Whether you say it with a hard “g” or soft “g,” one thing’s for sure: GIF is the word.
The file type, which allows users to create and share animated moving images, has never been more popular, and it’s time that marketers take notice. Social media management service eClincher called the GIF “an essential marketing tool in 2016,” and we agree.
A lot of big-time brands have made GIFs a vital part of their social media marketing strategies, and it’s easy to see why. GIFs are an easy way to foster a sense of community, which is vital to any online marketing effort. Beyond that, a particularly funny or memorable GIF can help a business slyly add new layers to its brand narrative; they’re also great at appealing to your audience’s positive emotions, a proven way to promote both engagement and social sharing.
So just how can your brand start putting GIFs to work? Let’s look at a few surefire ways to enhance your content marketing with animated GIFs:
1.) Spice Up Your Social Media
Earlier in 2016, Twitter opened up its unique searchable GIF library, and the world went nuts (although, to be fair, the platform, along with Tumblr, Pinterest and Facebook, have all supported embedding GIFs in some form or another for some time now).
And while their easy accessibility has made GIFs more commonplace, they’re still a powerful way to help your content stand out in a saturated newsfeed. After all, a looping video can be more visually striking and convey a lot more information than a static image, and a particularly relatable or funny GIF is great fodder for saving and sharing. You never know – your GIF might be lightning in a bottle!
For a few clever ideas for just when to use a GIF - from promoting your latest product launch to giving your audience a behind-the-scenes peek at your team - check out this great list from Marketing Land.
Before we go any further, a quick note! While Twitter’s GIF library has made it easier to share GIFs with attribution, it’s still important for marketers to avoid copyright infringement. Always add attribution if you’re sharing a GIF to complement a piece of your own content. Better yet? Learn how to make animated GIFs yourself! Try using Photoshop to create unique multimedia that’s all your own, or check out one of these GIF-making programs.
2.) Beef Up Your Blog Posts
Buzzfeed has made GIF-based listicles its bread and butter, and for good reason: Audiences love list-based content, and GIFs are a fun visual hook to keep your readers even more engaged and eager to keep scrolling.
And even if you don’t want to go the expected route – like using a GIF as a punchline for a list post – you can still use GIFs to add value to your blogs. Say you’re trying to explain something technical and complicated, for example, where pictures won’t just cut it. Instead of stills, create a GIF to show just where your user needs to drag their cursor or plug in their new piece of tech.
Trust us: Your users will remember that you used a GIF to make their lives easier, and they’ll come back for more.
3.) Elevate Your Email Marketing
Even a lot of people in our industry look at email marketing a little like eating your vegetables: It’s the work you have to do to keep doing the fun stuff.
Well, we here at Geek know that email marketing is an incredibly effective tool for establishing brand loyalty and creating traffic, and we want to give it its proper due. With that in mind, look into whether your newsletter could gain a little visual panache with a GIF!
While some email clients may not allow moving images, Mailchimp makes it easy, allowing you to both upload GIFs as images or source them directly from GIF stockpile site GIPHY.
And while your readers may appreciate the extra visual appeal, be careful. Like many other modern or more-complex design elements, GIFs may break in Outlook, or load slowly on mobile – which is, studies show, where most of our emails are now being opened. To curb any issues, try to make sure that your GIF’s most relevant information is in the very first frame; that way, if if the animation fails for whatever reason, your clients are still getting the most value.
Does the very idea of sharing (let alone making!) a GIF make you break out in a cold sweat? We understand, and we’re here to help. Geek is a full service firm offering design, marketing, and reputation management solutions to brands around the country. Drop us a line today to get started!