The Meme’s the Thing

The Meme’s the Thing image Barbies Just Werent My Thing Share ImageThe Meme's the ThingMemes are a big deal these days. You can’t go on Facebook without seeing a new version of the Grumpy Cat, or the Most Interesting Man in the World, or perhaps some variation on the “Keep Calm” theme. If you’re not sure about this whole meme thing, check out Know Your Meme, and you might just get it.

A picture hits the web and people start making their own, either with their own Photoshop skills or through a service like the Meme Generator. Others might do their own version of a popular video, perhaps lip-syncing to a song. Some memes take off, while others whither and die.

OK, so memes are fun. They make us laugh. Sometimes they make us laugh so hard we cry. Sometimes they make us think. Very often we like them so much they compel us to share them.

But what if they could also make us some cash?

That’s where the start-up MemeToPrint comes in, giving you the chance to not only create your own meme, but helping you push it out both online and offline while getting the chance to monetize your meme. The cool thing about MemeToPrint is that in true Internet fashion it was started by two people who met online, my friends Kat Krieger and Ryan Cox. Normal interaction via Facebook, comments on a picture of Kat’s daughter, and the next thing you know, they’re starting a business. I love when that kind of thing happens.

The thing I love about this idea is that there are very real small business and non-profit applications to this. You see, the thing about memes is that you can’t fully predict or define them. It’s like a video. People make videos hoping they’ll go viral, but they rarely do. Then again, the definition of viral can be different for different videos. For many small businesses or non-profits, all they care about are a few thousand views in their local region. That’s viral enough for them.

Consider the possibilities. As I sit here writing this, I’m thinking about how my small business and non-profit clients could take advantage of this.

Rather than just jumping on the latest trend, perhaps there is an image of your own that you can capitalize on. Turn it into a meme that helps define who you are, either as an individual, or perhaps a business or non-profit. Take that meme, upload it to MemeToPrint, and suddenly you have the chance to not only get the meme shared on a wider basis, but also to monetize it. How cool would it be to see people wearing your meme t-shirt around town?

And of course you can get your fans and customers on board and do a little meme crowdsourcing. Get user generated and submitted content, perhaps through a contest, as they submit either their own images, or create captions for the images you provide. Let them vote on their favorites. Get them involved and they’ll be more likely to share it online or purchase your meme-laden products. A sense of ownership can be a wonderful thing. I can think of plenty of ways this would work for my clients, and I have one friend in another state in mind who could really use this in big ways. A small business owner with a strong social presence, and his own name and image closely tied with that business. His customers would eat something like this up. (And, yes, I will be contacting him with the idea).

Once you upload your business or non-profit related meme to MemeToPrint, you have the ability to then have it placed on t-shirts, and eventually other items, which can be purchased by you and your supporters. Plus the mechanism is in place to have them spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or any other platform.

Create a meme, and then monetize it while hoping it will go viral.

Will it work every time? Probably not. But now there is a platform in place to help you get there and it’s worth a shot and could be a cool way to extend your branding.

Or, you can just use it on your own and have some fun!

How do you see something like MemeToPrint fitting into your business model and marketing mix?

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