"Meme Style" videos have taken off on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other short-form video platforms. Popularized by Gary Vaynerchuk and many others,  the "Meme Style" technique - a title, 16:9 video, and subtitles on a square post - is a great way to reach browsers on social media with video and audio content.

In this post, I'll describe how to make meme style videos using a free online editing suite called Kapwing. Designed for social media managers, Kapwing's Subtitle Maker and Studio speed up the "Meme Style" editing process, saving social media creators  a lot of time and headache. It's a great technique for repurposing content and syndicating content across channels.

Why do "Meme Style" videos work so well?

Three reasons that every social media creator should use the "Meme Style" technique:

  1. They lead with thumb-stopping title, something that gives the user immediate reason to stop scrolling through the feed and watch some of the video. A title  gives the user context on the clip they're about to watch.
  2. The square size (or 4:5) takes up more vertical space than a landscape video in the social media feed so that your video captures more real estate. You literally amplify your brand's presence by resizing the video and making it larger.
  3. The Subtitles get your message to people browsing social media with the sound turned off. Several studies say that 85% of all social media consumers watch muted. At the office, on the bus, in the bathroom: there are thousands of reasons why someone would be looking through social media with no audio. Even when the sound is on, captions help viewers with hearing impediments and makes the dialogue clearer and more memorable.

Below is a step-by-step tutorial for making meme style videos using Kapwing. When you're done, your video should look something like this:

Step 1: Film a Video

Just like any other content, your Meme Style video will only be as good as the story you tell or the message your convey. Think about how you can concisely communicate a story or message, then film a well-lit selfie video addressing it.

In my example, I filmed a webcam video about making stop motion videos for Instagram. Before filming the video, I jotted down an outline of what I was going to say. Make sure to smile, find good lighting, and show your eyes/face in the video!

Step 2: Upload Your Video to Kapwing

Head to the Kapwing website and click the purple "Get Started" button. You won't need to install any software, and Kapwing is free to use and works on phones, tablets, and computers.

Once you get to the Kapwing Studio, start with a blank canvas. Upload your video onto the digital canvas, or click "Upload" to import your video from YouTube.

Step 3: Style the video and create

First, resize the video canvas to square and position your video in the center. The 1:1 aspect ratio gives you more space to add the title above the video and the subtitles below.

Then, use the "Add Text" tool to insert a title on the top half of the photo. Change the font, color, and size of the text to match your brand and visual aesthetic. You can also insert stickers or emojis to add emphasis.

Add brand elements, like a custom color background, watermark, or logo, on your video. But leave the bottom half of the video blank! This is where the subtitles will go in Step 4.

Once your video preview looks correct, click "Publish" to process the video and get the MP4. Download the video to upload to the Subtitle Maker in Step 4!

Step 4: Add Subtitles

The final step is to add subtitles to the bottom half of your video. Open Kapwing's Subtitle Maker from the homepage, or go to kapwing.com/subtitles.

Upload your square "Meme Style" video to Kapwing's Caption Maker. Then, you can manually transcribe your video (if it's short) or use the "Auto-Transcribe" button to automatically get the captions. Note that Kapwing's automatic transcription is only about 90% correct, so you'll need to go through to manually tweak and adjust the text and timing.

Once all of the text and timings are in place, use the left-hand panel to adjust the style of the caption text. You can change the size, color, position, and font of the subtitles to make them fit your brand style guide. If you have a Kapwing Pro account, you can download the SRT file after editing to save the subtitles on your computer or upload them natively to social media.

Once you've created your video, click "CREATE" to process the subtitled video. Kapwing will process your completed "Meme Style" video and return it to you to publish on social media. Since Kapwing is fully online, you can always go back to "Edit" the subtitle text if you notice a typo or realize the timing is off.

Conclusion

Meme Style videos are a popular format, but it can be difficult to get started if you don't have any video editing expertise. Kapwing makes this a non-issue with a fast and simple interface appropriate for beginners and experts alike.

We're also a small startup, so please reach out if you have questions, problems, or ideas for improvement. Have fun at Build Your Audience Live, and go Kapwing!