for other creators in the same community. Doing your research will help you avoid witnessing a meme fail. Checking Know Your Meme will also help you understand your content before posting.

  • 4. Employ hot and timely trends

    The secret to going viral is to jump on trends when they’re fresh and relevant. Doing so will increase the chances of people seeing the post and engaging with it. Remember to incorporate your signature style and add relevant text.

    Don't neglect the internet's thirst for fresh memes. Your brand can easily go viral by overlaying trending social media content with your message.

    We found that the best site for finding all the hot and timely memes is Reddit. Memes usually take off and become popular among Redditors before anyone else even knows they exist.

  • 5. Simplicity is key

    Memes are easy to read and scan, conveying a message in seconds. It’s best practice to keep your text short for an enjoyable meme experience. We love brands that use their carousel of memes to offer a short, captioned message - it's so simple to read and understand!

  • 6. Master the art of meme creation and curation

    Check out MemeCrunch or We Know Memes for a little assistance in creation or curation. These are easy-to-use platforms and no photoshop skills are required.

  • 7. Bring in your employees and executives

    It’s a good idea to hear the opinions of your employees and executives before you publish any content; this may help avoid angering or upsetting consumers. They may even have some good suggestions that would make your content funnier.

  • 8. Cross-promote your memes anywhere possible

    Cross-post your memes anywhere visual-friendly—try channels like TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and even your blog. This helps you engage and grow your following, leading to more shares, comments, reposts, and other measures of engagement across the board.

Key takeaways

Memes are more popular than ever as people consume and share this content type endlessly on the internet. Viral posts with meme content can be found across a range of platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

For your brand to use memes as an effective vehicle for your marketing strategy, finetune your creative instincts and use them to determine whether a meme is humorous, intriguing, or insightful. Spend some time consuming trendy memes and your ability to curate and create them will also improve.

You should only post what you find fascinating, funny, or thought-provoking. Always make a note of these points—and start finding and creating your social media memes today!

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