How to Use Twitter Animated GIFs to Improve Your Marketing

social media how toDoes your Twitter marketing need a new twist?

Have you considered using Twitter animated GIFs in your tweets?

Twitter’s newest feature lets you include animated images, called GIFs, in your tweets.

Twitter animated GIFs add more interest to images and are a great way to gain exposure on Twitter.

In this article you’ll discover three ways you can use animated GIFs as a Twitter marketing tactic for your business.

Why Twitter Animated GIFs?

You’ve probably seen an animated GIF, but may not have known what it was called. Animated GIFs are short clips of images (from movies, individual pictures, etc.) that play on a loop. Here’s an example Pizza Hut shared on its Twitter account:


Animated GIFs have a limited color palette, which is why they sometimes look grainy or choppy.

Now that you have an idea of what an animated GIF is, let’s get down to business. Read on to find out three ways you can use animated GIFs as a Twitter marketing tactic (and how other companies are doing it).

#1: Increase Brand Awareness

Following Twitter’s animated GIF announcement, the restaurant chain Wendy’s immediately pounced on the opportunity. While other brands were posting animations about Twitter’s announcement, Wendy’s took a different route and created one that promoted their own brand.

The Wendy’s animated GIF rapidly spread across social channels. What was so special about it? Nothing specifically. It was just something cool to watch combined with a funny line of text—but that’s enough to get people to share and retweet your message.

Android used a current event (the 2014 FIFA World Cup) to bring attention to its brand. In the example below, Android asks a question about the event and shows their robot saving the day by deflecting a goal.

The combination of a hugely popular current event, a question and a subtly humorous animated GIF caught the eye of their followers.

#2: Show Off Your Products

The backbone of any retail business is its products. You can show off your products in pictures, but no matter how good a picture is, it’s still just a static picture. With animated GIFs, you can bring your product to life in a number of ways. In this example, Gap uses a model to show how one of their dresses looks on a real person from a few different angles:

Samsung uses a GIF that shows off a cool product feature:

RAM Trucks gives a demonstration of their truck in action:

Don’t discount the importance of static pictures, but try adding a useful animated GIF every once in a while. A break from the norm is a good way to catch followers’ attention.

#3: Showcase Company Culture

Most companies have posted a funny meme or interesting article on a social channel before. Why not? They’re a good way to engage with your fans and show a little brand personality. Animated GIFs can do the same thing. An animated GIF doesn’t always have to focus on your product.

In fact, many aren’t related to a specific product, but convey a company culture. The most popular ones are funny—the funnier the animated GIF, the more potential it has to go viral.

Take a look at how Forever21 used humor to promote one of their clothing sales:

 

Rather than relating the animated GIF to the sale itself, Forever21 appealed to their young audience’s sense of humor to get them excited to shop.

If your brand doesn’t lend itself to humor, you can post interesting or informative animated GIFs. For example, General Electric isn’t usually thought of as a “fun” company, but they’re known for their innovation.

General Electric’s tweet is in line with their overall company culture.

Animated GIF Best Practices

If you’re going to use animated GIFs on Twitter, treat them as you would any other marketing tactic: determine your goals, monitor their success and fit them seamlessly into your tweeting schedule.

Before you randomly send out animated GIFs, decide how they fit into your overall Twitter marketing and what their purpose is. Is your goal to promote a product, get click-throughs to your website or increase brand awareness?

Create an animated GIF that reflects your goals and promotes your call to action. If you blindly tweet GIFs without a plan, they won’t be as effective as they could be.

To monitor how your new Twitter tactic is doing—and whether it’s meeting your goals—include unique trackable URLs in your tweets (you can make those with Google URL Builder or Bit.ly). These URLs help you track clicks, as well as what people do after they click.

Now that animated GIFs are a regular part of Twitter, they should be a part of your planned tweeting schedule as well. There is a catch though: You should use animated GIFs in moderation. They’re most effective when you use them to break up your regular routine.

Conclusion

You can use animated GIFs a hundred different ways. (OK, that may be an exaggeration, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could.) They’re popular, easy to make and breathe life into static images.

Take advantage of those traits to promote your products and excite followers so they take action.

If you’re ready to integrate animated GIFs into your Twitter marketing, you can find a number of tools out there that make it easy to create your own: LICEcap, Face to GIF, imgflip and Photoshop or GIMP are just a few. Or if you’d rather use a premade animated GIF, check out Giphy.com.

How about you? Are you using cool Twitter images? Have you seen any creative ways to use GIFs on Twitter? Do you have ideas you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author, Zack Fagan

Zack is the marketing manager at StoreYa, a social commerce platform designed to increase engagement and conversions across social networks, mobile, and online stores. You can follow Zack @Zack_Fagan. Other posts by »




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  • Nik Andreev

    When used right, GIFs (is it jiff or gif for you? :P ) can definitely increase engagement. I like how G+ has supported the format since the beginning but only now brands are really acknowledging it.

    Quick question for all of you, would you rather have them on auto-play (like G+) or like it is right now (click-to-play)?

  • azetect

    there are good and bad about auto play, by right i will choose auto play, for some reason will disable auto play to prevent device slow down

  • Nik Andreev

    Yeah, and you may also save a few mbs of data as well along the way.

  • http://www.keydifference.in suzy spring

    Good to know about it. Since twitter about madbits these are know added in it. The article is soo fun to read with all animated GIFs.

  • http://www.storeya.com/ Zack Fagan

    Thanks Suzy! It will definitely be interesting to see how Twitter will use Madbits to improve its services.

  • http://www.keydifference.in suzy spring

    Twitter is now take overing madbits. I got information like that only.

  • Suchi Goyal

    i registered on imgflip, uploaded a pic to make GIF, gave a title but when i downloaded it. The pic was just the same, please suggest where I’m doing it wrong?







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