Feeling that meme accounts are taking over your social media feeds? The format is ubiquitous these days, including on Instagram, where accounts like Kale Salad and Daquan have amassed millions of followers and become brands.

While these calculations may seem silly and pointless, like the silly stone from your high school, most of them are actually strategic and successful – like that stoner who grows up to be Steve Jobs.

Here are a few marketing lessons you can learn from the coolest meme accounts on Instagram.

10 things meme accounts get right about Instagram marketing

1. They know the value of a great caption

Instagram captions increase engagement when done well, and this is one area where meme accounts thrive.

Captions tend to be short and simple, making them easy to read even when scrolling through the feed. Short titles are also always displayed in full; this means users can get the whole post without clicking the whole post.

Meme captions also often add another layer to the joke in the photo or video.

Many accounts use longer texts to tell stories or connect with followers, and some even post blog-like content in their titles. While long captions can be effective, they require more investment from your target audience. Meme accounts prove that short captions can also work for engagement.

2. They have a wide appeal

This seems to be inherent in the concept of a meme defined by its popularity. But meme accounts are good at turning obscure or niche source material into an accessible, widely appealing joke.

For example, @classic.art.memes combines fine art with relatable captions. Even if you don’t know much about art history, you can still laugh at this post.

This does not mean that you should try to appeal to everyone and create the widest possible content. But all brands should consider who their target audience is and make sure they produce content that appeals to their interests and knowledge.

3. They have a consistent aesthetic

Meme aesthetics are instantly recognizable: often familiar images or silly photos with text superimposed or over the image.

Sometimes it’s just text or screenshots taken from Twitter or Tumblr. But every time you see one, you immediately know it’s a meme.

The recognizability of meme posts proves that consistency is important in building your brand on Instagram. Ideally, you want your followers to know that they’ve seen a post or Story from you before they check the account.

Some meme accounts now follow a more typical “Instagram” aesthetic, resulting in a hybrid style: meme and theme accounts. They are like beautifully packaged gag gifts and are especially popular with young people.

The meme-and-theme accounts also show that some creators are trying to stand out from other meme makers by developing a more prominent look that’s something a little nicer than Lisa Simpson and her coffee.

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4. They know their audience

Meme accounts definitely have mass appeal, but they also target a specific audience. Generally speaking, millennials and millennials are the ones who spend a lot of time on the internet, consume a lot of media, and have a cynical sense of humor.

But meme accounts also create different identities that are compatible with their audience. @mytherapist describes the challenges of “adulthood” for women with memes about work and relationship anxiety, while @journal leans towards younger teens (but still women). Some are more niche: @jakesastrology makes memes for astrology lovers with a surprisingly large demographic.

While some meme accounts are run by businesses (@journal is one), many have become popular because they produce content for peers with similar humor and pop culture tastes.

This originality, “How are you guys?” It helped them avoid the question. the awkwardness that occurs when corporate brands try to look young.

This does not mean that companies can only successfully reach audiences that are similar to them; however, this means that real understanding is required for connection.

5. Highlights

if you take deja vu As you scroll through your feed, you are not alone. Photos on Instagram are starting to look the same, thanks to the power of visual trends.

This is strongly documented by @insta_repeat, an account that documents popular themes on the platform. Canoes is a big one:

Breast calculations are separated from this formula. Their posts may not be pretty, but they grab your attention because they’re unlike anything else. In fact, the unattractive appearance of meme posts is often intentional, the Instagram version of “Internet Ugly.”

This helps them stand out even from posts with similar content. You’ve probably seen a million cute dog photos on Instagram. But how often do you see someone like that?

A beach dog blown by the wind may not make sense to your brand, but the lesson applies: staying away from the herd can work.

6. They create shareable content

Every brand wants its content to spread. Most try to achieve this through quality: great blog posts (hello!), beautiful pictures, informative newsletters.

But meme accounts are mostly based on accessible, instantly recognizable stupidity.

Their jokes work because they connect with each other and draw on a pop culture source that most of their followers understand. Almost 75,000 people liked this post by @daddyissues_ because Friends and Nicolas Cage are common cultural ground.

Besides increasing positive engagement, this is also a smart strategy for audience growth. The comments on meme posts are full of users tagging friends who find them funny. These friends will press follow after they finish laughing.

7. They benefit from FOMO

A constant challenge for brands is to get their audience to see their content. This has long been an issue on Facebook, where organic engagement has fallen sharply. Many expect the same thing to eventually happen on Instagram.

There are many tips to increase your organic engagement on social media. But some meme accounts use an ingenious and surprising tactic: making their accounts private.

Private accounts are private in nature. This naturally triggers FOMO among outside Instagram users who want to find out what they’re missing.

With a public account, you have less incentive to follow as you can check their feed at any time. But with a private account, you need to register.

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As a result, new followers get excited when their follow request is accepted, while existing followers feel special because they are always in. It creates a sense of loyalty and community that strengthens commitment.

8. They partner with brands that fit their values

It may surprise you to know that meme accounts can (and can!) post sponsored content. With their large, highly engaged audiences, they are desirable partners for brands. Moreover, they do sponsored content really well.

Sponsored posts always follow general content strategies. This is because their meme accounts are skilled at identifying partners who fit their values.


And since meme accounts post so often, it never dominates sponsored content feeds. Instead, they offer a good balance between original content and the occasional advertisement.

9. They are up to date

On February 19, a freak Nike shoe “explosion” occurred during a college basketball game. The next day, @middleclassfancy, an account that specializes in jokes about not-so-cool brands and products, recounted the event with a post about Costco sneakers:

Mid-range Fantasy meme about Nike sneakers

While many brands struggle to keep up with the fast meme lifecycle, meme accounts are succeeding by quickly turning each new cultural event into content. The show Marie Kondo on Netflix predictably sparked a wave of memes:


Meme accounts have always been at the pinnacle of popular culture, in part because they’re small operations – often run by a single person – which means no marketing team needs to review and sign every post.

This allows them to act fast and test a form of joke to see if it works for the audience. If so, it’s likely to be copied in the meme universe (remember life before Careless Boyfriend?)

take away? Be agile and run lots of tests on your content. It will help you find out what your audience likes, and you can even catch the next wave of memes before they’re gone.

10. They are mysterious

More than ever, brands are open and in touch with their audience. Customers expect authenticity and transparency from companies in exchange for their loyalty. And many brands have found success adopting increasingly casual and familiar tones on social media. Wendy’s infamously sarcastic Twitter.

However, this approach can backfire when viewers start to feel that brands are getting too personal on social media:

This is another area where most meme accounts take the opposite approach. They are largely anonymous, and in some cases, their secrecy has made them more interesting to fans. @daquan gained millions of followers while hiding his identity (which has since surfaced).

There are very few mysteries left on the Internet. Even the people who manage brands are as effective as the brands themselves (Jenna Lyons effect). Therefore, it makes sense for viewers to find an enigma appealing.

There’s no way companies can try and imitate this strategy (or even a good idea!). But when launching a new campaign or product, it’s worth remembering that a little mystery goes a long way.

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