Friday, July 7, 2017

101 The Definitive Guide to Content Curation: Strategies, Tips, and Tools

Image result for The Definitive Guide to Content Curation: Strategies, Tips, and Tools


Many of us are curating content without even thinking about it.

We’re sharing that quirky New York Times article on Facebook. We’re quoting celebrity tweets and making funny (well, funny to us) quips on Twitter.

What is content curation?

Content curation is all about mining the internet for material that can be shared on your social networks. It’s about finding great content and presenting it to your social media followers in a way that’s organized and meaningful.
The thing is, you’re probably not thinking strategically when you’re scrolling through your phone and posting from bed in the morning.
Content curation strategy is what makes the difference between mediocre and exceptional content curation in business.
Strategy is a must when it comes to content marketing, which includes content curation.

Content marketing vs. content curation

Content marketing is all about getting material out into the world that helps strengthen your brand in one way or another. That could mean writing blog posts, making YouTube videos, or Snapchatting Stories.
But it takes a lot of creative juice to constantly make new things while still keeping up with the demands of a business.
And that’s where content curation comes in.
It’s all about finding something that stands out online instead of creating something new.

Why should brands curate content?

1. It alleviates the pressure to create

You might not have the time to make enough fresh content to keep the conversation going on social. Content curation helps fill that need.

2. You lessen the ‘me, me, me’ factor

When someone’s talking about themselves all the time, it gets old real quick. Curated content helps with that.

3. Online networking opportunities

UpContent’s Marissa Burdett says that sharing curated content can help you make connections with leaders in your industry. She also explains that it could spark conversation with your social media audience in general.

4. You become seen as thought leader

If you’re sharing posts about the latest trends in your field, it shows that you’re engaged on a deeper level.

5. Grow your business

Braveen Kumar writes all about this in a Shopify blog post on using content curation to grow your ecommerce business. This can happen through things like strengthening your email list and defining your brand online.

How to curate content

If you’re worried about this whole mining-the-web thing, there’s no need to be. You’re not in the dark with one headlamp. You have a whole mining crew, thanks to a variety of content curation tools, which we will get to later.
The steps in this article will help you master content curation like a ninja.
First you’ll need to figure out what topics you want to search through using these tools. Once you find material, you’ll have to decide what to share.
Here’s a list of questions to help you with that:
  • Is this content on brand? Is there a reason why my company would share this? You’ll need to know your target audience to decide on this.
  • Can I trust the source?
  • Is it offering something unique to my readers?
  • Is it entertaining or useful in some way?
You also need to schedule these posts in an appropriate way so that you’re offering variety to your readers.
When you’re doing this, you should think about the so-called Social Media Rule of Thirds:
  • One third of what you share should be about personal brand promotion.
  • One third should be curated content.
  • One third should be about the conversations that are happening on social.

Content curation best practices

Read, watch, listen

There are so many services that help you find material, but you need to check it all out before you share it.

Ensure it’s relevant

If it’s not relevant to your business in some way, quash it. An article from Search Engine Journal says you should ask yourself the intent behind each of your posts.

Make sure it’s trustworthy

Find things that are come from reputable sources that you can trust.

Personalize

You need to bring a piece of you to what you’re sharing. You could tell readers why they might be interested, or add some sort of value to the piece.

Provide value

What you share must be interesting or entertaining to your audience.

Mix up what you post

Share different perspectives from your niche.

Schedule your content

Use a content calendar to map out what you’re going to post. You can also use a program such as Hootsuite to schedule your posts so you don’t have to remember to post throughout the day.
Cathy Habas, the managing editor for Coquí Content Marketing, advises: don’t schedule too far in advance because you want curated material that’s topical.

Give credit

You need to credit the creator of the content you are sharing wherever possible. That could mean using an @mention in a tweet, or tagging them in a Facebook post, for example.

Engage in social listening

You should be looking to see what’s working and not working when it comes to your content curation. Christina Newberry wrote a Hootsuite blog post about social listeningthat could help you figure this out.
For more on content curation best practices, check out this video from Hootsuite Academy.

