The Lasting Effect Of Memes & Social Media Timing
They say timing is everything.
This couldn’t be more true than when it comes to Social Media. One wrong move could spell a PR nightmare. It feels like we are walking on egg shells sometimes. Just look at what happened with poor Beyoncé. She made a fantastic performance at the Superbowl and then this:
Why this became a meme can be chalked up to “a failure to understand how the Internet works by her PR team”.
It’s important to understand the impact that these Social Media nightmares have on reputations in the long term search results. What effect does a successful meme or social campaign actually have for a brand? Does “joining in” a meme in the right time have any real, long term lasting effect for a brand?
The Value Of A Well Timed Meme
I think a prime example we can use for this is the recent trend of “Harlem Shaking” that has been spreading around the Internet. It is pretty much over by now, perhaps thankfully before we all gave ourselves concussions.
All we can do is wait for the next big meme to bubble up. Then, jumping on board a trend like this takes quick action and precise execution.
Well, Not Really…
You pretty much just have to get it done.
And truthfully, all the value comes from that immediate moment that you take it live.
You will get:
- People talking about your brand
- Added affinity and a more human connection to your audience for relationship building
- Maybe (maybe) get a link or 2 out of it.
That’s not to say that there isn’t value in being “the first” to recreate the latest trend. But I can’t comfortably attribute long term success to the participation in an online meme.
I will prove it…
Celebrity PR Nightmares
What happens when they become the center of a social media disaster, or they themselves become an Internet meme?
Let’s explore a few recent “newsworthy” stories.
Beyoncé Looking Fierce
How has the recent “Beyoncé muscle” meme affected her? With the spike in overall interest from the Superbowl, I narrowed it down to show the trend which clearly had to do with the meme.
But when you look at the search results from today, there really has been no impact on her brand:
Obviously on more direct queries, these images will be front and center, but nothing really for her brand.
Manti Te’o and His Girl Troubles
Surely all the social media buzz and parodies about his “girlfriend” must have created some sort tarnish on his name queries, right?
One article on deadspin and one bad image about his alleged lady problems. Other than that, nothing really, and this is quite recent.
Plagued by two horrendous hashtag attempts, one being the utter failure that was #mcDstories and the other very awkward, but timely (since ‘tis the season) #shamrocking.
Have a look at how Shamrock Shakes trends consistently ever year.
So in conclusion, participate in all the memes you want, they will not help you rank long term…
False… Memes Do Help You Rank!
You might be thinking, Aaron, you just proved to me that they are useless in long term ranking. And on their own merits, this is true. In fact, it seems that these memes don’t help or hurt individuals at all for more general queries long term.
However, as a brand continuously participates in memes and other online trends, they demonstrate sides that make their audience feel a deeper connection to them. It sends the human message that “we can be fun and normal and not all business, so pay attention to us”. This is why Oreo practically won the Superbowl, despite what the scoreboard said.
People want to relate to a brand. Being top of the search engine doesn’t replace being top of mind. The Internet is a tool to drive people to your brand and memes are a creative outlet to help deepen this relationship. These quick and immediate wins are what keep your audience coming back for more.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
Kick off each Monday with the best news and ideas in social media.