When it comes to marketing trends, you’re either right there with them as they happen, or you’re left trying to sort out ways to coast a bit on their fumes. Right now, there’s a trend that’s just gearing up and seems to have staying power: GIFs. And it’s a trend that’s so hot right now even Hansel would stop and take note.
The GIF Game
If you haven’t been paying attention to what people are sharing online, you’ve likely missed the GIFs. They’ve taken over Facebook, with brands asking questions and requesting answers in GIF format. And audiences everywhere are eating this up. Here are some examples, showing how mind-numbingly easy it is:
"What did your weekend look like? Answer with a GIF."
"How do you feel about this new product? Answer in GIFs!"
"Where would you like to go this summer? Show it with GIFs."
"What’s your biggest struggle? Reply with only GIFs."
And guess what? Endless engagement. Social media users are all about showing how witty they are, particularly as most things are so serious these days. Lightening the mood seems to be very much appreciated.
Making GIFs Work for You
But it’s not all fun and GIFs. You need to think this marketing strategy through, just like anything else. And here are some tips to keep in mind:
Plan ahead. Plan out your week, or even month, as you would an editorial calendar for blog posts. And be sure to followup each GIF post with something super relevant to your audience, as you’ll have their attention and will be more likely to show up in their newsfeed (algorithmically, that is. As the more folks interact with a page, the more they show it to.)
Don’t assume anything. Some GIFs just aren’t appropriate, so really think through how you’re wording your request and who will see it. While it may be 1,000% hilarious to ask for viewers’ “most embarrassing moment,” you don’t want to turn that into one of yours if it takes a provocative turn and you’re selling kids’ clothing. Asking for “Your most embarrassing kid moment” makes all the difference. You should never assume they’ll keep things appropriate or have any sense of boundaries that aren’t clearly defined.
Proceed with caution. You can’t ask a GIF question every day or it will get old and stop working for you, and you want to milk this “GIF game” for all it’s worth. Help keep it fresh by spacing out your GIF activity, even when it’s going remarkably well — and it will. Have it in mind from the start to stop and reevaluate your efforts as you go, particularly if you find yourself straying from your plan and posting GIF Game questions more often that you had planned. When you do that, you’re in the danger zone and need to realize you’ll hit a wall soon and the GIFs will stop working.
Don’t become dependent. As with all trendy things, the popularity of “answering with a GIF” will eventually end. It has to. So don’t place all of your awareness eggs in that very large basket and be sure to still direct efforts toward other methods, like blogging, sharing thought leadership and relevant quotes or branded imagery to keep who you are beyond the witty whatevers at the top of your segments’ minds.
Have you tried this tactic already? Do you love/hate it like the rest of us?