Learn how to get even more out of Hootsuite with free social media training from Hootsuite Academy.

Content curation tools

Here are some of the tools that are out there to help businesses with social media content curation.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo lets you search the most shared content on a specific topic in the last few hours, or months. You can see the top 10 influencers for a topic and what they’re sharing.
Buzzsumo ranges in price from $79 monthly to $559 monthly, with cheaper rates if you purchase by the year.

Right Relevance

This service finds relevant content and influencers in a field, and gives them a score and a rank… So if you’re into numbers, it could help you decide what to share—and who to share it from.
Right Relevance starts at $500 per month.

RSS readers (like Feedly)

With programs like Feedly, you can follow your favorite feeds and organize articles in one spot. You can also keep track of internal information, and when your business is mentioned online.
The cost ranges from free to $18 monthly.
If you use Hootsuite to manage your social media presence, you can add an RSS feed to save yourself time curating content.

Hootsuite

Beyond RSS integrations, Hootsuite is a great tool for content curation as it allows you to keep track of and organize your social media feeds by network, topic, keywords, hashtags, Twitter lists, and more.

Reddit

Reddit is an online community where posts get upvoted or downvoted. You can follow specific interests, called subreddits. People also comment on these posts, which could help you understand your niche—and what posts resonate with that audience—better.

UpContent

UpContent uses an algorithm that pulls news articles and blog posts for you based on things like social influence and recency. Then you can curate that content on your site by using the UpContent Gallery tool.
UpContent ranges from free to $10 per month.

Pocket

Pocket is a place to put things you find on social. So you can stop texting and emailing stuff to yourself to keep track of it (and losing it anyway).
Plans range from $4.99 a month to $49.99 a year.

Scoop.it

Scoop.it lets you find things and put them together in a topic hub page that can be shared. You could also publish this curated content elsewhere, such as your blog. For individuals, this service ranges from free to $67 yearly.

Sniply

Sniply is all about what’s called a call to action (CTA). When you use Sniply to reshare something that directs followers to another site, a little box pops up on that webpage with a message from you. That message could include your web address.
Sniply ranges from $29 to $299 a month.

Curata

Curata listens to what you’re interested in and provides you with sources based on that. You can also crowdsource material from across your business.
Then you can use Curata to publish on your website.
You can call Curata to get a quote on the service: 617-229-5529.

PublishThis

This content curation tool “indexes, tags [and] centralizes content from the web’s best sources,” according to its website.
There’s no price listed, but there’s a forum on the website to get in touch.

Trapit

Companies can put their own social marketing content on Trapit, and pull in other content to curate. This can be sent to employees to share with customers. There’s also an analytics system that measures how well it does.
You will need to contact the company to get a cost quote.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

101 Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers

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Conducting a social media audit is a key part of a social media marketing plan. This assesses how well your current social media use works for you.

There are a number of different steps involved in this process, so we have put together a social media audit template to help you conduct your first (or second, or third…) one more efficiently.

What is a social media audit?

A social media audit is a regular examination of social channels that represent your brand—including both your business’ owned profiles and imposter accounts.
The purpose is to ensure that each of your profiles are on brand and functioning correctly, identify and shut down any rogue or abandoned accounts, and ensure that you’re using the channels that make the most sense for your brand.

A 6-step guide to conducting a social media audit

Step 1: Create a social media audit spreadsheet

Your social media audit needs a home, which is why you need a spreadsheet. As you go through these six steps, you’ll see that the spreadsheet will start automatically adding new columns.
To start, create a column for each social network, URL to your profile on that social network, and owner. The “Owner” field may seem superfluous, but it’s actually really important to keep track of this information—it allows you to know who owns the password and who is in charge of posting and engaging with followers on that social profile.
A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Step 2: Go on a search for your social presence on Google

