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5 Ways GIFs Can Increase Your PR and Marketing Efforts When used wisely, GIFs are a great way to connect with your audience, increase views and make your brand more relatable to consumers.

By Beki Winchel

entrepreneur daily

This story originally appeared on PR Daily

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GIFs aren't only for powerhouse social media users anymore.

Employing looping visuals lets PR pros and marketers say a thousand words -- or more --in shorthand. When used wisely, GIFs are a great way to connect with your audience, increase views and make your brand more relatable to consumers.

Here are five ways you can jump on the GIF bandwagon:

1. Add a touch of sass to consumer interactions.

As Internet culture becomes more pervasive, brand managers are embracing new ways of reaching out to online audiences. In April, Ikea replied to consumers entirely through memes, and Chevy made headlines for its all-emoji press release.

However, brand managers can take things one step further and use GIFs to respond to consumers through Facebook, Twitter and even emails. Just make sure that your GIF use fits your brand's voice.

2. Spice up social media posts.

As visuals grow in popularity, PR and marketing pros are looking to infographics, videos and more in order to attract eyeballs and hold followers' attention.

GIFs can add life to tweets, Pinterest pins, Flipboard magazines, Instagram posts and Facebook content.

Though Facebook business pages do not have the option to post GIFs, Facebook profiles do—and it's a service Facebook is considering rolling out to brand managers. The social network also recently announced that users could now employ GIFs as profile pictures. Savvy marketers could reach out to brand advocates with large Facebook followings in order to implement these features for a campaign.

If you're looking for something more subtle than cat or reaction GIFs, use or create cinemagraphs. Several brands are using cinemagraphs to add flavor to Instagram posts.

3. Make stories -- and emails -- more interesting.

GIFs can boost your content marketing efforts by adding engaging elements to stories, newsletters and promotional emails.

Though you don't have to emulate Buzzfeed, add GIFs to a how-to article or list of tips to attract (and keep) your audience's attention. A story sprinkled with Olivia Pope GIFs or other popular figures can spike both views and shares.

GIFs can also pack a punch to an otherwise mundane marketing email or newsletter. Show off a campaign, contest or announcement, and your message will probably stick longer in readers' minds.

4. Repurpose instructions and videos.

Looking to get more play from a list of instructions or a video you created for consumers or employees?

Turn them into GIFs and share across social media, in story roundups or email updates. About.me showed followers how to cook bacon perfectly to celebrate Twitter allowing GIFs in 2014.

Use gifs to turn any YouTube video—including your own—into a looping visual. The tool is easy to use: Pop in a YouTube URL, select the portion you'd like to make into a GIF. and download your finished project. We even immortalized one of our very own editors at Ragan Communications.

5. Show off your prowess with a collection.

Increase your Internet cred by curating the best GIFs through a Tumblr blog or Flipboard magazine.

You can also sign up for a Giphy account and mark your favorites from the website for future use, making it even easier to grab visuals for social media posts and stories. You might also create your own Giphy channel, which displays the GIFs you've uploaded to the website—including each GIF's source information and tags.

By sharing your GIF collection with others, you not only offer followers fun and useful visuals, but you also let them know that your organization has its finger on the pulse of current trends.

How do you use GIFs in your PR and marketing strategies? Join us for our Twitter #RaganChat on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. Central time to talk about GIFs, memes and other visual content.

Beki Winchel is a contributor for PR Daily

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