Meme communication has a longer history than you might think. This form of communication was first coined back in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene. Although the concept is not new, its effects have been consistent throughout generations. Memes always had a tendency to “spread like wildfire” or in this day and age, “go viral.” If you are just totally lost and wondering what on earth do I mean by meme, I will use trusty ol’ Wikipedia to define it for you! “A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena.”
Nowadays, a meme unit, particularly one found on the internet, has some visual component to it, and hence, they are a great way to spread an entertaining message to almost anyone willing to give up 2 seconds of their life. Remember the saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? The same is true for motivational sayings. Although, a more appropriate saying is, few precise words have greater value than blah, blah, blah ~ Unknown. Motivational sayings are pretty much self-explanatory and that is why I will not bore you with the history of them. I did, however, use one in this post as an example.
Let me now get to the point – MARKETING. If you’re running an online blog for your fitness club, memes and quotes could not only be used as a source of entertainment and fun, but can also piggyback your other online marketing campaigns.
So the question I hope to answer is, as a gym business owner, what should you consider before using memes and motivational quotes for your gym business marketing content?
Here are 4 helpful tips on how to use memes and quotes to improve your gym’s social media status and to protect your gym business:
#1 Stay Relevant to Health & Fitness Topics
When looking for a meme to share or to creatively generate on your own, you will have to choose memes and motivational sayings that are relevant to your gym members and the health and fitness services that you offer. As a gym owner, it could be really easy for you or an employee in charge of marketing to get caught up in the moment and want to “share” what is trendy and funny. After you find one that you think is worth sharing, take a moment, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you understand all of the memes’ connotations?
- Could you offend or lose members over sharing it through your business?
- Did you get a second opinion to make sure the message you want to relay is clear and understandable?
- Will the message discourage or ENCOURAGE your gym members to take an affirmative action towards improving their health and/or fitness goals?
The only point that I want to convey in submitting these questions for your consideration is that it never hurts to take a step back and think about your goal in sharing the meme, whether or not you are fulfilling that goal, and how it will ultimately effect your gym business.
#2 Consider the Legal Stuff
I know I may be putting a damper on this post by bringing up the law…but whether you are generating your own gym meme or you are using one that already exists, remember that legal ignorance is NOT a defense. Legal stuff is something that every business owner must consider and weigh carefully. After all, if you own a business, you are always at a risk of losing something! Although I am no lawyer, I found a great article that breaks down all the legal issues surrounding the use of memes, including copyright, trademark infringement, and the right to privacy/publicity. If interested in further details, Attorney Andy Goldstein breaks down all these issues in his article Technology: Internet Memes Pose Legal Questions.
#3 Be Quick to Pull the Trigger
After you decide that the meme or quote will fulfill your communication purpose, and you have considered it legally, do not wait too long before sharing it. You have to be quick on your feet in deciding to use the meme or quote alone or as part of another marketing campaign. If you are using the unit as a piggyback to a campaign, be sure to tie it appropriately and TIMELY. Then distribute quickly on all social media sites that your gym business has. In addition to using social media sites, you can also spread gym memes and syndication using wide variety of syndication sites, or include them to your blog posts, or send it along in your newsletter.
You know how it feels when the radio just plays the same song over and over, every hour? The same is true for memes and quotes. Your gym members (followers) can grow tired of seeing and reading them over and over. So, you need to know when the trend has run its course and stop distribution before your members stop following you!
Over to you…
Has your gym center had success with meme marketing?
What was your best meme marketing campaign?
Please weigh in with any tips of your own too!