Go to Google and search your company name to see which social media profiles show up. This will allow you to see if there are any rogue accounts or imposters using your company name. It also gives you the opportunity to find out if the right social media profiles are appearing on in search results.
You can either create a separate spreadsheet to track the results of this search, or add a new column—labelled “Shutdown Y/N”—in the original spreadsheet. The purpose of this is to keep track of whether you need to track down an imposter to tell them to shut down their account, or contact the social network to ask them to intervene in the matter.
A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Step 3: Evaluate your social media profiles

This is an important part of your social media audit. As with your social media marketing plan, you need to constantly be evaluating your social media profiles.
During the evaluation process, create a mission statement for each profile. Make sure each profile aligns with your business goals and objectives. This will help you decide whether being present on that social network contributes to your overall strategy and whether or not it makes sense for your business to keep that profile.
A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Step 4: Make sure your social media profiles are on brand

Now that you know which social media profiles you’re going to keep, it’s time to check that each of these profiles meet your brand standards for imagery, style, etc.
This means making sure you have a proper profile photo, cover image, icons, bios and descriptions, correct URL, etc.
A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Step 5: Centralize the ownership of your passwords

The process of doing a social media audit can help you make sure that all your social media profiles are secure. One way to test this is by centralizing the ownership of the passwords for each profile. For example: you can have your IT department own the key to all the passwords for the social media profiles. Then use a password managing tool like LastPass to share access on a need-to-use basis.
A Social Media Audit Template and Guide for Marketers | Hootsuite Blog

Step 6: Create a process

Once you’re done your social media audit, it’s time to take what you learned and create an internal process when it comes to creating new social profiles going forward. Create a criteria and take note of who will approve the requests.
For example, take note of:
  • The requester
  • Who the target audience is
  • What type of content will be posted to this profile
  • Who is responsible for posting and engagement
Use the information you’ve discovered through your social media marketing audit to build a more robust social media strategy. Then, put it to work using Hootsuite to schedule posts, engage with followers, and monitor your efforts. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dream Baby Dream- Bruce Springsteen


Lyrics
Dream baby dream
Dream baby dream
Dream baby dream
Come on and dream baby dream
Come on and dream baby dream
We gotta keep the light burning
Come on, we gotta keep the light burning
Come on, we gotta keep the light burning
Come on, we gotta keep the light burning
Come on and dream baby dream
We gotta keep the fire burning
Come on, we gotta keep the fire burning
Come on, we gotta keep the fire burning
Come on and dream baby dream
Come open up your heart
Come on and open up your heart
Come on and open up your heart
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Come on and open up your heart
Come on and open up your hearts
Come on and open up your hearts
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Come on, we gotta keep on dreaming
Come on, we gotta keep on dreaming
Come on, we gotta keep on dreaming
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Come on darling and dry your eyes
Come on baby and dry your eyes
Come on baby and dry your eyes
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
Now I just wanna see you smile
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Come on and open up your hearts
Come on and open up your hearts
Come on and open up your hearts
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
And I just wanna see you smile
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
Yeah I just wanna see you smile
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Come on and open up your heart
Come on and open up your heart
Come on and open up your heart
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Come on dream on, dream on baby
Come on dream on, dream on baby
Come on dream on, dream on baby
Come on dream on, dream baby dream
Ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah

Songwriters: Alan Vega / Martin Rev

Song Facts 
This song was originally written and recorded by Suicide under the title of "Keep Your Dreams," for their 1977 debut EP. The electronic protopunk duo remade the dark, electronic tune two years later under the title of "Keep Your Dreams," and released as a non album single. It found a fan in Springsteen, who transformed it into a warmer and more optimistic version, which he performed a solo keyboard version to close the concerts on his 2005 Devils & Dust tour. 

