If you’ve been anywhere near social media in the past year, you know that GIFs are everywhere. GIFs have made an appearance on Facebook comments, Twitter feeds, and even your text messages – and if you haven’t used them yet, you are behind the curve my friend. We got a chance to talk to the experts at J2:Creative Director and Graphic Designer, Lyle Bonfigt, and Social Media Director, Heather Smith about how to give the gift of GIFs.
What is a GIF?
Lyle Bonfigt: According to Wikipedia, “The Graphics Interchange Format, better known by its acronym GIF is a bitmap image format that was developed by a team at the bulletin board service (BBS) provider CompuServe led by American computer scientist Steve Wilhite on June 15, 1987. It has since come into wide spread usage on the World Wide Web due to its wide support and portability.” The entire entry for “GIF” is nothing less than 7,000 words, and is a fairly dry read. But, if you feel inclined, please look it up.
Where Should I Use GIFs?
Heather Smith: We recommend using GIFs on Facebook and Twitter, especially in replies(if that’s your brands tone). It’s a great way to come off a bit more personable and “human” – versus canned responses (which we recommend you try to never do!)
How Can Gifs Help Social Media?
Heather Smith: GIFs are a great way of connecting with customers and fans, because it’s simple and a fun way to get a message across. It’s also a great way to keep up with “current events,” as a lot of moments get the “GIF”treatment. Whether it is from a TV show, the news, or a YouTube video, GIFs are quick and easy to create and provide fun, bite-sized trend-worthy content.
Where can you find GIFs online or even create your own?
Lyle Bonfigt: A .GIF can be animated, which makes them a lot of fun. There are many apps and programs that can animate images, but most people can easily rely on stock animated images that are available on most smartphones and online.(Check out sites likeGIPHY and EZGIF)
So, it sounds like people should use GIFs for social media, but where else does it fit in a marketing plan?
Lyle Bonfigt: A .GIF image should only be used in electronic and online materials. The format is ideal for keeping image size low and allowing for a clean “screen” resolution. If you plan to print an image, a .GIF format is never suitable because of the low data size related to resolution.
Okay so tell us….is it GIF or JIFF?
Lyle Bonfigt: The biggest conundrum about the .GIF image is how you say it. Some people, and dictionaries say it is “jif” with a soft”G” as in “ginger.” Others say it is pronounced with a hard”G” as in “gift.” So as you are preparing your gift of.GIFs this holiday season, you can create them or download them in a jiffy as a gifty to your customers and web subscribers. If you are going with the soft “G”pronunciation, then you need to beware of the peanut butter you have, cuz if you claim it be “jif” you might want to be ready for a backlash from theSkippy enthusiasts.