YES, You Should Use GIFs on Social: Here’s Why

By Megha Pai, Social Media Co-Chair


GIFs — you use them with your friends, your coworkers and maybe even your mom. 

But if you work in communications, should you use them in your social media strategy? 


If you aren’t sure, I’m here to tell you this: GO FOR IT.


Add Some Fun to Your Community Management 

Sure, you can use GIFs proactively in the content you create. But they work best when you’re performing social media community management. Replying to comments and messages from your audience in a helpful, on-brand way is an art. Formulating these comments can get complicated when the comments you get on social are random and completely unrelated to the posts themselves – but it’s worth trying to answer them. And what better way to steer conversations in a positive direction than by using fun, relevant GIFs? 


At the end of the day, people want to be heard. Show them you’re listening. 


Build Positive Relationships

Over the years, I’ve read some strange comments and messages while conducting social media community management. But that didn’t stop me from trying to forge a bond between the brands I was representing and the commenters – using thoughtful replies and timely GIFs.  


Forging bonds and building relationships is what social media is all about. That’s where GIFs can help: GIFs make your brand appear more personable and approachable. By having down-to-earth conversations with your audience while using GIFs when appropriate, you’ll keep them coming back to your social channels for more.


Remember, social media is supposed to be a social medium – engaging with your followers is important, and GIFs can play a key role in doing that. Ultimately, you’re using your brand’s social media channels to build a community – one that informs your followers about the things that matter to them. 


Building community through social media has been a hot topic in the social media industry for years. It was a big talking point at the Ragan PR Social Media & Digital Communications Conference, Social Media Week New York and our virtual event with PR Girl Manifesto. So, build community and add relatable humor to your social channels with GIFs! 


Are GIFs On-Brand for Your Brand?

Still unsure if GIFs are on-brand for your brand? When in doubt, review your brand guidelines and trust your instincts. 


If your client’s brand uses a serious tone on social media and other platforms, GIFs might not be for them…unless they’re open to switching things up. There’s no reward without a little risk, and the results GIFs can yield (in terms of positive sentiment and engagement) might surprise them.


Take a health/wellness client I worked with at a previous job. The last time we ran a contest on Facebook for this client, I thanked the contestants who commented on our contest post with GIFs in our replies, instead of using “thank you” text alone. For each reply, I picked a different GIF. Receiving a GIF unique from everyone else’s GIF created a custom experience for each person commenting on the post – drawing heartfelt reactions (and Facebook heart reactions) from the client’s followers on social media. The thoughtful GIF replies made audience members feel seen and heard. 


So, what are you waiting for? GIF up your social media strategy today!

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