The track later resurfaced as the soundtrack to a video released in October 2013 as a thank you to Springsteen's fans for supporting the 2012 and 2013 Wrecking Ball tour and then was included on his 2014 High Hopes album.
Suicide have been recording intermittently active since 1970. A flyer the band circulated in November of that year was the first ever to use the phrase "punk music" to advertise a concert. Alan Vega's vocals were backed by a primitive drum machine and Martin Rev's fuzz organ and their nihilistic attitude and lack of guitars often aroused bewildered reactions amongst their audiences. Despite their lack of popularity amongst the general public, Suicide's albums of the late '70s and early '80s are regarded as highly influential by music critics, having helped shape the direction of indie rock, industrial and dance music.
Alan Vega commented of Springsteen's cover in an 2005 interview with Backstreets Magazine. "A lot of bands have done my stuff, Suicide stuff, and they basically try and copy and do it the way that you do it," he said. "He just - thank god! - finally somebody did their version of it. They interpreted my song, he did it his way, and such a great way, that I'm going to have to sing it that way, or not sing it at all any more!"
High Hopes producer Ron Aniello admitted to Rolling Stone that he didn't know this was such a well-known song. He recalled: "(Bruce) played me the thing and said it was an experience more than anything at the end of his Devils and Dust shows. It took a lot to get that experience on a record for him. We had to do that song probably 10 times – different versions of it – until he was satisfied it was the right version."
Aniello told Rolling Stone about the recording process for High Hopes at Springsteen's home studio. "Each day he'd give me a list of things and I'd write them down," the producer said. "When he starts talking, I start writing. Then I try to distil what his advice is about the song to make it work for him. We play the song again and get it to a place."

"Take the song 'Dream Baby Dream," he added. "I had some versions of the song and he was like, 'That sounds good, but it's not quite there,' or 'It's good. You're really close.' Then the next day he'd be like, 'Ah, it's terrible. Throw it out.' I was like, 'Come on, love this song. I gotta deliver this song for you.' We went over and and over it. You never know what he's thinking. It's not like when he was 21 and he'd go 16 hours in the studio without eating. He doesn't have to do that now. He has a home studio and it's quite comfortable for him.

Brand Certifications to Make You a Better Social Media Marketer

As new technologies are being introduced in the workplace, the skills needed to make the most of them are changing as well. Playing catch-up has proven to take a toll in the job hunt, as current employees and recent graduates struggle to find the skills required to stay competitive.

Nearly eight in 10 middle-skill jobs now require digital skills here’s what you can do to bridge the gap on your own.

6 online marketing certifications to help you get ahead

1. Digital Marketing with Udacity

When it comes to getting the digital skills you need, who better to learn from than the brands who shape these industries? Udacity partnered up with industry leaders like Facebook, Google, MailChimp, and us here at Hootsuite to bring you the Digital Marketing Nanodegree program.
The program is designed to get students hired in today’s job market. Udacity does this by covering platform proficiency for today’s most relevant marketing platforms. This means you understand the full digital marketing ecosystem—from content strategy to paid advertising and analytics.
For example, in their Display Advertising course, Udacity takes you through key marketing channels like mobile and video, how to purchase and sell ads, and how to set up your own display ad via Google Adwords.
With Udacity’s unique course format, you get a hands-on learning experience. You’ll run live campaigns on major marketing platforms, where you learn how to measure performance, and create a strategy based on these insights. When it’s over, you can add these projects into your digital marketing portfolio.

Courses include:

  • Content Strategy
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Display Advertising
  • Social Media Advertising with Facebook
  • Measure and Optimize with Google Analytics

Projects include:

  • Market Your Content
  • Run a Facebook Campaign
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit
  • Run an Adwords Campaign

2. Social Media Marketing with Facebook Blueprint

Facebook’s certification program takes you beyond the basics of Facebook and Instagram marketing. As a leader in social media advertising, Facebook Blueprint teaches you how to best take advantage of Facebook’s tools so that you can meet your business goals.
Courseware includes case studies from real businesses, in-person training, and knowledge checks while you’re learning. It’s flexible, too—conveniently accessible on any device, anywhere, anytime—to fit even the busiest of schedules.

