This is not a clickbait headline. This really happened. As a social media marketer, I was so excited (and frankly amazed) at the results, that I had to share. These numbers didn’t simply occur. It took multiple people. It took weeks. It took planning and research and probably some luck. But at the end of it, and still to this day, the numbers keeps rising. So whether this story will help other social marketers, or just close the curiosity gap of the fellow reader, here it is.
We saw the overabundant use of animated GIFs on Twitter and Instagram
One of the most important rules of social marketing is be where your customers are. That led to engaging with customers on Instagram and Twitter. Animated GIFs were a second language on those channels, while used very differently between the two networks.
I’ve found that on Twitter, comments often included an animated GIF. It was becoming commonplace. This caused long strings of (often hilarious) conversations, with GIF after GIF, tag after tag, until sometimes 25+ people were involved in the looping clip-filled thread.
Instagram was a completely different beast (or feline creature), but still very prevalent. Animated GIFs were used in Instagram stories. Similar to stickers, users decked out their stories in little high-energy creatures, words and visuals, making them interesting and fun.
So where is the massive database of animated GIFs that serve up relevant imagery based on your searches for cats, hugs or pancakes? Being a part of that network meant our GIFs would be available to everyone.
The power of GIPHY
This is GIPHY.
Once you have decided whether GIF is pronounced with a “G” or a “J” (like the peanut butter), you’ll see it’s the search engine for animated GIFs, not only on their own domain, but practically across the entire Internet. Getting your animated GIFs on GIPHY, would essentially get them across Twitter, Instagram, or any other site where GIFs like to hang out. That was the new goal.
There was one challenge. We had animated GIFs, but we couldn’t simply upload them. GIPHY has rules and approvals. That process took creating a page, and getting business account approval. It also included uploading the GIFs in different formats in order to works across multiple channels.
A few weeks later, our business page was approved, our shiny new animated GIFs were uploaded and tagged with relevant yet popular keywords (it helped that our GIF was a cat), and we were ready to go. As soon as our GIFs started populating on social media, the numbers reacted. It took only hours to reach 50,000 views. It took a day to reach 500,000 views, and within a week we broke two million. We’ll likely hit five million in our first month.
This is our most popular animated GIF:
Animated GIF tips
Here’s a recap of best practices and tips to get your animated GIFs viewable to the social world.
- Cats work! Create fun and engaging GIFs that would be interesting to anyone. They should tie back to your brand, but that’s not the priority.
- Get creative help. Unless you’re a designer, enlist designers to create the best GIFs.
- ‘Cat Love’ and ‘Cat Hugs’ are some of the most popular search terms. Research the right keywords and tags. They should be popular, but relevant to your GIF. Go tag crazy!
- Big, small, transparent – do it all. Create GIFs in multiple formats and sizes, and develop new ones on a regular basis. This will keep it fresh, diverse and sized to the different social networks.
- Be complete. Build an interesting and fun business page, using all aspects of the page. You can link to your website in every GIF and on the page itself. Link to your social channels. Make your avatar interesting. There’s a lot you can do, keeping the fun aspect of GIPHY in mind.
At the end of the day, I’m just a social marketer that pronounces GIF with a “G”. I’m always testing new tactics, and if one works particularly well, I’ll always share. Have animated GIFs worked for you?