Many people think of GIFs as silly memes and offbeat humor, however GIFs can be such a powerful visual marketing tool for an entrepreneur or small business. Although videos are the ultimate visual marketing tool, GIFs have become the next best thing in presenting quick demonstrations and are especially useful in how-to blog posts. I’ve been using GIFs since I started blogging a few years ago, and now I’ll show you how to make GIFs for visual marketing and my “amazing secret” tool.
Yes, I just used a cheesy Puss in Boots GIF… I couldn’t help myself, sorry. Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to create GIFs for your blog posts that will help educate your audience. I’ve selfishly kept this tool as a secret and I will reveal it later in this post. First, I want to quickly let you know what a GIF is. GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format, and it’s a lossless format for image files that supports both animated and static images. Just like the Puss in Boots image above.
Of course, I can’t talk about GIFs and not talk about the outrageous geeky pronunciation debate of calling it a JIF or GIF (with a hard ‘G’). Although the creator, Steve Wilhite, declared at the Webby Award show that it’s pronounced JIF, there are some die-hard hard ‘G’ GIF fans.
Enough of that debate, back to more useful discussion of visual marketing aspects of GIFs! I’ll first reveal my amazing secret GIF tool, how to make a GIF, and how to use the GIF on social media. Let’s get to it!
How to make GIFs for Visual Marketing
Amazing Secret GIF Tool
I love creating GIFs with Screencast-O-Matic (SOM), and no I’m not an affiliate! You can do a screencast and save it as a video or GIF. There’s a free option to try, however their watermark will be on the GIF or video you create. To use the platform without the watermark, it’s a crazy $15/year rate for the Pro version. For the past few years, I’ve been using SOM and I still can’t believe they have it at that inexpensive price. It does so much and it’s excellent for visual marketing.
Okay so… I’ve revealed my amazing secret tool.
Let’s make a GIF!
When you have SOM, it opens up to a screen for recording (image below).
When you click Record, it will give you a sizable frame that you can move around the object to record. There is an option to use your microphone and webcam for video recording, however when creating a GIF you’ll want to turn the microphone and webcam off.
The key in creating GIFs is to keep it super short however providing value. It could be used for instructional purposes and an example of how to do something online. I’ve made many GIFs for my how-to posts and other blogs as well.
When you upload a GIF to your website it may be too big and you’ll have to shrink down the GIF. While your GIF may seem short enough, there are size limits on website uploads. The sizes varies depending on the website theme. If you come across this issue, then you have to speed up the GIF.
When you edit the recording, there will be a set of tools that you can use and you’ll want to click on Speed Change.
Once you click on Speed Change it will take you to this screen:
If it’s extremely large, then you can choose other speeds to see which size will be able to upload. Sometimes you have to play with it to see what will work but it’s worth it to have a little demo GIF.
How to Use GIFs in Social Media
Not only can you use GIFs in blog posts but you can also share them in social media. People love to get GIFs as thank you tweets or a teaser for a blog post. You can share them through your social media scheduler like Buffer or Edgar and share on Twitter. You can also share your GIF on Pinterest although it would have to be super short. Facebook is a bit trickier and will need an additional step (listed below).
Animated GIFs can be up to 5MB on mobile, and up to 15MB on web.
Animated GIFs need to have a URL so the best way to upload is via GIPHY. Upload and share through GIPHY, otherwise if you upload to Facebook the GIF will stay as a static image.
Pinterest & Google+
Animated GIFs can be shared quite nicely through Buffer and GIPHY.
Instagram & Vine
Animated GIFs can be a little tricky as well. Once you create your GIF you can upload to GIPHY then GIPHY will email you an mp4 version so you can upload to Instagram.
Ready to Create GIFs for Visual Marketing Your Business
As much as video has become one of the most popular visual marketing tools, GIFs have become underrated in its potential to demonstrate a product or business services instruction. Remember some people won’t stick around to see an entire video and would rather see snippets to get fast results to their problems.
Womens Health Magazine does an excellent job with their FitGIF Friday where they demonstrate a fitness tip.
Use a tool like Screencast-O-Matic to help create the GIF to upload to a blog post or social media platform. When you provide these small snippets to your audience they appreciate the extra effort in showing them something new. Keep GIFs in mind for you visual marketing strategy and no need to use cheesy GIFs with cats, use GIFs to your advantage for business.
Let me know if you use GIFs for visual marketing your business in the comments