Courses include:

  • Campaign Optimization
  • Creative Best Practices
  • Purchasing Ads
  • Ad Targeting

3. SEO with Google AdWords

Not every company has an in-house SEO expert like Hootsuite’s Zak Ramdani. Some of us are mere mortals struggling to find the best keywords that will place us on the first page of Google.
Increasing the discoverability of your social media content means that it’s more likely to reach your audience, drive traffic, and meet your marketing goals.
The Google AdWords certification teaches you basic and intermediate SEO skills, ensuring your content ranks in search engine results. With this certification, you also learn how to best create, execute, and manage an ad campaign using AdWords by Google.

Courses include:

  • AdWords Fundamentals
  • Search Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Mobile Advertising
  • Video Advertising
  • Shopping Advertising
Along with your personalized certificate, you receive a Google Partners public profile page listing your certifications. Now when anyone looks you up in a search—they’ll see your Google Partners credentials.

4. Real-time marketing with Twitter Flight School

When Twitter first released Twitter Flight School to major marketing agencies like Starcom MediaVest Group, WPP, and Omnicon—it was a massive success. After over 15,000 agency employees enrolled, the social media platform decided to roll out its training program to the public.
With 10-minute training modules, the courseware will help you develop successful Twitter marketing campaigns by offering best practices and providing examples from real businesses.

Courses include:

  • Twitter 101
  • How to create and manage objective-based campaigns
  • How to integrate Twitter into a TV campaign
  • How to drive website traffic and conversions
Also check out Twitter Flight School’s downloadable resource library. It’s a treasure trove of tips for creating your next campaign and includes downloadable presentations to prepare for your next client meeting.

5. Pinterest Propel

Pinterest Propel differs from some of the other offerings on this list. Rather than coursework and exams, Propel is a 30-day program featuring one-on-one training from Pinterest’s ad experts.
The program focuses on building and managing a successful ad campaign, tracking sales and online conversions, and generating leads. It also offers expert tips, best practices, and access to Pinterest guides.
One of the coolest aspects of Pinterest Propel? You get access to Pinterest’s Pin Factory—where you can create custom Promoted Pins for your business.

Topics covered include:

  • Setting up your business account
  • More about Promoted Pins
  • Creating and editing your ads
  • Setting up Pinterest Tag to track conversions
Check out their success stories page to see how real businesses have used paid advertising on Pinterest to engage audiences, expand their reach, and acquire new clients.

6. Hootsuite Academy

You knew this was coming.
Hootsuite Academy has educated more than 200,000 professionals—and certified 30,000—on a variety of topics key to social media marketing success, ranging from introductory material to more advanced tactics like data analytics and measuring return on investment (ROI).
Courses are free and include lots of video content—making it a fun and intuitive learning experience.

Courses include:

  • Social Selling Training and Certification
  • Advanced Social Strategy Training & Certification
  • Social Marketing Training

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

101 Patent Application Time Line ... some points to consider


Image result for Patent Timeline







Israel is the StartUp Nation and most startups make sure to file at least one patent application on their ideas. Given the many things an innovator has to do during the first years of a startup, when is the right time to file a patent application?

Many people want to catch the earliest date possible. This makes sense since one needs to be the “first to file” to win the patent over others who come up with the same idea.

The problem with rushing to the patent office is that there is a requirement to provide an “enabling disclosure” of how to implement the invention. Very few inventors know how to make their invention when they first have the idea. Often, an inventor has to build a prototype of some kind or generate a design specification in order to finalize the design.

But many startup founders fear that, in the meantime, someone may come up with the same idea and file a patent application first. This may be true, but if they don’t have the enabling disclosure, they can’t get a patent. It is not sufficient to have an idea; you have to know how to implement it.

There is another issue here as well, one most inventors don’t consider. Once a patent application is filed in one country, it starts the clock for a family of patent applications around the world. According to the Paris Convention, once a first patent application has been filed in a first country, “second” applications in other countries can be filed within 12 months from that first filing. These second applications will be based on, and take “priority” from, the first application. Otherwise, without that priority connection, the first application could be cited against the later, second applications.

