Posted 01.20.2017 by Jonah Terry
Animating for social media is an art that is difficult to master. Animation is eye catching and engaging and beautiful, making it ripe for social channels. The challenge is learning how to effectively simplify your stories (what we call micro-storytelling), but once it is grasped, the world is your oyster. As a visual content producer dedicated to the medium, it’s a practice I’ve learned a thing or two about.
Here are four tips to help you achieve effective animated content for social media:
One of the challenging aspects of creating content for social media is the short attention span of the consumer. (A skateboarding dog will always take priority over an advertisement.) However when executed well, animation makes it easy to break through the noise and trigger an emotional reaction. So how do we as animators take priority over that dang dog?
The answer is simple but the process is not. It starts with keeping the viewer in mind and truly understanding their interests and motivations. Data helps, and there’s a wealth of it. But to start, put yourself into their mind. We need to think about what we want our audience to feel and what will resonate. Ask = what values, artifacts, and experiences mean the most to them? Use this as a foundation or theme for your story.
The key to this process is keeping the over-arching storyline in mind and breaking it down into “snackable” moments. Give the viewer gratification through each piece of micro-content. In micro or short-form content, the punch line should be clear in 5-10 seconds. The viewer should be thrown into this moment, they should want to stay there, and above all, they should feel like they belong.
Looping makes for easier consumption (engagement!) and share-ability. With an effective micro-story (beginning, middle, end) a viewer could watch your content three to four times and it would be just as gratifying as it had been the first view. Looping comes in handy when a viewer misses the beginning of your animation (blame it on Tinder notifications or skateboarding dogs). Vine was purpose built for looping videos, and the best creators rose to the top by producing micro-stories that were funnier/cooler with every loop.
Accomplishing this takes an understanding of how the social channels work. On Instagram, videos auto-play automatically. On Facebook and Twitter, natively-uploaded videos will if viewers have the setting turned on. We’ve found success saving videos as a third-party hosted GIF to combat this.
If your gif inspires users to pause their eagerly scrolling thumbs, you’ve hit the social marketing jackpot. Play with colors, rotating text, and the pacing or transitions of your motion-based story. If that pause inspires them to explore more of your content, you have the potential to forge a new relationship with a consumer. When a consumer trusts that your brand’s content will be engaging and interesting, they are more likely to share it with their friends.
Now that you’re hooked, how do you make animated content of your own? Some of our favorite self-serve tools include Boomerang for Instagram and GIPHY. If you’re looking for longer-form animated videos, platforms like Biteable might be a fit. When you’re ready to take your GIF game to new heights with a custom execution that meets your brand goals and direction, our team is here to help too.
Always keep in mind you have 3 seconds or less to make an impact. These tips should help you create better and more impactful social media content. Now get out there and tell some micro stories!
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