Because memes are often very simple (like the one I created by hijacking the ‘Y U NO’ Guy meme), they’re usually simple creations. Some basic knowledge of a photo editing tool like Photoshop (or hey … even Microsoft Paint can sometimes do the trick) can come in handy when hijacking brand new memes. But you’ll find there tons of meme templates out there, like Meme Generator, quickmeme, and Make a Meme — all of which make it extremely simple to hijack popular memes.
For example, to create my meme for this post, I conducted a Google search for “Y U No Guy Meme Generator,” and came across MemeGenerator.net’s tool, enabling me to create the meme pictured at the top of this post.
CREATE MEME BY FAKE TWEET GENERATOR
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Once you pick a tool you like, you can either select from the blank memes in the tool’s gallery, or upload your own. Then, you’ll have the option to customize the text on the top and bottom of the image you’ve selected.
Then, download your newly branded meme and post it on the channel of your choosing. Just be sure to add additional context if the meme is being shared alongside a larger story or campaign.
Ready to do some memejacking of your own? Here are our top memejacking tips.
Try to Jump on it Quickly
The most successful instances of memejacking for marketing occur when a meme is at its tipping point — it’s started to spread wildly, yet few have hijacked it. This is your memejacking sweet spot, since memes can start to feel old after everyone and their mother has hijacked it.
To stay ahead of the curve and stay on top of trending memes as they start cropping up, browse social bookmarking sites like Reddit or StumbleUpon, which are known to surface up-and-coming memes before more mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter. In fact, just staying well connected online and abreast of the latest news can keep you on top of the latest breaking memes.
Understand the Meme
Before you memejack, make sure you’re well educated about what the meme means and implies. The last thing you want to do is offend your audience or memejack something you wouldn’t have if you had fully understood the connotations of it. Luckily, the folks at Know Your Meme are usually on top of the popular memes, their histories, and their claims to fame so you can determine whether a meme is appropriate for your audience.
Ask Yourself, “Will Our Audience Appreciate It?”
To piggyback off the last point, understand that using memes will only be successful in your marketing if your audience appreciates the particular meme you’re hijacking. If your audience doesn’t have any connection to the meme, doesn’t understand it, or doesn’t think it’s funny, it doesn’t matter if it’s already been wildly popular among a general internet audience.
Make Sure it’s Relatable to Your Brand
Most importantly, make sure your memejacking isn’t at the expense of being relatable. The way you hijack your meme should have something to do with your brand, industry, etc. If it’s a stretch to create a funny meme that relates to your brand, then it’s probably not worth doing. The most successful memejacks are those that cleverly incorporate some essence of the brand — its industry, messaging, mission, slogan, etc.
Remember, posting content about subjects related to your brand often generates the most engagement. In other words, posting content unrelated to your brand — like the latest internet meme that can in no way be aligned with your brand — just isn’t going to cut it.
The most successful examples of memejacking have entertainment value, so while it’s critical to make sure your audience can relate to it, don’t aim to be serious. The tone should be funny and/or witty, so use language and copy that achieves those goals.
Align With the Original Meme’s Core Components
Make sure your memejack sticks to the original meme’s format, style, and includes the same components. Otherwise, you’ll have a memejacking #FAIL on your hands. Remember the meme above that HubSpot hijacked on our Facebook page — the ‘What People Think I Do/What I Really Do’ meme? Take another look at our ‘Marketers’ version. It appears to be missing the critical ‘What I REALLY Do’ frame, doesn’t it?
While this oversight (luckily) didn’t really affect the success of our meme, we did feel a bit silly about it when a commenter called us out on it. Whoops!