Many inventors don’t have enough money to file in many countries at the 1 year point. Many of them take advantage of the PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) to gain another 18 months before having to file abroad. The PCT was created in the 1970s to help solve the problem of the lack of budget at the 1 year point. It is known as the “international patent application” and provides the same filing date for all countries signed on the treaty. Thus, if you file in the PCT on Jan 1 2017, it is as if you filed in all the countries of the PCT on Jan 1 2017.

Note that both the Paris Convention and the PCT set their deadlines according to the priority date of the first application. Thus, the timeline for actions, as well as the budget, is set by that very first filing.

The expiration date of a patent in a given country is also set by the filing date. It defined as 20 years from the filing date in that country. For some inventions, like those in fast-changing fields, such as software, 20 years is significantly longer than the life expectancy of the product.

But for other products, such as many consumer products, the product will still be sold 20 years later. And for still other products, such as pharmaceuticals, 20 years is too short. A pharmaceutical product takes 10 - 15 years from invention until the product is cleared to be sold to the general public and is still a viable product for many years after that.


Thus, depending on the type of product, I will consider the expiration date vs. when to file the application.

I will also consider WHERE to file the application, in order to optimize the expiration dates. This is because the expiration date of the first application is about 1 year before the expiration date of the second applications (those filed according to the Paris Convention as well as those filed in the PCT). Thus, the second applications expire about 1 year AFTER the priority application expires.

This fact disturbed the US pharmaceutical companies for whom each extra day at the end of the 20 years is worth a fortune. They invented the “provisional” patent application in order to shift the relevant filing date 1 year later. The provisional patent application lives for 1 year, after which the applicant needs to file a “utility” application based on the provisional application. The 20 years is calculated from the utility’s filing date.

Thus, for consumer products, pharmaceuticals and other long-lived products, we advise the applicant to file a US provisional patent application first, to gain the extra year of protection in the US and to align the expiration dates of the entire patent family.

As you can see, the timing of important milestones in the life of a patent family are defined by the filing date. Choosing a timing based on your objectives is an important part of your patent strategy
.

Monday, May 29, 2017

1001 GIF Guide for Social Media Marketers


A ferris wheel. An Olympic athlete. Your content. Some things are just better in motion. Words and photos are great for telling stories but it’s sometimes difficult to find exactly the right ones to convey your message. On the other hand, video requires a certain kind of commitment from both the content creator and the audience. Enter: the GIF.
The GIF is able to convey emotion and information in a quick and entertaining way that many other mediums can’t. But using GIFs can be somewhat of an art. Nailing the perfect tone, image, and timing of a GIF can be a tricky process, where a misstep could affect your brand’s reputation. To ensure you make the most of GIFs in your social media strategy, we’ve created the following GIF guide
The GIF guide for social media marketers

What are GIFs?

If you enjoy having meaningless debates with coworkers, ask whether it’s pronounced with a soft ‘g’ like jifs, or with a hard ‘g’ like gift. Whichever way you say it, GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, which refers to a file format that supports both static and animated images. GIFs allow you to present a short video clip in a far more condensed image format, and without sound. In other words, they’re quick, soundless videos that loop and don’t require a play button.
GIFs are so widely-used that the word “GIF” was named the 2012 Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year. However, the GIF isn’t exactly a brand new phenomenon. In 2017, the GIF will celebrate its 30th anniversary. Katherine Martin, Head of the U.S. Dictionaries Program at Oxford University Press explains how during this time, “The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.”
How to explain GIFs to anyone under 35: “They’re like the moving pictures in Harry Potter newspapers.”
How to explain GIFs to your grandparents: Don’t bother, they probably don’t care about GIFs. Ask them about a time before GIFs. Then, appreciate GIFs even more.

