Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, you’ve likely noticed a steady uptick in GIFs. Whether it’s on your Facebook feed or embedded in a news article, forwarded in an email or featured front and center on a competitor’s website, GIFs have made a serious comeback – and it looks like they’re here to stay.
GIFs are clearly great for a good laugh or wasting a few minutes in between meetings, but if you limit their use to sharing memes with friends, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for your building business. When used in a strategic way, GIFs can boost your digital marketing efforts, increase your exposure, and generate buyer interest for your communities.
 What is a GIF?
In case you’re wondering what the heck a GIF is (is it a typo? A form of peanut butter? I’m so confused.), GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. A GIF (pronounced with a soft “g”, like gentleman) is a type of image file that creates a short animation by combining several images in one file (think of it like a digital version of an animated flipbook).
In the digital space, GIFs are practically prehistoric; the method was first invented by photographer Eduard Maybridge in the late 1800’s and was translated to the web in 1987 by Compuserve, the US’ first major commercial online service provider. GIFs exploded in popularity in the mid-90’s when internet usage started to take off, with favorites like the “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” Banana and the Dancing Baby from Ally McBeal popping up in AOL inboxes around the globe.
Once technology was able to support streaming, GIFs took a backseat to video, but they’ve been slowly gaining traction again in the social media age. Today, you’ll find GIFs pretty much everywhere, from corporate communications to social media sites like Tumblr and Pinterest.
GIFs and Your Digital Marketing Strategy
So, now that you’ve got a little background on what GIFs are, let’s talk about how you as a builder can leverage them to make an impact on your business. Because whatever your opinion the fact of the matter is, GIFs work.
Computer powerhouse Dell recently ran a GIF-focused campaign to see what kind of engagement and results they could generate and whether GIFs were a solid digital marketing strategy or a flash in the pan. Their results were astonishing; during the campaign, Dell saw a:
  • 6% increase in open rate
  • 42% increase in click rate
  • 103% increase in conversion rate
  • 109% increase in revenue
With numbers like that, I’ll go ahead and assume you’re on board the GIF train, so let’s talk strategy. You can use GIFs to…
Get People Excited About Your New Community
As a builder, you work hard to build gorgeous and well-designed communities, and you want to get as many buyers as possible excited about the prospect of owning one of your properties. And GIFs are a great way to do it. You can use GIFs to build hype around a new community.
You can essentially use GIFs to create quick, 3-second teasers to get potential buyers excited; they’re great for things like coming soon announcements, new phases, and grand openings. You could create a GIF of your ribbon cutting ceremony to signal to buyers that your community is open for tours or do a sneak peek opening the door to a model home to give them a taste of what they’re in for.
Make Your Buyers LOL
No matter what business you’re in, people want to work with people they can relate to; and especially, people who can make them laugh. And this is just as true in the building industry as in any other.
If you want more buyers, they need to feel a connection to your brand. And one of the quickest and easiest ways to build that connection is by making them laugh.
And one of the quickest and easiest ways to make them laugh? With GIFs, of course.
Make a funny GIF of your team dancing on one of your construction sites, or use a GIF to make a joke out of an unexpected delay at one of your communities. By continually sending out GIFs that show you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’ll get a laugh out of potential buyers, and that positive brand sentiment can definitely help when it comes time for them to make a purchase.
Increase Your Social Media Presence
In 2017, if you’re not focused on building a social media presence and connecting with buyers in the social space, you’re doing it wrong. Everyone and their mom (and their grandma… and probably their great grandma) are using social media, and using it often: Facebook has over 1.86 billion monthly active users, with the average user spending over 700 minutes a month scrolling through their Newsfeed. That’s a lot of people and a lot of opportunity to connect with your audience, but in order to build a solid social media presence, you need to break through the clutter and establish yourself as a building brand worth connecting with.
GIFs are MADE for social media. They create engagement with your audience, they’re quick and easy-to-digest format is perfect for the attention-deficient social media age, and the sharing aspect of social media makes it easy for your buyers to share your content with their friends, which exposes you to a whole new market and can help bring in some serious new business.
If you’re not already on the major social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, get on there like, yesterday. Then, start delivering quality content (including GIFs) to increase your social presence and drive engagement (and ultimately, drive sales). As you can see, there are plenty of ways to incorporate GIFs into your digital marketing strategy. And with the GIF trend showing now signs of slowing, it’s definitely something you’re going to want to leverage to build excitement around your communities, engage new buyers, and drive revenues for your business.