Up until now, Instagram meme channels were largely photo posts and the occasional short video post (usually a GIF “graphics interchange format” – a file type that allows for combining static and animated images). Many top Instagram meme channel creators often remained anonymous, amassing hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of followers in a few short years without attaching a face or personality to these accounts.
Due to their popularity, Instagram meme channels have evolved leveraging not only their massive fan bases and universal millennial appeal, but also being on the forefront of social media trends (i.e. novel uses of Instagram Stories and other emerging social media features). Check out the ways Instagram meme channels have evolved into some of the biggest brands by creating relatable memes and establishing businesses both on and off social media.
Instagram meme channels are some of the most engaging channels and accounts on social media — most top Instagram meme channels routinely get thousands of comments, shares/tags, and likes per post. Beyond social engagement, Instagram meme channels have evolved rapidly by non-meme based content, launching full-scale production teams, and starting entire e-commerce businesses.
Instagram meme channels were among the first to recognize the potential of well-timed and crafted memes on social media. Now, many top meme pages are expanding and pioneering their content through Instagram Stories. Stories, a new type of media content developed originally by Snapchat but popularized by Facebook and Instagram, feature photo and video snippets with annotations, animations, geotagging, and filters. Stories are updated throughout the day and disappear after 24 hours.
Top Instagram meme accounts utilize Instagram Stories to diversify the social media content they offer. By using the saved Stories feature (Stories disappear after 24 hours unless archived or saved), meme channels are creating short video memes, running Instagram giveaways, or creating content around specific themes.
While some Instagram meme creators still chose to be anonymous in their photo and video page content, Instagram Stories has enabled many creators to share behind-the-scenes moments or even reveal their previously hidden identities and personalities. Speaking to their audience as a real person allows creators to connect more frequently and authentically with their ardent fans and followers.
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With the ability to save and group Instagram Stories into distinct themes, meme channels are using this feature to create short skits around popular topics (e.g. Ask [Influencer], Q & A’s, “Betchelor”)
Creating short skits with Instagram Stories gives popular meme channels a new way to connect and share content in a different and refreshing angle previously most commonly seen with YouTuber skits.
Another way Instagram meme channels are evolving is the monetization of their pages and content. Many popular meme channels are creating businesses or selling merchandise related to their channel content as a way to generate revenue from the memes, popular sayings, and content themes that gave rise to their fame.
The Fat Jewish rose to acclaim from his well-timed pop culture memes — a lot of them including content on the popular millennial drink of choice, rosé. After reaching critical mass, Josh Ostrovsky, founder of The Fat Jewish meme channel, launched a whole line of alcoholic beverages in order to capitalize on his existing base of wine and rosé meme lovers.
In addition to meme-related products, other Instagram meme channels like My Therapist Says are launching clothing lines. Similar to popular YouTubers, some meme creators are now penning their own books as a result of their internet popularity.
The talent behind hit Instagram meme channels are some of the best content creators with a deep understanding of audiences and what will resonate precisely with certain demographics. Aside from growing their own channels from scratch, some meme creators have taken their knack for creating “viral” content and created entire digital agencies.
Since launching his original channel Fuck Jerry in 2012, founder Elliot Tebele has gone on to create several other viral meme channels including @beigecardigan in collaboration with his wife, @kanyedoingthings, and @pizza.
After achieving success after success with each Instagram meme page, Tebele partnered with his childhood friend, Elie Ballas, to create Jerry Media, a full-service agency. Jerry Media produces social media content, offers social media management, and creates experiential events.
In similar, top meme channel @betches has grown into a full-blown digital media operation complete with a website, clothing line, multiple related brands (all under the “betches” umbrella) and book. The site functions much like other popular female-centric news and media outlets (e.g. Refinery29, Jezebel).
Instagram meme channels are some of the most engaging and well-liked pages on social media with millions of followers who eagerly await the next blockbuster meme to share, Tweet, and tag friends. As such, brands and businesses have partnered with top Instagram meme channels to reach Millennials and target specific consumer interest online.
The millennial-centric audience and nature of many popular Instagram meme channels and the format of memes themselves have allowed brands to message engaged audiences in a humorous and off-the-cuff way.
As the above-mentioned partnerships suggest, meme channels have proved suitable for a variety of brands across different advertiser verticals.
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When compared to other social media platforms and influencers, Instagram meme channels are a relatively new phenomenon. As demonstrated in their rapid evolution, Instagram meme channels are quick to adopt new trends, innovate with emerging social media features, and leverage both pop culture news and millennial tastes to create truly viral content.
Instagram meme channels are savvy social media experts, and their expertise lends itself well to other business pursuits including e-commerce, merchandise, and digital agency success.
Where do you think Instagram meme channels are headed next?