You’ve probably seen the work of Elliot Tebele—more commonly known by his handle, f*ckjerry—floating around Instagram. His account curates many of the funniest memes and trending pieces of comedy from around the internet. (You know all of those Joe Biden jokes? Yeah, lots of them came from f*ckjerry.)
But there’s more to f*ckjerry than just the lolz—Tebele is part of Jerry Media, a full-fledged media company that’s redefining the ad space, one meme at a time. Tebele and three members of the Jerry Media crew—Chief Content Officer James Ohliger, cofounder Elie Ballas, and CEO Mick Purzycki—shared their thoughts on turning Instagram posts into a business and the components of every perfect meme during a South by Southwest panel. Read on for tips on making every post a spicy post, straight from the bros who do it best.
Make it relatable
According to the Jerry Media crew, their most successful posts are the ones that viewers relate to the most.
“The heart and soul of a meme is relatability,” Tebele said. That’s why Jerry Media operates 20 different accounts with specific audiences in mind—for example, beigecardigan, which is run by Tebele’s wife Jessica Anteby, brings a more feminine voice, and Tim(eme) draws in a lot of middle school kids.
So, keep your audience in mind as you’re creating new posts, and ask yourself what you think they’d want to see.
Make it memorable
You can’t just take anything slightly relatable, slap a caption on it, and call it a day.
“The joke has to make sense and provide a certain amount of shock value,” Tebele said. But not too shocking—it still has to be funny.
Pay attention to pop culture
The team stressed that it’s important to understand trends and pop culture to be relevant and relatable to your viewers. Images also trend, so take a look at which memes, images, and topics are trending and work from there. A well-timed celebrity joke can’t hurt, either.
Always shout-out when you borrow content
Not all posts are going to be 100-percent original when you’re working in meme-land, and that’s OK—just be sure to give credit where credit is due. When something is borrowed, Tebele and Co. always give attribution to the original post, image, or account—but they also make sure to put their own spin on it.
Maintain your identity—even with sponsored posts
Because of Jerry Media’s broad reach—f*ckjerry alone has 11.4 million followers—and natural connection to younger audiences, brands have been jumping at the chance to partner with them. Jerry Media has become a full-service digital marketing agency, focused on media buying and social media growth. They have two core business prongs: marketing and media. They also have an in-house studio to create content for their personal Instagram accounts as well as the brands they represent.
However, the sponsored posts and ads Jerry Media creates for their brand partners maintain the same look and feel as their other posts—they’re still funny and shareable, and they follow the same photo/caption format. Honestly, unless you read the tags at the bottom (and yes, the team always labels brand posts accordingly), you might not even realize you just saw an ad.
Yeah, that’s the (somewhat evil) genius behind their style.