What the GIF?! How to Use Visual Content In Your Marketing Campaigns Jessica Lunk Today we live in a visual culture – screens are everywhere, ranging from smartphones, tablets, laptops, computer monitors, to gigantic home televisions. Wherever we go, there is an image or video close by to snag our attention. This makes visual content one of the most important marketing techniques for small businesses.The Graphics Interchange Format AKA the GIF was developed in 1987 and in the past couple years, the internet has waged a full on love affair with these animated images. Some say it with a soft G, others a hard G but we’ve all noticed them on social media, emails, blog posts, websites… pretty much everywhere!So why should you bring them into your campaigns?GIFs get noticedSites with GIFs look better than those without; people stay on your page longer and are more likely to browse your site.A site that is noteworthy impresses potential customers and clients so they are more likely to buyIn the past companies in business for long periods of time were seen as safe and trustworthy – today they are seen as antiquated and out of touch – sites with eye-popping images are seen as modern and trendy. And today modern and trendy are seen as more trustworthy, giving you more sales.People love GIFsYou don’t need to know how to make a GIF to use them. Sites like Giphy or Reddit provide a platform to search and browse through GIFs from all over the internet. Here are some best practices to consider before you start bringing them into your marketing messages:Use your own voice.GIFs help you connect with your audience. When you get on the phone with them after they see a GIF in your marketing campaign, don’t leave them confused if you come across completely different.Be relevant.Make sure your GIFs match the message.If you have to explain it, it’s not funny.I love telling jokes, but when I miss the mark, I’m delivering a joke to the wrong audience. Knowing your audience is key.Keep copy short and sweet.Let the GIF speak for you, so keep your copy down to one or two short sentences for the most impact.Find inspiration in your favorites.Let your audience know what you are into – your favorite TV shows, movies, music, sports, etc. Or better yet, find out what your audience is into to find inspiration! Giphy has it all.Everybody loves pizza.Everybody.Get noticed, make someone laugh, and create a meaningful connection with the simplicity of a GIF. Showing your authentic personality is what will strengthen the approachability of your brand, no matter what industry you are in.