“Hey, I got that reference!!”

JULY 27, 2018
|IN CULTURE

Social media is a casual platform for people to express themselves, share what they are interested in,
and follow brands and personalities they are interested in. This platform enables businesses to connect
with consumers in ways they were unable to 10 years ago, and to constantly progress, businesses need
to adapt to these new platforms. Since social media is so causal, business cannot use the same verbiage
that they would on a typical website or advertisement; they need to get more casual and funky with the
wording. That’s were pop culture can help. Pop culture references in social media marketing engages
consumers using their interests in movies, books, celebrities, and current events that are influential to
their personal lives.

The most important thing is to look at your audience and determine what references they are going to
understand. A group of accountants who are 40+ are probably not going to understand a reference to
the “road work ahead” vine, just like a group of college aged men probably are not going to understand
a reference to Johanna Gaines. Using colloquial humor is one of the few times you should make
generalizations about groups because you need to ensure that whatever reference you are using is
instantly understood by the majority of the audience; you can’t hope that just 2 or 3 people in the group
are going to get it while confusing or segmenting the other 99%. A perfect example of this is the
Deadpool movies. They use a heap of pop culture references, and many of them came from movies with
similar audiences such as Batman, RoboCop, Terminator, and Stranger Things. Almost all of these were
one-liners (which are perfect for social media posts) and provided a lot of intriguing laughable moments.
They forced the audience to pay attention to the dialogue because they wanted more moments of “Hey,
I understand that reference!”

Pop culture changes by the hour, so it is both difficult and vital to stay current. Things like sassy Willy
Wonka and Grumpy Cat are yesterday’s meme, so it’s best to not use it. Using something outdated
makes your company seem behind the times and shows you aren’t a fresh and fun company, so having
at least one person who has seen a tremendous number of movies or is a Meme-God will benefit your
social media presence greatly. A fitting example of a bad use of an old meme is from the movie Black
Panther. Now, I loved this movie and thought the movie and soundtrack was very current. That being
said, when T’challa’s sister screams “What are those!?!” in the middle of the movie, literally my whole
body cringed. As am writing about it right now I’m cringing. That meme has been deceased for quite
some time, and the writers using it really confused me and made me wonder if they would have other
cheesy lines or ideas in the movie.

With all of this, remember to be subtle with your use of pop culture. You don’t want to clutter every
sentence with vine reference because that is just overkill, especially on social media when usable
characters are limited. Having one reference per post is plenty. To continue with the Deadpool example
from earlier, Buzzfeed had an article of all the pop culture references in Deadpool 2 and the list had 58
items on it. 58!!! That doesn’t even count all the references that were pointed out in the comments of
that Buzzfeed article. When the list gets that long, pop culture is becoming a distraction rather than a
quick attention grabber.

So now that you are equipped with knowledge about the proper use of pop culture, particularly with
social media, its time for you to get out there and put a little fresh and fun funkiness into your social
medias!