July 2, 2014

Why Brands Should Use GIFs

When the long-awaited news that Twitter now supports animated GIFs broke, not only did meme-savvy internet users rejoice by tweeting their all-time favorite GIFs, but many brands jumped into the celebration as well.

The fact is, animated GIFs have been a part of the world of online memes for quite some time now, going viral across social media platforms like Reddit and Tumblr. When a format gains enough attention, it’s only natural for marketers to start dabbling with it and using it as a tool for branding. There’s even a Best Use of Animated GIFs category for the Shorty Awards specifically honoring brands for their creative use of GIFs in their social media marketing.

But before we get into why brands should use GIFs, I recommend watching this video on the History of Animated GIFs (just to brush up on exactly what the medium is). Don’t worry, the video is short and informative just like a GIF!

Now that we’re all caught up on what a GIF is, let’s get down to some reasons why your brand should use GIFs in your social media marketing.

Easy to Absorb

It’s no surprise that, when it comes to advertising, our online attention spans have shrunk down to 15 seconds. A GIF can be a perfect solution for capturing your audience’s attention in a fun way without intruding in on their online experience. Have a new product coming out? Make a GIF of a series of product shots and the release date with your website for people to get the message in 10 frames or less. GIFs are more visually exciting than a picture and can tell a story like a video without the length and noise — a happy medium between the two!

Exciting CTAs

Nothing makes it more obvious to a consumer that they’re being advertised to than reading a piece of content that starts with “Click here if…” or “Buy now!” GIFs lead your eyes without feeling forced and could leave your viewer wanting to know more.

Convey Emotion and Be Relatable

As a community manager, I engage with hundreds of people each day through various brand pages across multiple social media channels. This can be a tedious task as you want to find the most relateable way to respond while also conveying a positive emotion. Depending on the brand, being quirky and quick-witted is the key to continuing conversation and motivating other fans to reach out. Sometimes, words just aren’t enough to capture an emotion or thought — and that’s when the trusted GIF saves the day. A quick key-word search on Giphy can pull up pages of people cheering for excitement, a clip from a recent popular TV show finale, or Lil Bubs giving a shocked expression, all of which one line of copy just can’t capture.

No matter where you add animated GIFs in your social media marketing, they have the potential to be a fun way of relating to your audience. Just remember, when in doubt…GIF it a try!

Add onto this list in the comments below–I’d love to know your thoughts! Follow me on Twitter for snippets of advertising news, food stuff, and puppy videos.

Tags: Best Practices, Content Marketing, Giphy, Niche Networks, Strategy, Twitter

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