I changed my mind about memes. Here’s why.
I have a confession to make. I’ve changed my mind on memes.
Hear me out.
It’s just not a high-leverage way to approach content creation.
Most companies are better off building a bank of binge-worthy content. When someone lands on your profile, they should be able to read (or watch) through your content library and get value from it, whether the pieces were published last night or last year.
Memes alone don’t fill that need. The hype cycle of a trending meme template peaks and crashes within the span of days.
This also leads to social team burnout—and for what?
If you really want to execute a meme-based social strategy, it requires commitment. Is it really the best use of your time to scour the timeline for hours daily searching for memes and pop culture trends?
The answer would be yes if it led to a meaningful difference in business metrics. But most of the time, a one-off ‘banger meme’ just nets you dopamine, not dollars.
I’m not saying that trending memes aren’t important and can’t be useful (more on this later), but for most B2B companies, it’s likely not the best use of time for your content team.
When I think about the companies and people I buy most from—the common thread usually isn’t memes.
I’ve been far more consumed by documentary-style content. Literal documentaries like Arnold and Beckham on Netflix. But also documentary-style YouTube content from creators and brands like Chris Bumstead (5X Mr. Olympia champion) and George Heaton (founder of Represent Clothing). I’d buy something either of them put out over something a Twitter shitposter started selling, any day.
Now, before the pitchforks come out here, I’m not suggesting you do away with memes and trending humor completely.
The problem here isn’t the use of memes—it’s the reliance on memes as the core pillar of your strategy. Memes can’t be the single point of failure.
Even at Triple Whale, we never only relied on memes and humor. There were 2 strong podcasts published weekly, a newsletter with valuable content, IRL events, etc.
Here are a few filters to keep in mind, so you can capture the upside of memes (without getting distracted by them):
1) Memes and trends should supplement your content strategy, not be the foundation of it.
The foundation of your content strategy should be evergreen. Going back to what we touched on at the beginning of this write-up:
Would your content be relevant to someone who stumbles upon your profile 6 months from now?
If the answer is no, how can you get there?
Once you have that content foundation in place, sure, use memes selectively to lean into trends your ICP would find relevant. But your evergreen content is your insurance policy against algorithm changes.
2) Set parameters around the time you spend searching for meme templates and trends.
Truthfully, the ‘chronically online’ social media manager caricature is overrated. Set a time limit of ~30 minutes (or whatever you want) per day to spend getting caught up with trends in your industry.
If you happen to come across a meme template that makes sense for your brand to hop in on, go for it—especially if it’s low-lift. This is a practical guardrail to keep you from jumping into the abyss of scrolling for 3 hours “for research.”
Ok, now I’m curious. Do you agree with this take? Am I becoming a boomer?
Reply to this edition and let me know