In another recent post, I discussed the benefits of trying out alternative video formats for social media, and GIFs were one of the options touched upon. So what is a GIF – and how do you make one?
What is a GIF?
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs are basically very short, rich bursts of video that loop over and over, which appeal to time-short social media audiences who have lots to scroll through and a short attention span. Here’s an example of a GIF.
Why are GIFs good for business?
You might be thinking: how can a GIF work for my business when all the ones I see on my newsfeed are from cartoons, films and TV shows?
Well, GIFs are one of the most potent formats for grabbing the eye, as they encapsulate a short sharp message within those couple of seconds of footage. In the same way that GIFs give normal users a quick way to express a thought or message, they also give businesses that same tool. The great news is that you can make your own GIFs – and it’s dead easy.
(If you don’t want to make your own but do wish to use ready-made GIFs, many social platforms and mobile phones now have built in banks of them that you can quickly search and share. Alternatively, you can simply Google a relevant GIF and share the link – but always remember to credit the original creator.)
So how do you make a GIF?
It’s really easy and you don’t need specialist equipment. Simply follow these steps (skip steps one and two if you have existing photos or videos you’d like to turn into a GIF):
- Plan your content. What is your GIF going to be of? Will it involve people, machinery? Choose a theme for your GIF – will it be funny, serious, clever, colourful? How will you make it stand out? Business GIFs that work really well often feature a process or a member of staff (or both); think a bartender pouring a drink, a mechanic opening a car bonnet, a gardener cutting the lawn, or a nail technician applying polish.
- Prepare your props and setting – just as you would for a normal video. If you’re filming people, make sure you’ve briefed them on what you want them to do – are they holding a product? Performing a service? Operating a machine? Do you want them smiling, serious, in uniform, looking casual? Will you film indoors or outdoors? Nail down the details now to avoid wasting time repeating takes or rescheduling filming.
- Make your GIF. There are two ways you can make a GIF. The easiest way is with a free GIF-making app such as this amazing free one – simply take the video using the app and it automatically creates the GIF. You can take as many shots as you like to get it right. However, if you have existing footage that you’d like to turn into a GIF, take some normal video footage using your phone or camera, then edit it into a GIF using the same software. You will be able to adjust the start time and duration of the GIF. You can even create a GIF from a series of images.
- Tweak your gif. Now your GIF is made you can add filters, stickers, captions – whatever you’d like. Or you can just keep it simple and post to social media with an explanatory caption. Check out this example by a stationery business.
Here are some more examples of GIFs used by businesses:How to make a GIF for your business’s social media Click To Tweet