Why Are GIFs So Popular in Social Media Marketing?

Introduced by Steve Wilhite in the late 1980s, GIFs have been around for more than 30 years as an easy way to share graphics. And while there still may be some lively debate over how to pronounce “GIF,” there’s no denying that they’ve become essential to how we communicate, whether that’s through text or over social media. Although these animated images may seem like just a fun way to express ourselves, they’ve actually become an important tool in social media marketing. Here are five reasons why you should be using GIFs in your brand marketing.

1. They’re Visual

A GIF, which stands for Graphics Interchange Format, is an animated image that can immediately grab our attention. That’s because when it comes to processing information, our brains can understand images fast.

According to research from a team of neuroscientists from MIT, our brains can “process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds.” That rapid processing means that GIFs are easy-to-understand for audiences.

Instead of having to read through a lengthy post or reply on Facebook and Twitter, people can quickly understand the emotion you’re trying to convey.

Whether it’s joy or sadness, our brains can pick up on that without having to read a lot of copy. And when customers have to read a lot of copy, they tend to start skimming over it and only retain a fraction of what they’ve read.

In today’s digital world where we’re constantly being inundated with information on social media platforms, going visual can be crucial in getting your message seen. You always want your business to stand out, and GIFs can help you do that.

GIFs are also a method of communication that people love and are used to — there’s no learning curve or level of unfamiliarity to worry about.

In fact, they’re ubiquitous on platforms like Twitter. After more than 100 million GIFs were shared on Twitter in 2015, the company made it easier than ever to use them on the platform by adding a GIF search element.

2. GIFs Add Emotion and Personality

Along with providing dynamic visuals, GIFs add a boost of emotion and personality to your brand identity. When it comes to how you want customers to perceive your brand, it’s likely that adjectives like “approachable,” “fun,” and “trendy” are on your list.

GIFs can help create that brand identity for you. They make it clear that your brand is up-to-date on trends and understands how consumers like to communicate. By responding with a funny GIF, you can convey things like a sense of humor.

GIFs can also make it clear that you’re engaged with digital culture, which can make your brand more attractive to younger consumers.

Plus, it’s generally clear what you’re trying to convey through a GIF, whether it’s waving back at a customer saying hi, or celebrating a win of some sort. This adds a boost of personality without obscuring the message you’re trying to convey.

3. They Allow for a Quick Response

If you’re replying to customer comments on platforms like Twitter, GIFs allow for a fun, quick response. Rapid responses can be important to make it seem like your brand cares about customers and pays attention to their opinions.

If someone is expressing joy about your company, you can respond with a wide array of clapping or celebrating GIFs. You might even get a GIF response back.

You don’t have to spend time overthinking each word of a social media message. Instead, you can rely on animated GIFs to encompass an emotion and convey that quickly to your audience.

There’s also an enormous library of GIFs to choose from, so you’ll have no problem finding one that expresses what you’re trying to communicate. No matter what emotion you’re looking for—surprise, excitement, laughter—you’re sure to find it.

4. They’re Easy to Make

Whether you’re a computer whiz or not, it’s easy to make a GIF. This means it’s simple to find ways to incorporate custom brand GIFs into your social media marketing.

If you have a new product, then you could use an animated GIF as a fun way to reveal it. Or you could make a series of responses GIFs featuring your brand.

And while GIFs can be fun, they can also be functional. You could create a quick 10-second GIF to explain how someone is supposed to use your product. These tutorials are easy to consume and much more fun than reading text-heavy directions.

Incorporating your own unique brand GIFs can show off your creativity and personality. They can be effective in driving social media engagement and improving how your audience perceives your company.

5. They Drive Engagement

When it comes to social media, engagement is an important metric. You want your audience to engage with each post you’re making, not just aimlessly scroll by. That’s where GIFs can help set your brand apart.

When you post a tweet that includes a GIF or an image, it’s more than 33 percent more likely to get a retweet than a text-only tweet. This increased interaction means your brand will get in front of more eyes, expanding your reach and your audience.

This increased engagement is seen across a variety of platforms, too. GIFs can also grab attention and increase click-through rates in things like email campaigns. Don’t be afraid to explore unique ways to incorporate GIFs into your social media strategy.

Adjust Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

When it comes to your brand’s social media marketing, incorporating GIFs is an important part of any successful strategy. Because they’re visual, relatable, and easy to make, they can be a simple way to communicate and engage with your audience.

They can even improve the overall perception of your brand by making it seem fresh, fun, and current. In other words, there’s no reason not to be using GIFs in your social media campaigns.

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