Posted 05.11.2023 by Josh Krakauer
Should B2B brands use memes in their social media strategy?
Honestly, they probably could. And maybe they should.
Memes are among the most widely shared content on the internet and resonate in ways that more polished, highly-produced content often doesn’t.
“But, what about…”
I know, I know. As a social media agency managing social media programs for large B2B brands we’ve heard plenty of compelling objections.
We’ll come back to those arguments. What we hope to do is show which B2B brands are using memes on social, how content pillars translate into memes, and what you need to know to get started, too.
B2B Social Media Meme Strategy Tips
B2B Meme Examples we’ll cover:
Let’s start with why memes work in the first place in B2B social media marketing.
Memes are like internet inside jokes that spread like wildfire. They’re wonderful assets because they’re ideas that connect people with shared experiences and common interests.
Here’s the 411 on why memes work:
Memes inject light-hearted energy into your B2B social media strategy. They’re an engaging (and efficient) way to boost interactions, elevate brand awareness, and distinguish yourself from stiff competitors.
Here’s why you should consider adding memes to your social, paid, or content marketing mix:
Memes are witty, relatable, and on point. They help you create catchy, memorable, and shareable content that gets people interacting. A solid meme can bring your brand in sync with your audience, leading to better engagement, loyalty, and sales.
Memes can go viral, bringing your brand in front of new people you’d have to spend thousands in paid to reach. To make it happen, you have to know your audience, brand boundaries, and stay up to date with cultural trends online.
Memes are a budget-friendly way to reach your target audience and level up your social game. Done well, memes offer brands the chance for significant exposure at a fraction of the production cost of other formats.
Remember that your customers connect with different ideas. They’re scrolling, tapping, and (unconsciously) consuming content related to their personal and professional interests.
If you want their attention, you have to understand that their identity isn’t singular, so content serves different purposes.
A few examples of those communities they seek content from include:
There are numerous ways to cater to their communities of passion, product, and practice.
Product memes showcase a business’s products, services, or benefits. Let’s be real, theres no hiding that it’s marketing. The question is — will your audience be more receptive?
Sales SaaS company Lavender leans heavy into product category memes.
Why it worked: Here they build demand for their category by associating the purchase as a must-have moment for sales reps. It connects with the sales and sales ops crowd, especially if they’re looking to make life easier.
In the second meme, Lavender pats itself on the back. Humble? Not quite, but it’s honest work.
See how Firebolt rocked memes to chat about their database tool. They didn’t straight-up tell people to ditch Excel for data storage, but they got their point across with some clever humor.
Picture this: you’re fishing in a pool of potential customers. Using product and product category memes hooks those feeling happy, mad, or anxious. So make sure your product meme connects with a core emotion.
Profession or industry memes are all about stuff specific to certain jobs or industries. They usually depict tongue-in-cheek scenarios that connect with the struggles, quirks, or clichés of a particular field. Like that Firebolt example earlier? Nailed it. But as a social media agency, we’ve seen even more.
There are memes about all sorts of jobs. Legal, customer experience, marketing, software development, accounting, security, and a whole bunch more.
These memes often playfully tease the unique aspects of the job, like crazy hours, tricky clients or patients, fancy lingo, or the need to keep up with the latest trends, just like Hootsuite did here.
Why it worked: This industry meme relates to a core pain point of Social Media Managers. Who among us isn’t tired of the algorithm updates on social platforms forcing new headaches?
If you catch the theme here, these memes have B2B brands being less “salesy” and more focused on connecting with their audience’s world.
Here’s a tip: Make industry or profession memes that get a “This is so us” or “This reminds me of [insert colleague]” reaction.
If you can achieve that, your meme post is going to crush it, just like Dooly below.
Why it worked: Their meme tells a story in a simple, familiar format that folks in the industry can identify with, and drives conversation.
With over 11k likes and 400+ reposts, Dooly’s team kept it low-key on self-promotion but still scored big on engagement and shares.
“So what, that’s cheap engagement”, voice the naysayers.
Our take? High engagement also drives curiosity clicks. It means people are more likely to check out the Company Page and website, or search for the brand.
Another theme you might be catching? Sales software scores a lot of industry meme points.
Gong nailed it here too. While subtly promoting their sales software and brand, the post tackles a common pain point for sales pros — call backs.
These memes incorporate trending topics or references that are widely recognized.
They’re likely to connect with your audience effectively because of their familiarity and timeliness. How? They often incorporate clips from movies, stills from TV, or photos of celebrities.
Take a look at work management software Confluence. They ride cultural content waves but personalize them in ways their user community appreciates. We’ve used this Pedro Pascal meme twice already, it was just that popular in 2023. 😅
Why it worked: Their meme focused on a hot topic for knowledge workers — the return to offices. Here, the team collaboration brand taps into the target audience’s bummed-out mood with a trending image that screams, “Ugh, not again!” — holding back frustration and the urge to cry or shout.
Trending memes have the fun factor, so your chance of strong engagement is high. Just keep in mind cultural context and your audience’s tastes when sharing them.
