It may be hard to believe, but GIFs first came into our lives in 1987. The simple animation quickly caught on with web developers and has since then become a default form of web humor. Facebook finally enabled native support for the format in 2015, and users were quick to take advantage of the change. As of June 2017, 13 billion GIFs were sent on Facebook Messenger in the past year, with 400 million GIFs sent just on New Year’s Day 2017.
In the face of this massive popularity, and just in time for the 30th anniversary of the file format, Facebook rolled out a new GIF comment button. Users loved it, but brands have been hesitant to use it. It is, after all, a very informal method of communication. However, a GIF is often more impactful than words in accomplishing a key goal: getting your fans and customers to love your brand! If you haven’t tried the GIF reply, here are some tips for making sure the interaction is a happy one:
DO: Stay on Brand
If your brand is looking for different outlets to be more fun and conversational, using GIFs in responses is easy to implement. However, make sure your GIF of choice aligns with your brand voice.
— Netflix US (@netflix) October 27, 2017
DON’T: Skip the Research GIFs are a quick way to engage with fans, but make sure you do your research first. Always play it safe when responding with a GIF. Make sure you recognize where it’s from and confirm that it’s not referencing anything inappropriate. The last thing you want is for a fun response to backfire.
DO: Have Fun
GIFs are an opportunity for brands to have fun and show off their casual side. Take advantage of that and connect with your fans on a new level. GIFs are a chance for your brand to be more relaxed when there’s room to be.
We’re no stranger to the show! pic.twitter.com/HIOf9ChDfv
— Stop & Shop (@StopandShop) October 30, 2017
DON’T: Overuse GIFs It’s easy to get lost in the world of GIFs, so don’t stray completely away from responding with text. Some comments from fans can be extra special and deserve a text response!
DO: Create Custom GIFs
Are you having trouble finding a GIF to reply with? Create custom GIFs! Brands, such as Starbucks and Denny’s, are all about creating GIFs that tie into the fun of using them, but also stay on brand. Get those creative juices flowing and turn your product or service into a GIF.
— Likeable Media (@LikeableMedia) February 14, 2016
DON’T: Try Too Hard This goes hand-in-hand with overusing GIFs. If you find yourself searching high and low for the perfect GIF, stop. If you find the perfect GIF and the resolution is low, don’t use it. If you think it might work but aren’t sure, don’t force it. At that point, a clever test response will be the better alternative. Need more advice on implementing GIFs into your community management? Contact the Likeable Media team today!