They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in Alex from Target's case, a picture is worth over 500,000 Twitter followers.
Alex, now better known as #AlexFromTarget, was just a normal guy who worked at Target until this Sunday when he became the Internet's newest favorite meme. Twitter user @auscalem (now private) shared a photo of the young male cashier at Target with the caption "YOOOOOOOOOO" and suddenly, Twitter users everywhere starting sharing the photo and talking about "Alex from Target," many of them using the photo to create memes. (You can see many of those memes on BuzzFeed.)
In fact, if you search the keywords "Alex from Target" on social analytics website Topsy, you'll find that within the past few days, over 1.1 million people have tweeted about him. Alex took to his own Twitter account Sunday to ask, "Am i [sic] famous now?" which got over 38,000 retweets. His account now has over 546,000 followers, and yesterday, celebrity talk show host Ellen DeGeneres invited him to be on her show. She wrote, "Hey, #AlexFromTarget, it's #EllenFromEllen."
Perhaps the best thing about Alex's overnight fame is how Target responded to the situation. Target's Twitter account wrote, "We heart Alex, too! #alexfromtarget" alongside an image of Alex's nametag. Simple, yet effective — a tweet from Target's account the previous day announcing a sale received 103 retweets and 134 favorites, but their supportive #AlexFromTarget tweet hit 28,000 retweets and 43,000 favorites. And that's the power of memes.
Memes, by definition, are already viral on the Internet, so it can be tempting to latch on to them in marketing strategies and advertisements. But memes are trickier than you might think, and while Target responded to #AlexFromTarget very well, many brands fail to use them correctly.
Thinking about using memes for your next marketing campaign? Read more about the do's and don'ts in our guide to understanding Internet memes.
Originally published on Business News Daily.