Do you call them ‘gifs’ or do you prefer the proper pronunciation of ‘jifs’? Whichever one tickles your pickle, animated GIFs on Twitter are now a thing! Sit back, relax, and watch how some of the pros are already using them to strengthen their brand.
If images are black and white TV, animated GIFs are colour. They can show events, add volume to emotions, and give nuance to responses. Sharing GIFs on Twitter is done exactly the same way as sharing an image. Once posted they appear with a play button, and a single no-fuss click immediately plays them in your timeline.
With this change the look of people’s timelines will be evolving, and you marketing team can either be at the forefront of this change or be left lagging behind like someone who still finds Rickrolling hilarious. Using Photoshop, GIFBoom, GIFSoup, and you're own creativity you can start making your own animated GIFs in minutes. For your company, they’re more than just a playground for your creatives. They’re a vital tool of anyone in marketing who is serious about maximising the effectiveness of their online channels.
Here are some ways that you can use animated GIFs on Twitter to market your brand:
1. Stand Out
When Twitter introduced automatically loading images in 2013 Hubspot noticed that posts including images yielded a higher percentage of clicks, retweets, and visitors, with a substantial 55% increase in leads. Not only that, but tweets with an image also have 200% more engagement. The benefits of standing out once single-click immediately-playing GIFs become the norm will be similar. That little white play button is going to be a magnet for mice and fingers alike.
2. Tell A Story
If a picture says 1000 words, and a GIF is a collection of images merged together… you do the math, we could easily have a novella on our hands. We’re not talking War and Peace, that would take far too long to load, but a short on-brand message or story can easily be contained within a GIF.
Take the following tweet from the Divergent account. In about five seconds we have a beginning, middle, and end. The first shot shows a fearful face establishing the dystopian atmosphere of the film, the clasped hands connote some sort of clandestine rebellion, then the explosive backhand shows that a fightback has begun. This is interspersed with a tagline for the film, rounding off a neat little on-brand narrative.
3. Show Your Advert
Did you make a hefty investment in a big TV or YouTube campaign? A study published earlier this week suggested that tying such a campaign in with Twitter is a very smart idea. Television campaigns that had related Twitter activity were shown to increase spending by 4% over campaigns that use TV only, giving a 50% greater ROI.
With a GIF, you can now take a clip of that advert and stick it on Twitter at no extra cost.
Fiat’s recent campaign has tried to associate its brand with the “endless fun” that looping GIFs offer. While it’s had mixed responses from certain areas of the internet, they were quick to take advantage of this new feature. This GIF is straight from their recent 30 second advert, and would’ve costed nothing extra to make.
Your advert doesn’t need to deliberately tie-in with GIFs like Fiat’s, but a few memorable seconds of it can easily be turned into a vivid GIF that will keep your brand experience consistent.
— FIAT USA (@FIATUSA) June 18, 2014
4. Showing Off
Pizza Express have been doing this with their Vine account lately. While Vines aren’t GIFs, one like this will easily work as one, and all of the lessons you can learn from this Vine can apply to GIFs too.
What’s important is how it highlights far more details of the product than a similar sized picture would. This is key for a brand like Pizza Express, where we could pop to the shops to buy a similar product for a lower price and it may look alike after it’s been cooked. This clip puts emphasis on the freshness of the product, the care of the creation, the quality of each individual ingredient, the curation of the perfect mouthful, the softness of the dough, the richness of the sauce, and… is it lunchtime yet?
— PizzaExpress (@PizzaExpress) June 3, 2014
5. Demonstrating Your Product
This one’s a little different as the focus is more about being informative than simply glamorous. You’re educating customers (both potential and existing) about what your product can do and how it can be used. Samsung have already got in on the action with a practical tweet.
This GIF is a right little multi-tasker. It tells you when you would use the feature, shows you how you can use it, and then shows you what your phone will look like once the feature is on after showing you what it looked like beforehand. It can probably pat it’s head and rub its belly at the same time too. All this can be done with an image, but you would have to sacrifice clarity or spatial brevity
— Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) June 18, 2014
6. Go Viral
Don’t think that quickly knocking together some half-baked GIF is going to lead you to a utopia of generously given RTs and a frenzy of rabid customers. It’s a utility to expand your brand’s image, not a shortcut for lazy online marketing strategists and social managers.
BUT, the omnipresence of GIFs stems from their ease of sharing. To demonstrate this, here's two that heavily feature the company's logo or products so any shares feature the brand front and centre. But people don't want to feel like they're handing out free adverts, nobody invites that guy to the party. Yet because these animated GIFs also have an element of fun and creativity, someone sharing them doesn’t necessarily feel like Brandy McBranderson getting all up in people's timelines with their brands.
This one from Wendy’s received more RTs than their last 5 non-GIF posts put together.
Is there something on our cheek? http://t.co/MqyQYAFckr
— Wendy's (@Wendys) June 18, 2014
This one from Adult Swim got more than 7 of their previous 8 tweets combined:
They say we can gif about it http://t.co/zVA8I1oKTD
— [adult swim] (@adultswim) June 18, 2014
7. Add Personality To Your Customer Service
A GIF definitely wouldn’t be appropriate in every situation, but in slightly more light-hearted interactions with your customers they can be. People are far more likely to trust other people than a faceless brand, by sharing an appropriate amount of genuine personality you’re connecting your human side with them. If you have resolved a small issue, then there's nothing wrong with tweeting something that (hopefully) adds a small bit of brightness to your customer's day.
8. SHARE PRETTY THINGS!
This doesn’t need any analysing, people like cool stuff and occasionally you can give it to them.
— SmarterPlanet (@SmarterPlanet) June 18, 2014
Seen any outstanding examples of brands using GIFs on Twitter? Let us know about it!