Why you should use GIFs

The entertainment value of GIFs is obvious, but the business value might be a bit more difficult to see. But the potential and possibilities for GIFs are limited only by your own imagination. You should consider adding GIFs to your social media strategy because:
  • GIFs show that you’re paying attention to internet trends
  • GIFs show that you and your brand have a fun side
  • GIFs can add more context to a shorter message, post, or Tweet
  • GIFs get your message across in a shorter amount of time
  • GIFs are easily shareable
  • GIFs convey emotions better than text or photos alone
And perhaps most importantly, they work. The following GIF helped us earn over 80 Retweets, over 80 likes, and 760 link clicks. The use of GIFs has really boosted the performance of a number of our Tweets.

Now that you know some of the key reasons to incorporate GIFs into your social media strategy, you’re probably wondering where you can actually find some quality GIFs.

Where to find GIFs

The title here could actually be ‘where NOT to find GIFs,’ as the internet is just crawling with these animated delights. But not all GIFs are created equal and you could spend hours sifting through sources in order to find something you can actually use.
To save you time, check out the following sites for GIFs you wouldn’t be embarrassed to use in your social media content.

Giphy

Giphy is my go-to GIF resource, and for good reason. Giphy is the world’s largest library of animated GIFs, so if you’re looking for something there’s almost a guarantee that you’ll be able to find it there. Just type in a keyword such as the emotion you want to convey (i.e. excitement) or what you want to be in your GIF (i.e. dog) and you’ll quickly get a list of relevant results.

Gifbin.com

Gifbin.com is another GIF library, but with a few features that make it a stand out. If you are lacking inspiration for posts or just don’t know what kind of content to post today, use Gifbin.com’s Random GIF generator to spark some creativity. While you might have to click the button a few times to get a GIF that makes sense, you never know what kind of theme or message you’ll think of as Gifbin.com works its magic.

Reddit (/r/gifs)

Reddit is a website that lets users upvote the good stuff and downvote the bad. And the GIF-specific subreddit has turned it into one of the best collections.
These are great resources for finding already-made GIFs, but sometimes the situation calls for a completely customized solution. This is when knowing how to create your own GIFs will come in handy.

How to create your own GIFs

Creating your own GIFs is a surefire way to show off your brand’s creativity and personality. You can easily make your own GIFs by uploading your own images and videos to any of the following online tools:
If you’re an enterprising individual, you can also make your own GIFs within Photoshop. Open up your video file in Photoshop, use the timeline tool to crop to the length you want, and select “Save for Web”. Don’t forget to set ‘looping’ to ‘forever,’ to ensure that you don’t end up with a sad single loop animation. If that seems confusing, there are countless YouTube tutorials to walk you through the process.

Boomerang

Instagram’s Boomerang also offers a fun way to make something close to a custom GIF using your very own mobile phone camera. Boomerang takes a short burst of photos, combines, and reverses them to create a looping clip that you can share instantly.
Giphy Cam provides a mobile option for creating GIFs on the go. The app allows you to record a GIF, add filters, effects, and text, and then share or save your GIF.

Tips and tricks for using GIFs

How to use GIFs on Twitter

Twitter launched an integrated GIF library in 2016 in partnership with GIF resources Giphy and Tenor (previously Riffsy). As Twitter explains, “Whenever you’re composing a Tweet or Direct Message, you can search and browse the GIF library. So if you’re looking for the perfect cat yawn or dance move to express exactly how you feel, just click the new GIF button. You can search by keyword, or browse categories of different reactions like Happy Dance, Mic Drop, or YOLO.”
To access this feature, simply click on the GIF icon when composing a Tweet. You can choose from one of the categories provided, or search for something specific.
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If you need more detail on how to add GIFs to your Twitter content, check out Twitter’s thorough instructional resource on posting photos and GIFs.
Now that adding GIFs to your Tweets is so easy, you need to think about how you will be using them in your strategy. One of the top places GIFs are used for a business purpose, is through a classic Twitter back-and-forth. Instead of using words alone, use a GIF to truly evoke the emotion you’re trying to communicate. This brings a dose of fun and entertainment to your timeline, and helps not only to keep your audience engaged, but your brand from looking too serious.
In addition to this classic use of GIFs, Twitter suggests using them in the following business scenarios.

