Social media isn’t easy.
Long gone are the days of posting up a few photos, typing out a few hashtags and getting hundreds of followers and likes. Now the social media space is highly competitive with thousands if not millions of businesses and influencers competing for the attention of those you want to attract.
This in parallel with a move from popular heavily text-based social media such as Twitter to more visually stimulating social such as Pinterest and Instagram mean those that appeal to the eyes appeal more to the audience and therefore wins more attention. The proof is in the pudding – for example, Instagram bots have become hugely popular over the last couple of years with people trying to find the best Instagram bot.
Even on traditional platforms, visual impact counts.
“Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.” (Buzzsumo, 2015).
But with beautiful photography already saturating these platforms we are seeing the winners of social media working with animation studios and designers to create content that stands out from the crowd with animations, sliders, GIFs and videos.
Yet creating and applying engaging video content can be a time consuming and technically challenging task. Below we have highlighted some tips and tricks for creating amazing content and successfully applying it to your social media strategy.
Go for animated video
Creating video content is easier said than done. Despite the technical difficulties of storyboarding, organising and filming real-life content you are also limited by the fact that it is indeed real life.
Of course, you can introduce wires and green screens to achieve effects that will shock and engage people, but all at an additional and substantial extra cost.
An animated video lets you consistently create content that can both wow and engage your audience as well as tell your story exactly how you want to, all at a much more manageable cost and within a reasonable time span. Not only does the cost of animation compared to other options allow social post consistency, but it also allows brand consistency through a maintained tone of voice, brand colours and brand messaging which is much more difficult to achieve than using real-life content.
Give your business a face
People do business with people.
Yet putting a face to your business can be a difficult challenge, especially when your key employees are a bit camera shy or may potentially move on at short notice. Using animation can help you create a fun, friendly and relevant face for your business without the risks involved.
“Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.” (Buffer, 2014)
One example of where this has been used successfully is by the UK insurance company Admiral. This is where they use a crossover of real-life actors and animation to depict their iconic Admiral character in both their TV adverts and across social media. This gives a level of variety to their adverts, yet consistency to their brand without relying on one individual person throughout time.
Continue a story
Social media campaigns can be made up of a number of elements such as videos, text, images, influencer and user-generated content. Using animation can let you expand and grow on your campaign story whilst adding an extra level of variety. This works best by taking current ideas and campaign themes and growing on them with the addition of animation developed in a professional animation studio, but also with free animation software.
For example, you may own a skateboarding brand and have a campaign based around your sponsored skateboarders videos, to add an extra dimension you may animate the skateboarder and carry on their video sections with a humorous or impossible ending. This allows you to carry on a story which otherwise would have stopped without the power of animation.
Enhance a story
We have already established that social campaigns are made up of numerous elements such as videos and images and that animation can be used to extend that story. Using animation in tandem with current content can also enhance and boost your social media efforts.
A good example of this is by creating more context and brand awareness on a current video or image. Using animation to add overlays can deepen the understanding of that content by viewers. This is especially important in the current social media landscape, where it is much more likely that a viewer will look at the video or image but not read a caption.
This option can work particularly well when using influencer created content. In situations where you own the content, you can then incorporate it into social media campaigns by creating an overlay that tells the brand story.
Cartoon animation has traditionally been used to communicate humour and comedy, this generally works well as it removes the human element that can sometimes add an awkward feeling for the watcher. Using an animated explainer video allows your brand to poke fun and make people laugh where appropriate. Of course, it is important to make sure that this is still in good taste as to not damage your brand reputation.
One good example of this is another UK based company, Halifax bank, that uses traditional cartoon characters such as The Flintstones and Top Cat to add an element of humour to what would usually be a boring advert.
We have covered this before, but it is worth reiterating, people buy people and people have feelings. Using clever GIFs is a fun and engaging way to express emotion.
When using this for your brand you can, of course, find a range of GIF websites such as giphy.com, although you will often have to give credit to the owner. Another option is to add a real element of your own brand by creating a professional and personalised GIF, created for you by a graphic designer or animation company.
“Twitter users shared over 100 million GIFs in 2017” (Twitter, 2016)
So what better way to get your brand out there than through GIFs?
We can clearly see that visual impact counts when it comes to social media marketing, long gone are the days of popular text-based posts.
Using animation and designed content is a great to make your brand’s posts stand out and go further in an already crowded social media world. Whether that is through adding a face for your business or making your customers chuckle at your latest posts.
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