7 Simple Reasons to Embrace Social GIFs

Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words.

But sometimes that’s not enough.

Animated GIFs are the most popular way to tell a story without the time commitment of a video or the restraint of a single image.

On most social platforms, users don’t even need to think about whether to play a GIF, since these play automatically in newsfeeds. But, your GIF strategy can’t also be on autopilot. To really strengthen your social presence with GIFs, you need to follow a simple roadmap for the best results.

If you’re not already using GIFs in your social posts, now is the time to make this media type a prominent part of your social portfolio.

The History of the GIF

GIFs may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but they have actually been around for almost 30 years.

For anyone wondering, the acronym actually stands for “Graphics Interchange Format,” which achieves animation from time delays. GIFs were a staple of the early internet when they adorned many a MySpace, GeoCities or Angelfire web page. Remember these beauties?

In 2012, GIF was named the word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary. In our modern times, GIFs have become an outlet for humour, memes and educational content. We use GIFs to convey reactions, tell stories, and ultimately, communicate without saying a word.  

7 Reasons to Embrace The GIF

1 – GIFs Show That You’re Paying Attention. This type of media is one of the biggest internet trends right now. Incorporating GIFs into your social strategy shows your followers that you have your finger on the pulse of the internet and that your content is relevant for a modern audience.

2 – GIFs Give Your Brand a Personality. Let’s face it, GIFs are pretty fun. When you use them in concert with your other marketing imagery, GIFs help to lighten the mood and let your followers see the true personality of your brand. Otherwise, your social presence would be much too buttoned-up. Here’s an example from Snickers, piggybacking on the hashtag around the announcement of the sexiest man alive:

3 – GIFs Provide Context. Social messages are meant to be short. Sometimes, there isn’t quite enough space to tell the whole story without losing users’ attention. GIFs are the best way to give background, context, or additional information to a post without overwhelming your audience with information.

4 – GIFs Get Your Message Across, Fast. Online, attention spans are shorter than ever. GIFs are the best way to capture users’ attention and get your message across in a matter of seconds. Since social GIFs are usually short (less than 30 seconds), there isn’t the commitment necessary to watch a longer video with the same message. Your audience will get your point before they even resume scrolling.

5 – GIFs Convey Emotion. Along with spreading your message, GIFs are better at telling emotional stories than text or photos alone. Just consider the popularity of what’s called ‘reaction GIFs.’ Perhaps the most popular of GIF types, these shorts do so well at capturing a very specific emotion that nearly everyone can relate to.

My reaction when someone picks me up at 6am
My reaction when someone picks me up at 6am

6 – GIFs Increase Engagement. Due to their short length and quippy nature, social GIFs are an engagement dream. Users share GIFs at an incredible rate: usually at least 2x the likes of a video and 4x the likes of a photo. With those numbers, you can’t really go wrong with GIFs. Let those likes come rolling in!

7 – GIFs Are Perfect For Replying To Your Audience. One of the gold rules of social media is to engage with your followers, especially if they’re asking for something, or sending you some praise. Adding a GIF to your reply is a great way to show your gratitude, and a personal touch to your message. It’ll bring a smile to their face, and will make them appreciate your brand even more.

Give Your Audience the GIFt They’ve Been Waiting For

With all the advantages of using GIFs, your social channels can only benefit from adding GIFs to your strategy. Tell a story, convey emotion, and add some fun, all at the same time.

With SmarterQueue, you can upload, manage and share all of your GIFs in one place. Add a GIF to any new post, or reuse your past GIFs with the click of a button. Plus, you can search for that perfect GIF without ever leaving SmarterQueue. It’s the smartest way to do social media. Properly.

Courtney Apps

Courtney Apps is a business owner, MBA, and never met a dessert she didn’t like. She is the owner of Upstream Digital, which specializes in web design, branding, and social media for small business. She lives in North Vancouver, BC.