Let’s put Imgflip away for a second. Did we mention that you can create your own memes? Yup, they don’t always need to be inspired by TV moments or templatized formats.
B2B brands can rock a meme style that’s familiar and easy to understand while staying true to the brand’s values and guidelines.
You can remix ’em too, using well-known faces or objects, and let the context do the talking for your business.
Check out this post where GM CEO, Mary Barra, announced job openings at the car company using their own “I came for, I stay for” meme template.
The post worked because it had an inspiring company message with a familiar creative concept, and when other employees recreated it in the comments to share their stories, it gave a glimpse into the company’s culture and values.
Simple enough, but essential for making sure they’ll get your reference, and enjoy your memes. Remember, keep your memes brand safe and industry-appropriate to avoid any backlash or harm to your rep.
The pair of image and text is what makes your memes memorable and easy to get. Pay attention to fonts and layout, too — keep things tidy and readable. Generally, this means sticking to the traditional meme fonts and basic colors (brand police, come at me), but customize as needed.
Don’t play favorites. Try out a variety of meme formats. GIFs, static graphic templates, short videos. Think about your audience’s pain points and get creative.
You can and should be clever, but don’t stray too far away from your brand’s core. Make sure your memes vibe with your company voice and values. Memes are supposed to be fun a form of B2B social media content, but remember to keep it simple, stay positive, and steer clear of controversy.
Strike while the meme is hot! Memes hit hardest when they’re current and on-trend. Stay in the loop of what’s spreading now to keep your content relevant.
Offensive and discriminatory memes are a big no-no in B2B. Sounds obvious, but an extra pause before publishing can avoid damaging your brand’s image or even causing legal trouble.
Don’t just rely on memes. To build a solid social media strategy, balance fun with informative and valuable content that fits your biz values and objectives.
This original LinkedIn meme hits a home run on multiple levels. It’s original because the format and visual context are tailored for LinkedIn marketing. While it works as a professional meme, we’d call it a universal truth since pretty much everyone can relate to it.
To put it simply, Gong gets their people. In this profession category meme, they poke fun at a common tactic in their space.
Darien Payton from agency Antidote explains. “Gorgias is a customer support platform. Anyone who works in customer support understands how testy it can get. This was a great way for us to connect with our core audience and show them we support them in a more engaging way than just writing it out.”
Shoutout to Darien for the 🔥 contribution.
HubSpot’s meme is a video with a catchy sound that grabs your attention. The colors match the brand’s palette, and the prompts are super relatable for a number of modern professions.
This flashy meme by Semrush uses celebs and easy-to-read text to share a message for their digital marketer audience that a new generation of change is coming in their industry.
If you want to ease up on your social media marketing budget, low-effort content like this is the way to go. Zapier nails it with this celebrity-inspired, product category meme featuring a facial expression that says it all.
Hootsuite used Rihanna’s different moments from her “big game” performance to highlight relatable topics in the world of social media management. Sure, featuring a popular celeb may have helped with a lift in impressions, but it’s really the spot-on portrayal of social media marketing life that made it a hit with the brand’s target audience.
Buffer tackled a common issue for its target audience — algorithm changes. The industry meme uses a text-on-image style to show two scenarios, and it’s super relatable, especially for Social Media Managers.
Sales revenue platform, Scratchpad brings some fun to the stress of sales teams. The company uses memes to address the hardest parts about sales, head on.
And who can’t relate to C-suite executives fireside chats that leave everyone feeling a bit…underwhelmed?
SaaS startup, Chili Piper uses memes to make sales team pain points more relatable. And what’s more relatable than how little spinach is left once it’s cooked (and, unfortunately, MQLs not converting downstream)?
Qualifying leads is no easy task, so what better way to make light of it than with memes? Behavioral lead scoring platform, Toplyne, understood the assignment and incorporates industry and product category memes throughout their social media.
MarTech platform Litmus loves a good meme, says Jaina Mistry, Director of Content and Email Marketing. In the example below, Litmus creates an original concept for email marketers in advance of Valentine’s.
Memes can also be used to drive clicks. After all, what’s more scroll stopping than a familiar image? B2B sales platform Gradient Works did just that with the example below.
A brand ubiquitous in B2B and B2C, Canva chooses to have as much fun as possible with both audiences. Here they engage their community of product users with a meme to address the “universal truth” that most of us use the platform to pretend we know what we’re doing and make it look good while doing it.
IT giant, BairesDev, is taking the stuffiness out of their industry by poking at the obvious and adding some humor to the challenges of implementing new technologies.
Using memes as part of your B2B marketing strategy can be a powerful way to engage your audience, humanize your brand, and stand out from the competition. By exploring various meme types, knowing your audience, and being mindful of legal and ethical concerns, you can create memorable, relatable, and entertaining content that resonates with your target market.
So go ahead and give memes a try — with a touch of creativity and a bit of humor, you might just find the perfect recipe for social media success.
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Disclaimer: this is not legal advice. But let’s get real on risks and ramifications for a second.
Here are some key points to consider when using memes in your advertising and social media efforts: