Read Time: 5 minutes

When we used phone calls to communicate, we would literally laugh out loud. With the emergence of texting, we’d type “hahaha”. When emojis took over, we laughed by tapping on each of the faces. And while emojis are cool, GIFs are better. Because now when we laugh, not only can we show that we’re laughing, we can show exactly how we’re laughing.


With 1.3 million pieces of content shared on Facebook every minute and over 500 million tweets sent per day, it’s getting harder and harder to make your content stand out and capture the attention of your audience. However, you’re in luck and GIFs are here to help.


GIF, which stands for graphic interchange format, is a file which supports static and animated images. They can be snippets of a movie or show or something that you make yourself. They are soundless videos that usually loop and last for a few seconds. While GIFs aren’t new, they are a hot trend for social media right now, and definitely something that you should be carrying in your arsenal.


So, what’s the big deal about a GIF?


Why You Should Be Using GIFs


Appealing & Effective. Brands should be using GIFs because it shows that they are paying attention to internet trends. But more than that, companies should be using GIFs because they are easy to consume and hold a higher visual power than images alone. GIFs have the ability to tell a story, in a short amount of time. While videos are great at captivating the attention of your audience, they are often expensive and take meticulous planning and execution. They are the perfect medium between and image and a video.


GIFs are not only appealing, but also highly effective. Research shows that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and only 20 percent is remembered after reading text. GIFs are an immediate way to not only engage with your audience, but also keep their attention. Furthermore, businesses that use GIFs in their social media have the capability to effectively deliver their brand’s message within seconds; a message that is easily shareable across multiple platforms.


Mobile-Friendly. GIFs and mobile go together like peanut butter and jelly. While videos on your phone open in a new window or app, GIFs automatically play. With over almost 80% of users viewing social media on mobile, this a huge win. Captivate your audience longer, with the help of GIFs.


Exhibit Emotion. There are characters, themes, and most importantly, emotion in stories. These are all things that also live in a GIF and have the ability to convey. Because of this, using GIFs can often feel more personable and more human. It can bring your company into a new light, allowing you to tell a narrative that you believe displays your brand’s values.


Alternatively, GIFs also have the ability evoke emotion from your audience. We’ve all seen adorable cat GIFs that melt us, as well as ones that are so hilarious we can’t help but rewatch. This will help you stay top of mind with your target clients, as well as create a memorable association.


What Not to Do.


Before you decide to use GIFs for your business, remember to GIF responsibly. Make sure that your use of GIFs aligns with your brand and audience. Pay close attention to your audience’s reactions—it’ll steer you in the direction of how your brand should use GIFs on social media. GIFs are expressive but they should not replace your messages or speak for your brand.


Moreover, decide what platforms you want to use GIFs on and be consistent. Use them in context and try to find or know the source of the GIF you’re using. Most GIFs are from popular television shows and movies. If you don’t know where the GIF is from, it is best practice to ask. You don’t want to use a GIF that could potentially offend your audience.


While GIFs are a great addition to your timeline, don’t overuse them. It shouldn’t be used in every tweet or post, but when it would add an extra flare of personality or memorability. Use them when you feel they are the most relevant and powerful image possible.


Ways to Use GIFs


Using GIFs on social media should make your audience feel something and make them want to act on that feeling. Research suggests that emotional response, especially humor and happiness, influences people more than actual content. Taking emotions into consideration, here are four ways your brand can use GIFs on social media.


  • Feature Products. GIFs are a great way to put your products on display. Showcase how to use it, style it and more in a quick 15-second clip that is sure to keep your audience captivated.

    • Quick Tip: Property managers can make a GIF of a resident diving into the community pool to shine a light on an amenity. You could also create a GIF of moving boxes being stacked up and make your current move-in special the last frame.


  • Tell A Quick Story. Show how your products or services add value to your consumers. Companies can do this by creating a quick GIF that introduces a problem and concludes with your product being the solution.
    • Quick Tip: Use this opportunity to give your product or service more personality. We know your device is going to save the day–show that by throwing a cap on it and allow it to soar through the sky.


  • Instructional Content. Does your product or service have multiple settings or abilities? Inform your users on how to use each of these in a quick and effective way by using a GIF tutorial.

    • Quick Tip: Demonstrate how your product or service makes life simpler. For example, if you’re a chef, show “3 Ingredients to Making the Perfect Pasta Sauce.”


  • Animate Data.  Data, although highly informative, can sometimes be boring. Using GIFs to animate data informs your audience of important knowledge and visually showcases the message you’re trying to convey. Take PRI, for example, using a gif to animate the rise of global warming.


  • Show Culture. Put the limelight on the exciting events, people, and environment that surrounds your company. Share the memories and laughs with your clients in the form of a GIF.


How to Create a GIF


While there is an abundance of GIFs out there, there will definitely be times where creating your own will make more of an impact.

Here are three GIF-creating resources:

  1. Giphy’s GIF maker allows you to make GIFs from YouTube videos or personal videos. Simply paste a video link or upload your own to their interface and choose which part of the video you’d like to transform. This will save to the Giphy library and free for you to use.
  2. Instagram’s Boomerang is a mobile app that allows you to record video in the form of a GIF. The finished product will save onto your camera roll, making it easy for you to post to any of your company’s social channels.
  3. You can also make GIFs in Photoshop. Simply upload a video into Photoshop and select what duration you want with the timeline tool. When saving, “Save for Web,” and be sure to set “looping” to “forever.”


Easily bring your content to life by transforming it into a GIF. Allow your brand to convey emotion, educate consumers and stay noteworthy with your audience by using GIFs.


So tell us, do you pronounce it as gif or jif?

Learn how SOCi can help take your
localized marketing to the next level.