Move over emoji - the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) keyboard is taking the reins this holiday season.
Although I’m sure those little Christmas tree and Santa Claus emoticons will still be on your “Most Popularly Used” list this December, animated GIFs are quickly rising to the top of our lists.
When it comes to expressing yourself, there seems to be a grumpy kitten or screaming Kim Kardashian image to perfectly portray every mood.
We all know the holiday season can stir up a lot of emotions within us, whether it’s the joy of hearing Christmas music everywhere we go or the stress that takes over when preparing for the in-laws’ visit.
What better way to express the rollercoaster of holiday emotions than with animated images? Users can now access GIFs on most all social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat messaging and even your iMessage keyboard.
In order to best utilize this new - and very entertaining - communication craze, we have put together a list of GIF dos and don’ts for your holiday reading.
Do: Add to your story
Everyone likes a book with pictures, right? Don’t act like you don’t skip the content sometimes and jump straight to the pretty illustrations. The same goes for GIFs.
The animated image adds a little spice to the already delicious content. For example, when Ben & Jerry’s announces a new ice cream flavor, a GIF of Ryan Gosling proclaiming how much he needs it will make you want to pick up your spoon and dig right in.
Don’t: Replace necessary content with GIFs
When using GIFs, it’s important to still use necessary content. Although a funny GIF will add to your story, stay away from letting it replace your story.
Content is still key. It’s the main dish of the meal and the necessary base for any message to be successfully delivered to the right audience.
Do: Make an impact
There are two key components to making an impact with animated GIFs. The first is to know your audience.
For instance, if you’re selling hearing aids to the 65 and older demographic, a GIF of teen sensation Justin Bieber singing his hit song “What Do You Mean?” would probably make zero sense to said audience.
The second key component for making an impact is timing. You’ve probably heard the popular phrase, “timing is everything.” This phrase applies in the world of GIFs, as well.
Maybe you’re announcing the release of a new product in your store just in time for the holiday season. After some build up, throw in a GIF of an anxious Kristen Wiig on SNL
before finally revealing the big surprise.
Less is more. When using GIFs, try not to ruin the punch line of your jokes or obscure the meaning in your message by distracting the reader with too many images.
Despite their effectiveness, you shouldn’t flood your platform with too many GIFs on one page. Use them sparingly and effectively in order to make the biggest impact.
Do: Add humor
Tell me that you think my haircut is ugly, and I’ll probably un-friend you for at least a day. But tell me that you don’t like my haircut by sending me a GIF of Jimmy Fallon screaming “Ew!” and I’ll probably LOL (and continue being your friend).
GIFs are meant to add humor to a message, especially awkward ones. Use the right GIF at the right time, and you can make bland content jump with personality.
Don’t: Offend your audience
Do: Have fun
The most important rule of all - have a blast! Using GIFs should add flavor and zest to your message. Don’t forget to smile and laugh at the silly ones you choose. After all, that’s what you want your readers to do.
If you’d like to incorporate GIFs into your marketing plan, contact Sage Island. Our team of marketing specialists will make sure your content gets the attention it deserves.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997 and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at www.sageisland.com. To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageIsland, and on Twitter at twitter.com/Sage Island.