So what’s a meme? Although they’ve been around for a few years and I’d noticed them, I only discovered what they were called last month. Basically, memes are images combined with short captions. Videos and animated gifs can be included but let’s just stick to static images for this post. Often they are funny or ironic. You could say they are online posters to entertain net surfers (remember the paper ones that used to be pasted to walls and billboards?). And, if they are done well, they will resonate with the reader and stay in his memory.
Since this blog concentrates on topics of interest to writers, why have I chosen to write about memes? The answer is that, although they may have started out to amuse and entertain, if used skillfully, they can also be a great marketing tool. It’s a fact of the modern writer’s life that it’s necessary to promote your work to find readers. Memes can be a form of online ‘word of mouth’ marketing to draw readers to a writer’s website and social media pages.
Until a couple weeks ago, when I was reading some of the witty memes making the rounds on the internet, it never occurred to me that I could create them too. I’m not a technical whiz so I figured it would be beyond my capability. But the popularity of memes means that loads of free, easy to use websites have appeared which you can use to make your own. All you have to do is either choose an image from the website’s stock images or download one your own to get started. Next you write a caption on the form they provide then you are ready to preview your meme. If you like it, you can save and keep it. Or you can try again until you are satisfied with your creation. Sites where you can make memes include www.makeameme.org, www.memegenerator.net, and www.mememaker.net.
One of the most important things to remember when using memes you create to promote your author platform (whether you have a website, Facebook page, Pinterest page, Twitter account or any other social media presence) is that subtle is best and most effective. Creating and posting an image of your latest book with a ‘Buy Me’ caption on it, isn’t a meme – well, not one that many readers are likely to read and pass on to their friends. The trick is to create relevant memes that will entertain and intrigue – and possibly inspire – so that the reader wants to find out more about you and your writing, and will also pass on the meme so others will discover you too.
The type of memes you decide to create will depend on the genre your books fall into. Since I write mainly historical fiction I often create memes using historic photographs with captions relevant to my genre or even quotes from my own stories. I also throw in the odd meme which features a recent photograph with a funny or catchy caption related to reading or writing.
Now that I hope I’ve piqued your interest in memes, I’ll stop here. I’m afraid this post is only a very brief introduction to memes and how you might use them. If you’d like more detail, Karen Yu’s article is a good place to start: http://www.poweredbysearch.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-meme-marketing/.
Then why not give it a try? Create memes your readers will enjoy – and will pass on and on. Go Forth and Meme.