I recently finally got around to setting up my own GIPHY channel, following the instructions from the great marketers Andrew and Pete (you can see their Social Media Examiner blog post discussing it here)
Lessons from creating a GIPHY channel
The things that are amazing are:
- How easy it is to create a branded GIF channel that is searchable on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp
- How few other people have actually done it.
- What a great way GIFs are to communicate.
Most of the GIFs I have created have been either quick videos I created with a caption or image slideshows.
This is an example of a video which I quickly made and then uploaded to GIPHY and added a caption:
This is an example of a slide show of images with an added caption:
All the images from the above GIF are sourced from Pexels.com which provides royalty free commercially usable images. Please don’t just copy any images from the internet – you could end up in serious trouble…
There are a couple of things that I have noticed now I have a GIF channel (you can see it at https://giphy.com/stonehampress or just search for “stonehampress” where you have the GIPHY keyboard):
- The search takes a while to pick up new GIFs, and a lot of the time it won’t pick up all your GIFs if you keep changing them all the time.
- Only GIFs rated G will show up in GIF searches in Twitter and Facebook. Whatsapp seems to let you use any rated GIFs.
- Wide-image GIFs look the best on most platforms.
- The GIPHY caption creator option is really flaky – you are better if you have time to either create a slide show or add text to videos before you upload the file.
- Always add your own branded name to the tags, so all my GIFs I start the tags with stonehampress, timlewis, and then add any extra relevant tag (e.g kittens for the GIF above).
What I suppose I like so much about GIFs is that it is a great way to make a point in a visual way without the hassle of a full video. People know that GIFs don’t require audio volume so they can make their point and catch your eye without the commitment of watching a video.
They can also be a quick way to respond to someone in an interesting way. People say “just open your phone and do a video”, I say “do that once and then create a GIF you’ve always got available”, like:
They are also awesome for sending out personalised shout-outs like:
I feel that GIFs are massively underused. Now is the time to jump on an get your own branded GIF channel….
How to Create a Brand Channel and quick GIFs
Before anything else you need to apply for a Brand Channel. Don’t make the mistake I made of registering with GIPHY normally with your account, as then you get a clash with your new brand account and will need to mail GIPHY support! No apply direct at https://giphy.com/join/apply/brand.
Once you’ve done this (for as long as the process is literally that straightforward), you can quickly create GIFs by going to GIPHY.com.
Select the “Create” option, which will take you to the GIF Maker Screen:
To create a GIF from a video, either one you have recorded or from YouTube, you can use this screen and just drag your files onto the Window on your laptop or desktop, or you can enter the URL of the video in the top section, or click Browse. When you do this, you get the chance to add a caption on the created GIF and where it will take the GIF image from in the video you have uploaded.
The next possibility is to create a GIF from a range of images, a slideshow, which you do by selecting the Slideshow tab at the top:
This will switch to the following screen:
In this case you can drag or Browse for images to use – you must drag more than one image, and when you have it will give you the chance to add a caption and to vary the speed the images switch between each other.
The next possible way of creating GIFs is to upload one image and add an animated caption, which is GIF Caption tab:
In this case you drag/Browse for one image and have the chance to add a caption and the style you want to animate the caption in.
In the tags section enter a list of things that you want people to be able to search your GIFs for – I always include “timlewis” and “stonehampress” but also add relevant keywords as well. I often create special tags for GIFs so I can get to a new GIF quickly.
Source URL I enter stonehampress.com, though of course this should be your site.
You NEED to complete the Rating section or your GIF won’t be searchable. But ratings above G may not appear in search on some sites, so be careful in trying to make “G” GIFs if possible.
You obviously want to set the GIFs to Public (otherwise what is the point?). Then hit Create GIF and the GIF should be added to your GIF channel.
After a minute or so you should be able to see the GIF when you search in Facebook, Twitter etc for one of the tagged values you entered. This seems more problematic with non-G rated GIFs (though PG ones appear ok in some cases) and a lot of the time you might see it under some tags and not others.
Creating images and videos for GIFs
So where to get the images/videos from to create a slideshow or video GIF from. Well one thing I do is turn my phone on it’s side and record a video. But you cry “that’s on your phone” and yes you are right.
But I record the video on my OneDrive app on my phone so that I can then easily access it on my PC. I suspect the same approach will work with Google Drive or Dropbox. You can of course use your webcam for video, but phone videos give you so much more variety in settings. This is how I created these GIFs:
The other thing I do is find either a static image on pexels/from my camera and then either add a caption to it in the “GIF Caption” section, like this:
Or get a series of images together and create a slideshow from them, like this:
In some cases I have created custom images in canva.com and then created a slideshow from them, like this:
So now I guess it’s over to you….go on, you know you want to create your own GIF channel…