Graphics Interchange Format’s (image type) [GIFS] are a powerful visual tool that you can use in your B2B marketing campaign. Somewhere between a photo and a video, a well-made GIF can communicate your message in a fast and effective way. The small files take only a moment to load making them an ideal omnichannel communication tool.
GIFs are easy and fast to create, even for those with limited skills. Once you have made a few, they take very little time to create and have the potential to go viral. While marketers might usually think that such technology is the domain of pop culture and B2C campaigns, B2B marketers who successfully use GIFs include government agencies and NGOs.
You can create a GIF in Photoshop using a photo series as well as short video files. Using the following guide, you can create a GIF using either file type, only Part 1.1 Load your deck of photos and Part 1.2 Load your video file is different.
1.1 Load your deck of photos into Photoshop
In Photoshop, go to File > Stack > Load Files into Stack. Click Browse, then choose the photos (“layers”) you want to use by Shift-clicking on the full list. Each of these photos will be one frame in your GIF.
1.2 Load your video file into Photoshop
To turn a short video into a GIF using Photoshop, you’ll need to make layers out of the existing video frames. First, click File > Import > Video Frames to Layers.
A pop up will ask which portion of the video you’d like to import. You can select the range using the slider below the video.
Photoshop will ask how many frames it should import? It isn’t necessary to import every single frame to make a GIF. You could choose one in two, for example. When you’re finished, click OK.
Once you’ve imported your video file into layers, skip to Step 4.
2. Create a Timeline for your GIF
Under the “Window” menu, scroll down and click Timeline.
A small box will appear under the first image in your list: Create Video Timeline. Click this and change it to Create Frame Animation.
3. Convert your photo layers into a set of looping animation frames
In the top right of the “Timeline” panel you’ll see a menu (outlined in yellow).
Click on the hamburger menu, scroll down, and click on Make Frames From Layers.
The “Timeline” panel will now show your animation frames in sequence. You can drag these to reorder them.
Press the triangular Play icon to see a preview of your GIF. Ensure that you select Forever in the drop-down menu to the left, otherwise your GIF will only loop a set number of times.
4. Export your GIF
Click File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy)…
In the next pop up, under the “Preset” menu, select GIF 128 Dithered.
Change your Colors setting to 256 (the max number for a GIF).
And your GIF is ready to export.
Click Preview in the bottom left corner, which will open your default web browser and play a looping preview of your GIF.
Click Save and name your GIF file. Download the GIF to your computer.
Now your GIF is complete.
How to make a GIF from a YouTube video
Even if you don’t have access to an Adobe Creative Suite subscription you can still create a GIF.
1. Go to GIPHY.com and click Create
2. Add the web address of the video you’d like to make into a GIF
3. Find the part of the video you’d like to capture, and choose the length
Choosing a longer duration in the top slider will add more time after the “start-time” you select in the bottom slider.
4. Optional step: decorate your GIF
Here you can add text, stickers, filters, or hand-drawn annotations.
5. Optional step: add hashtags to your GIF
This is where you can open your GIF to going viral. Add hashtags so that people can find your GIF and share it. Include your brand and business name or industry terms to make it easily searchable.
6. Upload your GIF to GIPHY
To include the GIF in your social media posts, insert the Giphy link or download the Giphy file and attach it.
You can follow these same steps to upload a GIF you’ve made yourself. Just add a link to the GIF URL in place of the YouTube video link at the start. You can also use these steps to create a GIF from your own video.
How to make a GIF on mobile
Mobile apps like GIPHY Cam allow you to make GIFs on your phone. These are extremely easy to use.
1. Launch the app and record your GIF
Tap the photo button to take a short burst of photos, or hold it for a longer GIF.
2. Optional step: choose a filter, or add stickers/text
Here you can personalise your GIF to your B2B marketing needs.
3. Save your GIF and share it
How to make a screen-recording GIF
Apps like GIPHY Capture, ScreenToGif, LICECap and GifCam allow you to make GIFs of your on-screen activity. This is a great option if you’re writing a short instructional article (like showcasing how to use a product or how a service works) and want to show steps visually.
1. Launch the screen-recording GIF software
When you launch the software, you’ll see a recording overlay like the red-outlined section in the screenshot below.
2. Pull the mask over the area you want to record
With GIPHY Capture, you can record anything within the recording overlay (outlined in red). To enlarge this area, click and drag the bottom-right corner (outlined in yellow).
3. Record your on-screen activity
Press the circular red button in the centre to record, then press it again to stop recording. You should see a thumbnail preview of your GIF in the bar below the recording overlay.
4. Customize your GIF settings
Minimize the recording area and open the GIF options menu. Here, you can customize your GIF, including the loop type (normal, reverse, or ping-pong) pixel size, and frame rate. Drag the tabs in from the left or right to trim your GIF. You can also add captions from this menu. Just click captions next to options.
When you’re ready, you can click the blue Calculate size text to get an idea of how big your GIF file will be. Under 3MB is ideal for fast loading.
5. Save your GIF
You can choose to save your GIF to your computer, or, in the case of GIPHY Capture, upload it straight to GIPHY’s online archive.
Using GIFs in B2B marketing is a great way to reach your busy audience. Using the tool to communicate effectively can show potential clients the value of your company and generate leads for your business.
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