Create animated posters for sales or events

If you’ve ever wished you could create a moving advertisement without investing in a video ad, this is your chance. If done right, a GIF can share much more information than 140-characters can and, as Twitter explains, “they can also act as a highly shareable information piece followers can Retweet.”

Feature your products

While most people won’t want to watch a full minute-long video of your product, a GIF will fit into most busy schedules. Share a GIF highlighting the features of your product, or short snippets of how to use it (if applicable).

Visualize your data

Static charts and data visualizations are great, but you can elevate your content and make things much more interesting for your audience by making GIFs to show off data.

How to use GIFs on Facebook

While Facebook didn’t always support the use of GIFs, recent updates have made GIF sharing easy on the network. To share a GIF on your Timeline, simply copy and paste the link to the GIF. Wait for the preview to appear, and then post away!
For example, to share a GIF from Giphy, the site provides the following instructions:
“If you share a Giphy link (i.e. http://gph.is/1aljRyd) on Facebook, the GIF will play in the newsfeed, the profile page, the permalink of the post, embeds of the post, and as comments!”
If you’re a business looking to use a GIF to boost a post, you’re in luck. Follow the same steps as mentioned above, and then click on “Boost Post.” For best results with your GIFs, Facebook recommends that you:
  • Choose high quality images or animations
  • Use a link ending with .gif
  • Use a GIF with a file size less than 8MB
  • Use a GIF with less than 20 percent text on the image
  • Avoid GIFs that flash or are grainy, as your boosted post may not be approved
Now that you know the logistics of using GIFs on Facebook, there are a few different ways you can use them in your social media strategy.

Show behind the scenes

The majority of Facebook users prefer a silent timeline, so sharing some behind the scenes footage in a quick and soundless format such as a GIF is a great way to showcase your brand in an easily consumable way. Feature your employees, offices, or other behind the scenes events such as photo shoots to give your audience a glimpse into who or what makes your brand unique.

Feature your products

Just like on Twitter, you can use Facebook to feature GIFs of your products or services in action. Make custom GIFs showcasing your products to show them in a new (and animated) light.

Share relevant instructional content

The short and easily-digestible nature of GIFs makes it easier to hold your audience’s’ attention. Add value to your followers’ Timelines by sharing how-to and instructional GIFs that are relevant to your brand. For example, if you’re a beauty company you could create a GIF tutorial “3 steps to an effortless cat-eye.” Exercise that creativity, and think about what kind of instructional content you could share in GIF format.

How NOT to use GIFs

Now that you have some idea of how to use GIFs, you need to know how not to use them. When the GIF experts at Giphy joined us for a #HootChat, they shared some guidance on what to avoid when using GIFs. Here are some of the major “don’ts” according to GIPHY:

Don’t post GIFs out of context

Make sure you are 100 percent certain that the GIF you are using is not only relevant, but that you know where it comes from. Context is key, and so many GIFs have meaning that is rooted in the source, whether that be a movie, music video, or news clip.

Don’t be too casual

Trying to be cool is probably the most uncool thing on the planet. As the Giphy team explains, “It’s like reciting movie quotes. When someone uses the perfect GIF, it’s entertaining, [but] when a brand gets too meme-y or ‘hip with the kids,’ it’s time to get off the internet.”

Don’t post overly branded GIFs

The beauty of GIFs is in their brand-less nature. Don’t ruin this by trying to smother your GIF in logos or trademarks. Content marketing is about not hitting your audience over the head with the fact that they’re seeing branded content, so try your best to limit any blatant sales pitches. Instead, “skip the over-done branding in favor of a mini logo in the corner, some subtle product placement, or no official branding at all.”
GIFs are one of the easiest ways to bring your content to life. Use them for everything from conveying emotion to showcasing your product and you’ll be on your way to mastering the art of the perfect GIF in a jiffy.