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How to make and use GIFs to increase Twitter engagement

Each social media platform has evolved to excel at sharing certain kinds of content and – despite its shortcomings – Twitter is one of the best platforms for sharing news about your business, your blog posts, and certain graphics, especially GIFs.

GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are those animated mini-movie graphics that last just a second or three that loop back. They are powerful on Twitter because when someone is scanning a long list of Tweets, the motion in a GIF commands the Twitter user’s attention.

Creating a GIF is easy. There are free online services that you can use. The process starts with a video. I’ve used Giphy in the past and found it to be pretty user friendly.

Ideally, you’ll have a short video from which you want to capture a few seconds for your GIF. It can be an online file for which you have the URL or it can be a video file stored on your local computer. In the example below, I’m dragging a file from my desktop over to the Giphy window. (By the way, I used Giphy to make this GIF.)

Once you have your video uploaded, use the online sliders to set the start point of your GIF and its duration. Beneath the sliders, you’ll find areas where you can type in a caption, if you want a message to be displayed on top of your GIF. You can also add options tags and a source URL. The tags are useful if you want people to help people find your GIF on the Giphy website and use it for their own content.

Finally, you can share your GIF directly from Giphy, copy the link where your GIF lives on their website, grab embed code for your website, or download your GIF in various sizes.

Don’t overuse GIFs. If all your posts flash GIFs in your followers’ eyes, at best they will start ignoring them, at worst, your followers will begin to become annoyed. However, the occasional use of a GIF is a good way to highlight special content and remind your followers that you’re still around and active.

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