In case you missed out yesterday, we began a new blog series entitled The 12 Days of Content. Over the next 11 days, well be gifting you with some great tips for optimizing your content. On the first day, we gave you the #1 tip for creating awesome videos. On this second day, we give to you: 2 Rules for GIF Marketing.

Grumpy Cat GIF Marketing

Though animated GIFs have existed since the 1980s, they have recently burst onto the digital marketing landscape as a powerful content marketing tool. GIFs have been such a success for many reasons, some of which include the fact that they are easy to create, timely and relatable. The downside of GIFs, however, is that they're not always the most appropriate way of communicating to your audience. When deciding whether or not you should delve into the world of GIFs for your next content marketing strategy, bear these two rules in mind:

1. Don't overuse or misuse GIFs.

GIFs don't automatically make something trendy. When misused, they can be perceived as annoying and unnecessary. (When in doubt, ask your intern if something is cool.)

  • Only use animated GIFs on the platforms that support them. While most blogs and Google+ support GIFs, Facebook and select email servers do not. If you're unsure of whether or not a platform will support the GIF format, choose or create GIFs where the first frame contains all important information or images (in case it cant switch to the next frame).
  • Only use GIFs that are going to make your business, product or service more appealing. Though GIFs are most often used to form an emotional connection, they don't always have to be loud to garner attention -- often, its the artistically designed GIFs (e.g. ice cream slowly melting, a scarf gently blowing in the wind) that are the most appealing to your audiences senses.

2. Appeal to your buyer personas.

Although most GIFs can be universally consumed, its best to use GIFs from popular culture that will resonate with your buyer personas. As an obvious example, GIFs featuring popular boy band One Direction might perform well among the teenage girl audience, but likely wouldn't be as appealing to an audience of 25-34 year-old males who like sports.

  • To appeal to new audiences, use a multitude of GIFs created from a variety of television shows or movies. As per our earlier point, don't go so far out-of-the-box that you alienate your current audience " use a variety of GIFs to satisfy both old and new audiences.
  • Use GIFs to excite your personas by drawing attention to a new product, or side-by-side to showcase a product comparison. Similarly, a single GIF can advertise multiple products by flashing a new product or line in each frame.
  • Engage your audience with an online demonstration " animated GIFs are great for quickly and efficiently demonstrating how to do something, whether its a product feature demonstration or a makeup tutorial. This an easier (and often better) alternative to video tutorials as there is hardly any intensive editing required.

We've barely scratched the surface of the opportunities that are available with GIF marketing, which is why its a great feature to include in your next content marketing strategy. What's the best use of GIFs you've ever experienced?

Stay tuned for more content optimization tips as our 12 Days of Content blog series continues!