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Creating and Using GIF’s on Social Media

By now everyone in the sports media business has heard the term, “pivot to video.” The trend in sports media circles has been to reduce written text and add more visuals, as most people remember approximately 20% of text they read without visuals.

The pivot to video doesn’t just mean posting videos of your on-air talent, but also learning to embrace social media tactics that work with this current trend. One of those opportunities for sports media brands comes in the form of embracing GIF’s, otherwise known as Graphics Interchange Format Files.

In simple terms, a GIF is a series of images or video compressed into created easy-to-consume content.

There is no one right way to create a GIF, it is all a matter of preference. Below are a few examples to guide you in creating your own so that we can continue to deliver a better experience on social media platforms to satisfy our fans.

The simplest way I’ve found to create a GIF is through Giphy. It is free to create an account and it is already affiliated with Twitter and Facebook which makes it easier to share. You don’t need to make an account to create your GIF’s, but you do need one to store them for later. You can either upload a series of images or a short video. Videos will not have sound, so you must make sure the content can be understood without audio. You can upload videos from YouTube or directly from your computer. Some industry people may use other sites like Snappy TV to upload live highlights. That allows you to connect to DVR through the cloud and also has the ability to link directly to Twitter.

Another way people like to create GIF’s is through Photoshop. You upload your photos, open up the timeline window and click “Create Frame Animation.” You can then create a new layer for each frame and select make frames for layers. You decide how long each frame lasts and how many times you want it to loop. Once you preview the GIF, you can export it and save it for the internet.

Below is an example I want to share from 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia using a commonly used GIF, poking fun at Doug Pederson’s decision to go for it on 4th and 8. This is a great example of having fun with a topical story which leads to better fan engagement.

By using the example above, the radio station is able to provide entertainment value for its fans, and break up the monotony of text updates during games (see below).

See the difference?

These are two quick ways to make GIF’s but there are plenty more online. Here are a few sites worth looking at:

GIF’s from pictures:

GIF’s from videos:

When making GIF’s, make sure you’re following copyright laws. This can be a grey area due to fair use laws. Fair use is determined by who created the GIF and its intended purpose. Generally, something falls under fair use when the content does not undermine the market for the original work. For example, someone is not going to choose your quick GIF of an OBJ touchdown celebration over the actual game. However, it’s up to you to decide and be sure you’re not breaking copyright laws which could present a problem for your employer.

This whole “pivot to video” sounds silly, but it’s where the industry is headed. We must adapt and change our digital strategy to keep consumers interested. It gives your brand personality, and helps listeners engage and connect, which makes them more likely to tune in and listen or share your content on social media.

Monique Medina covers social media for BSM and works for iHeartmedia in Los Angeles. She can be found on Twitter @MoniqueMedina22 or to reach her by email click here.

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