It was in 1976 that the word 'memes' first appeared in the book, The Selfish Gene by popular biologist, Richard Dawkins. And since then, it has revealed the source of most characters found in both physical and online communities.
Memes are a core fabric of society today - from the food we eat, clothes we wear, talking patterns, how we text, etc. They enable us to identify with several other people who share similar experiences, ideas and attractions with us in a natural way.
In this piece, we deep-dived into the concept of memes in web3 communities, why they are important, and how you can start using them.
Why Memes Are Important in Web3 Communities
In an age where people prefer to consume information more swiftly, memes serve as a means to attract people to your project and capture their hearts rapidly without making them read long-form technical whitepapers.
Crypto communities that spend all the time discussing their whitepapers, codes they need to implement, next product, etc. are usually boring and often fail to gain traction. While these discussions are critical for the growth of your project, they appeal only to the logic of people.
Memes are what turn on the emotional part of your community. People apply both logic and emotions in all they do and if you fail to appeal to both you'll struggle to win them over.
Memes harness the key logics of online culture - sociability, replicability, and participation. - Alice Marwick
Many innovative crypto projects with exciting utility fail to make the headlines because they fail to get their community emotionally connected to the value they provide.
Moreover, you can easily create memes online and command attention in far less time than it will take you to start convincing people about the value your project provides. Plus the accelerated movement of memes like viruses on social media channels enhances your reach.
For example, when UST launched in September 2020, there were many flaws in its mechanism for achieving parity with the US dollar. Several experts even pointed out possible failures that the mechanism can cause, but Do Kwon was quite an expert at weaving memes into his audacious tweets.
Hence, helping Terra to attract a vibrant community of 'LUNAtics' that helped propelled the market capitalization UST to over $18 billion in less than two years.
This is in no way undermining the importance of having a well-thought project as UST eventually came crash landing. However, the lesson to take home is the power memes play in getting people to believe in your project in a space that suffers from harsh criticism.
As a result, it's safe to conclude that one of the most profound crypto community-building strategies is a clever combination of amazing utility + captivating memes.
The simplicity and humor of memes enable you to communicate the feelings of your project to the community while entertaining them alongside.
90% of internet users spend so much time on social media because they want to get entertained and when you integrate that effect on the utility your project offers through memes, it glues them to your community.
Without memes, the world of web3 is a technical island of cryptographic jargons reserved only for hardcore web developers
For example, pre-2021, NFTs were an abstract concept for internet users to make sense of, talk more of purchasing with millions of naira. However, the memetic effect of the Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) gave it a kind of stickiness that caused a downpour of NFT-centered conversations and projects across the crypto community.
This explains why a project with zero utility like Dogecoin has an astounding market capitalization of $8 billion. Some founders find it difficult to understand why such projects succeed and theirs fail even after providing amazing features.
While it's easy to attribute success to fate or luck, the mimetic effect of these projects proves otherwise.
Cryptocurrency can be made less fragile through conducive and consistent memetic branding. - Chris Gabriel
In a space like web3 where the top performing projects all have rainbows of mimetic effects spanning across their communities, your project will be consumed by the flood without the proper memes that help you stand out.
According to Richard Dawkins, memes act somewhat like genes and their success lies in the ability to replicate themselves in people. The right memes give that stickiness to your project that enables your vision to replicate itself across your community effortlessly. Like viruses, it spreads in no time among community members.
How to Use Memes In Your Crypto Community
Now that you understand the importance of employing memes in your project's growth, the next step is to leverage them to boost community engagements. But how do you use memes in a web3 community?
While memes are easy to create, you must plan and strategize on how to use them correctly or else they won't yield the desired result. Below we outlined simple steps to help you:
- Know your audience
- Understand situations and how to leverage them
- Develop your own voice (Be authentic)
- Keep it funny and simple
Know Your Audience
When we surf the web, we encounter hundreds of memes daily, but only a few tickle our emotions. Before reading this piece, you may have come across some and ignored them. This is because memes - like the billions of contents on the internet - are created specifically with personas in mind.
For example, the meme below will make no sense to people who aren't football fans as they may know nothing of the game of football.
You must understand the basic character and differences of your community members and how to flick their emotions with your memes. This enables you to push out memes that they can easily relate to and share online. For example, if you're building a crypto exchange, crypto trading memes like the one below will drive more attention than the ones that are focused on DAO voting rights.
Understand Situations and How to Leverage Them
Posting the right meme at the wrong time will leave you with this feeling (meme image). I bet you don't want to feel that way.
One of the best ways to get meme ideas that will make it from the meme pool and attract people is by leveraging ongoing discussions in your community or general trends.
During bearish markets, memes that are centered around making losses in your portfolio or the term 'HODL' thrive above other types.
You can even decide to go outside the whole crypto playbook and create memes around major world events like Thanksgiving, Mothers/Fathers Day, Children's Day, etc. This enables you to connect on a more personal level with your community members, as they will understand you also care about humanity and the basics of life.
When it's all about your crypto project and all it has to offer, your memes will become predictable and less appealing.
Develop Your Own Voice (Be Authentic)
Your community members are also probably members of other crypto communities and they can easily spot it when you always copy and paste memes.
While it's natural to share some general popular memes in your community, you don't want to go overboard by becoming a meme distribution channel.
Your memes should be brand-specific, communicate your vision, and drive discussions about your project. You have to creatively work on memes that will become the language of your community in the long run.
The uniqueness of a meme often plays a huge role in the sense of belonging it commands and the vigor with which community members share it online. Members of the LUNA community were spreading the #LUNAtics hashtag because:
1. It was a fresh concept
2. It showed their participation/belonging in the LUNA movement.
While you may not entirely create something new, you can cleverly combine the ideas behind other memes to create unique memes. After all, nothing is new under the sun.
Keep it funny and simple
Memes are meant to be brief and funny. Doing otherwise may see the meme not achieving its original purpose. The reason it's a meme is so that you won't spend time explaining the message you want to pass across.
Some memes fail to hit their target because the creators include unnecessary details that community members can't derive any meaning from. Add that blend of humor along with your message in a simple way.
In as much as you want to be funny, there's a thin line between joke and offence. You don't want to offend other community members in a bid to impress some.
Watch your language and the feelings it will provoke in people and ensure everyone gets carried along. You may want to consider testing a meme within a small personal group before using it in your community.
Building your crypto community has never been this exciting and simple. But do you know it can get much easier than this?
Reach out to our team of community building and marketing experts at SIGNVM to show you how.