Decoded: GIF

What exactly is a GIF, and how can you use one to add interest to your company’s social media presence?

March 2015


What Is a GIF?

GIF (pronounced jif) is an acronym for graphic interchange format. GIF is a file extension for a type of image file, similar to a JPG or TIFF. What distinguishes a GIF is that it can store several images in one file to create a short animation or low-resolution film clip and, in colloquial language, GIF has come to refer to a short video or animation shared online.

Although the format has limited resolution and color reproduction, sharing and embedding GIFs is extremely simple, making it easy for popular GIFs to spread quickly across Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, and other social media platforms. Facebook does not support animated GIF files. While you can post them as links, the animation will not play in the Facebook newsfeed.


How to Make a GIF

GIFs can be made in Adobe Photoshop, but if you aren’t design-minded or experienced with the program, that process can be discouraging. As an alternative, there are lots of apps that make GIFing simple. GIF Brewery and GIFSoup are two popular apps.

However, creating your own GIFs may not be necessary. Search, an online animated GIF repository, for sharable animations on a wide range of topics-- from current events to inspirational quotes to pop culture references.


How to Use GIFs in Your Marketing

Here are three ways you can begin to incorporate GIFs into your social media posts:

1. Create educational or how-to GIFs. Show your product or service in use. These brief demos can enhance the content on your company’s website and be shared through social media.

2. Shorten existing product demo videos or presentations into 10-second messages. Consumers are more responsive when they are handed their information in short, digestible pieces of content.

3. Share GIFs of your followers and those you follow to create conversation.





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