The use of Graphics Interchange Format, known as GIFs, has skyrocketed since the onset of COVID-19. According to GIPHY, the popular GIF discovery platform, searches jumped 65% from February to April of this year, primarily for images representing positive mental health and connection with loved ones. GIFs have always been shared between individuals wanting a humorous way to communicate on a personal level, but businesses are now incorporating GIFs into their content calendars as a way to humanize their brand image and connect with their audience.
Decide What Type of GIF to Use
When choosing your GIF type, consider which reads the best on your social media channels. There are two types of GIFs: traditional GIFs, which come in still image or animated format, and stickers, which are used as an image overlay due to their transparent edges. Stickers are most commonly added to short-lived stories on Instagram and Snapchat posts, while traditional GIFs are used almost everywhere and have a longer shelf life. When deciding on the length of your GIF, animated images can be anywhere from 2 to 8 seconds, so remember the attention span of your audience and that load time can vary per viewer.
Create with Intention
A GIF’s success is based on the number of times it is shared. It might be more convenient to share someone else’s GIF, but original content is what will draw audiences back to your company. There are a number of paid and free tools available to build GIFs including Canva, GIPHY, and Adobe Photoshop. Whether you’re creating a still image or animated GIF, the text you choose is an important factor, as audiences respond to GIFs that aren’t overly branded or overtly advertising something. Choose an image and incorporate text that is relevant to your brand, but focus on engaging the audience rather than selling a product.
Make it Topical
GIFs are more ephemeral than other forms of social media content. Content like blogs and eBooks can be more evergreen, while effective GIFs encapsulate the current moment. Is there a popular movie, holiday, or pop culture phenomenon invading the internet? Use current events to your advantage, as people searching for hot topics may come across your GIF and reshare. GIFs often increase brand visibility, so when you’re ready to post don’t forget to add keyword-rich captions and hashtags, linking not just to the topic but your brand as well.
Play to Human Emotion
What will your audience feel when they see your GIF? Emotion is such an important factor in GIF strategy that a 2014 study by GIFGIF aimed to quantify emotion by asking participants to decide which of two GIFs better represented a certain feeling. An effective GIF can make light of a serious situation or conjure up sentimental feelings for a TV show you once loved. Any topic can relate to the viewer, and if you focus on your audience’s emotional connection first and your product second, a simple GIF may generate leads and conversions.
500 million GIFs are shared every day.
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