What Are GIFs?

GIFs are an important part of social media and content marketing today–Wait, let’s back up.  First, do you know how to properly pronounce the term?

For most people, you’ve seen GIFs before but maybe didn’t know their formal name and certainly not how to pronounce such a seemingly odd word (or acronym?–which is it?).

Let’s start with the basics:

  • GIF is pronounced ‘jiff’ as in ‘Jif’ peanut butter.
  • A group of GIFs is called giphys–still pronounced like ‘j’ in ‘Jif’ peanut butter.
  • GIFs are short videos with a repetitive action that’s typically showing funny or animated expressions in a loop.

Here’s an example:

GIFs really bring personality to digital marketing channels like no other.  One is able to relate how they feel by simply posting a GIF of another person (typically a celebrity) making a facial expression or body movement that expresses how they feel themselves.  GIFs are quite entertaining to see and certainly engages a crowd. Many GIFs have become so viral that they are commonly used not just in social media, but also websites, email marketing, and other forms of digital marketing making them valuable assets in a business.  It’s ideal to create your own, but you’re certainly free to use the thousands available to you on giphy.com.  

What does G-I-F stand for?

GIF is actually the type of file the video is formatted in.  For example, you know how you may create a Microsoft Word document and once you save it, it has a .doc as the file type and extension name?  Well, this is the same thing with GIFs: the file extension for the video file is .gif so that’s how it received the nickname. GIF is an acronym for graphics interface format similar to how .doc is short for a document in Microsoft.  

Are GIFs Good for Business?

This all depends on your business brand.  Some industries, such as the legal industry, generally shy away from using GIFs and engaging on social media in overall.  Some brands have an extremely serious and corporate appeal and giphys wouldn’t fit the bill.  For others, having a sense of humor makes them relatable to their audience and customers feel that there’s a person (or group of people) behind the brand that they can identify with and do business with.  

Many times GIFs are used to startle an audience and get their attention so that they stop scrolling and watch your social media message.  Other times, GIFs are used to demo the use of a product. In these circumstances, GIFs are a very effective tool for business and should be considered in your marketing strategy.  People desire to connect with others and receive information quickly while they are on social media and GIFs have impressive results in drawing engagement, especially from a “cold” audience–meaning people who are not familiar with your company or brand.  When positioned properly in an ad, blog post, or website, GIFs deliver a powerful message succinctly to your audience.

Teach Me How to Giphy

Giphy.com has loads of information pertaining to uses for giphys and step-by-step directions for how to create them, share them, and how they can work for you.

Here are a few direct links to get you started:

Click here to find directions on how to text a GIF to someone.

Click here to find directions on how to share GIFs on Twitter.

Click here to find directions on how to share GIFs on Facebook.

Click here to find directions on how to embed GIFs on your website.

Click here to find directions on how to make GIFs.

As you can see, there’s an abundance of information out there on how to create, share and use GIFs but, the strategy for each business is unique.  

Need help figuring out how and where to use GIFs in your Social Media Marketing? Contact TPM Focus Marketing today.