A GIF, or otherwise known by its’ technical term as a Graphics Interchange Format (GIF), is a format that has been around for more than 30 years. To many, GIFs may be the newest trend hitting social media, but the GIF has been around all the way to when Steve Wilhite introduced the GIF in 1987.
Nowadays, GIFs are short animated images that can be easily shared across mediums and devices too. Many popular memes come in the form of GIFs and its quite common that certain GIFs become viral. GIFs are used on many different digital mediums and especially on Instagram in users’ Instagram stories. GIFs are used to express an emotion or state of being, and the usage of these little animated images can be funny and quite entertaining.
In the last couple of years, GIFs have seen a rise in popularity on social media platforms. The popularity has dramatically increased after companies have started incorporating GIFs into their online marketing campaigns. Companies like Samsung and Starbucks are some of the big names that are using GIFs to bring life and excitement to their social media marketing strategy.
Animated images tend to have a larger emotional connection than static ones, similar to the way that video is more engaging than written content. GIFs can reach out to people in a more innovative manner and are a far more effective and impactful communication tool when trying to convey an emotion.
People find that using GIFs is an easy and interactive option to help users stay connected with their friends via chat, text, or Instagram messaging. Within Google Trends, we see that more and more people are looking for small animated images to express themselves in a far better way than through static images or simple text formats. GIFs are here to stay and provide a light-hearted communication approach that can be used by both individuals and brands alike.
How to Use GIFs with Social Media Marketing
If you have plans to market your brand online, GIFs can do wonders for you when it comes to adding engagement value online. The best part about GIFs is that they are very expressive. Incorporating GIFs into your digital marketing strategy is wise in that it would set you apart from competitors and add a unique twist to what would typically be an extremely traditional marketing campaign.
Below are a few reasons why GIFs are useful business marketing tools that can add value to your online campaigns.
5 Reasons GIFs are Useful Business Marketing Tools
1. GIFs Create Compelling Ads for Your Product or Events
Animated images are the most preferred option to use to advertise your products or events these days. The reason being is that they can display your products better and they are a great way to grab the attention of your audiences and lure them into making purchases. GIFs are very useful for highlighting the essential features of your products and events. Doing so allows your target audience to take a closer look at your product.
Due to today’s hectic and busy lifestyles, people tend to have shorter attention spans. Therefore, traditional advertising is becoming less popular these days, and short animations are becoming an attractive alternative. GIFs do not take much time to communicate a message, and the animations are quite appealing too. A business can quickly send a message using GIFs small effects. You will also be creating something that is shareable and readily available to social media users.
2. Retaining Your Audience Is Not Difficult with GIFs
Due to people’s short attention spans as mentioned above, short, simple, and attractive messages appeal to audiences more than long descriptive texts. According to several reports, only 28% of the total words published online are read by regular users even if they specifically visit a website searching for particular information. Even if interested in the information, most people tend to speed read through the information to get the main points of the article or blog.
GIFs are preferred over static images because animated images have a higher impact on the minds of the audience. The GIFs are also likely to retain the users for a longer duration, a period which should be good enough to get your message across.
3. GIF Animation Shows Your Brand Personality
Animated content is a great way to tell your audience who you are and what your personality is as a brand. Often brands use stale, overused, and overplayed tactics. Adding a new flair shows how much you care for your audience and that you are willing to try something new.
GIFs are expressive and a great way to communicate in a very innovative style. Besides, they are interactive and connect you emotionally with your consumers, adding life to your brand. GIFs show you have a human element and you care about the experience you give your customer on social media. Now your brand is not just another automated machine that follows orders and does the same thing over and over again.
With animated images, your interaction with your consumer becomes more compelling and engaging. Additionally, the element of fun is associated with GIFs and encourages your audience to stay with you for a more extended period when they find the conversation relevant to them.
GIFs are also more effective and interactive because they are shareable. One can create images to build a positive story around campaigns and encourage users to reuse on social media platforms. For example, when your company uploads a GIF to Instagram, you can attach keywords to the GIF and users can search for GIFs using your company’s keywords to reuse on their social media.
With GIFs, your brand is at liberty to use animation to suit your brand campaigns and build a brand image. You can incorporate images and effects that builds positivity for your brand, but be sure to maintain strict brand guidelines even when animating. It is crucial that when you are trying to look creative that you do not forget your style guide that will help you enhance your brand image. Remember to maintain the right fonts, colors, images, logo, and be sure to portray the exact image you want for your brand.
4. GIFs are Great for Story Telling
As discussed above, GIFs are an easy way to communicate effectively on social media platforms like Instagram. People find GIFs easier to consume than other formats and they are fun for customers to use. GIFs are also an exciting and entertaining option for brands to tell their stories in a very engaging manner. Using a GIF takes less time to communicate your message to a group, and the human element in them makes them easily consumable.
Animated images are perfect storytelling tools that can hold audiences for longer durations and not annoy them, compared to other formats. For example, head to Instagram and search for the brand Elemis in the GIF section. You will find GIFs that Elemis and Flying V Group created together to promote Elemis's new product line. Elemis saw great engagement with the GIFs, and many of their customers continue to use the GIFs in their everyday social media use which furthers the exposure and awareness for the brand.
5. GIFs Engage Your Audience
GIFs are known to encourage UGC (User Generated Content) on social media. UGC’s add massive value to brands on social media. The more content generated through users and consumers, the more visibility the brand gets. With GIFs, you can help in reaching out to audiences effectively and organically and get active engagement immediately.
Doing the above helps you to grow your brand in a positive direction. By providing GIFs on the GIPHY platform, you will find an excellent way to spread awareness about your brand through your users and consumers since they will more than likely continue to use your GIFs and share your brand’s message.
Another note, you won’t be required to spend a tremendous amount of money on additional advertising spend with the viral nature of GIFs. If you have a social media marketing team that understands the idea of spreading brand awareness and increasing brand influence then the investment you make into developing GIFs can be one that makes for a high return on investment.
We have seen many big names create GIFs to go along with their social media campaigns. Brands use their tag lines, logos, or other relevant marketing material to create their shareable GIF content. In doing so, brands capture the opportunity to provide their users with a fun, engaging, and shareable content source which gives the brand visibility on social media platforms and drives traffic to their pages, and eventually their website.
With social media becoming more and more critical and popular, it has become tougher to get visibility online. Brands that think strategically will not miss the opportunity to earn visibility on crowded mediums by engaging their audience and investing in a brand-new strategy that can pay massive dividends.
So What Should You Do Next?
GIFs have come a long way in three decades. Most importantly, they are now seen almost everywhere and provide an excellent opportunity for brands to gain additional exposure. From individuals to big brands, many find these small animations exciting and very easy to consume.
Shortly, GIFs will continue to grab the attention of larger and larger audiences. So, if you haven’t made GIFs a part of your business marketing strategy, then it is time that you consider it to build an appealing story around your brand.
If you are wondering how to create GIFs or how to get your company’s GIFs on Instagram, check out the following article from our resident GIF expert, Bryan Flores: The Ultimate Guide on How to Get Your Company's GIF on Social Media.
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Thanks for checking out 5 Reasons GIFs Rock at Marketing Your Business on Social Media.
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Robb Fahrion is the Co-Founder and a Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.