Breathe New Life Into Your Social Media Profile: GIFs As Storytelling Art Form

Visual micro content (VMC) is driving forces of engagement these days. Clips and GIFs in the social web are as popular as never before. And I am not talking about the creation of memes.

More and more brands are discovering GIFs, clips and cinemagraphs as fine art and a new way of storytelling. Movable imagery recently became a popular marketing format, which is easy to digest and really stands out in social media feeds.

“Yay” for being a photographer or visual engineer with tons of material on hand. Shame on you if you aren’t involved on social networks yet. Visual content marketing is the way to advertise your photo business, create leads and drive sales in 2016. Why? Gen Y! On a global scale, 64% of the web traffic are videos.

For the young audience, VMC is the digital answer to TV spots; small bites of information and entertainment. Instead of producing a 30 seconds spot try creating 30 spots lasting a few seconds to appeal to a number of buyer personas in your target market.

But beware of producing VMC just because you read it’s trendy and Facebook, Twitter or Google provide the technology. Each cinemagraph, clip or GIF needs to fit into your overall social media strategy: What is your communication goal? Whom do you want to reach? What can they learn from you?

Once you have the answers to all these questions, start planning VMC in your content calendar and make sure you optimize your visual material for each social network. Facebook’s algorithm will reward you with reach if you upload a video there instead of posting it as (YouTube) link. Twitter content has an ideal size of 506x253px.

For details, check out this always up-to-date social media image sizes cheat sheet (Google spreadsheet).

 

Useful resources — DIY:

Useful resources — Libraries:

Useful resources — Inspiration:

I gave it a try myself with GifMaker and a series of photos I took in Auckland a few years ago. You might want to go through your archive too to see if you can leverage some old photo series today.

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Adobe Post: Create Beautiful Free Social Media Images In Minutes

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I think I might have just stumbled upon one of the easiest to use photo apps since a long time to create eye-catching photography event invites, Pinterest album covers, newsletter graphics, text posters, Twitter cover images, Facebook ads…you name it.

With Adobe Post (currently available for iPhone) you are only a few taps away from professional looking designs with your own photos or photos from a huge library of creative commons pics. Within seconds, the mobile app allows you to change sizes, layouts, colour palettes, fonts and photo filters.

To give you an idea of what I am talking about, I took some of my favourite inspirational travel quotes to create a new edition of this old post within 50 minutes (including the research for creative commons images and playing around with my customization options = 10 minutes per image).

The easiest way to get started with Adobe Post is to make use of one of the suggested templates, which you can personalize to your liking.

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Once you get hooked, you will probably go ahead and see what Adobe Post can do with your own photos. You can upload them from your camera roll, Lightroom, the cloud or take a new shot with your mobile device’s camera.

After finishing your edit — and this is the cool marketer’s stuff — you can easily change the (social media) format of your creation and switch with one tap between Facebook cover image size, Twitter post size, YouTube thumbnail size, LinkedIn cover size, Instagram square format etc. Most of the time the app works really neat and crops your image or relocates your texts and shapes in a way that won’t require further adjustments.

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Here are a few tips of app features I discovered by chance (no tutorial):

  • zoom in and out of an image with the pinch-to-zoom move
  • rotate an image with the two-finger-rotate move
  • the last item you create will be the foreground layer; previous items move in the background (creating with that in mind will save you time if you want to overlap text and shape layers)
  • tap several times on a single colour palette icon to try all its different looks
  • tap several times on the “text spacing” to resize shapes you may use
  • tap on “text align” to switch between all caps and big/small letters
  • you only need to share the app once on social media to unlock exclusive fonts and shapes
  • you only need to email the app once to a friend to remove the #AdobePost hashtag

I hope you find the app helpful for all your coming social media endeavours!

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How Photographers Can Get The Most Out Of The New Twitter

If you ask me why I like Social Media, the fast pace is certainly among my top reasons. Things stay fresh and interesting. New platforms emerge, existing ones are being tweaked, many disappear after a short hype, and a few develop into successful niche networks.

 

Now I work in Social Media and it’s my job to stay abreast of change. But if you are a professional photographer, or on your way to become one, you are probably out there and busy taking as many photo opportunities as possible. Right you are!

However, I personally believe that photographers who are not making use of Social Networks are missing out. There is no need to jump on all of them; just rock a few rather than being average on many.

Yes, it can be daunting to have an own business while trying at the same time to stay up to date with the latest Social Media trends. Luckily there is help! For me, Photoshelter is one of the go-to sources for relevant and timely guides for photographers. All guides can be downloaded after entering a valid email address – no obligations.

By the way, I am not affiliated with Photoshelter.
Fun fact: Last month, when Twitter provided a tool to trace back anyone’s very first tweet ever, I found that one.

 

(Poor, I know, but they didn’t had a Twitter guide back then ;) ).
BUT: it’s still valid! There you go. I recommend Photoshelter since the 28th of May 2011 and I am very comfortable doing so.

Their latest publication is a free paper named The Photographer’s Guide to Twitter. If you really want to understand how to get the most out of Twitter – no matter if photographer or not – go download that PDF file and read it from the beginning to the end. It brims over with great tips and handy examples.

Just the timing of the publication was unfortunate. Photoshelter provided the download link at the same time when Twitter announced yet more changes to roll out in the very near future.

While the guide is perfect as it is, I believe that Twitter’s coming features are especially appealing to photographers and deserve a place in the next Photoshelter guide for Twitter. Let’s take a look:

  • Larger header image: Display your favorite capture, collage or marketing message in a customizable header image that spans across 1,500 x 500 pixels. Be aware though that the visible part of the image appears to be just 1,500 x 389, and that your profile image overlaps your header image slightly. Make sure your important elements are within the top 389px and not on the bottom left where the profile image shows up.
  • Larger profile image: Upload a photo that represents you or your brand. Within 400 x 400 pixels, sophisticated logo fonts might finally become readable.
  • Best tweets: Twitter will automatically highlight your best tweets with a lot of engagement (retweets, favorites) by displaying them with a larger font. Make your promotional tweets as catchy as possible to create initial attention; Twitter will do the rest.
  • Pinned tweets: My favorite among the new features. This will allow you to stick an important tweet to the top of your stream, which is priceless considering that otherwise a tweet has a half-life of a few minutes. Pin your latest seminar, project or sales offer.
  • Filtered tweets: Select the kind of tweets you would like to see. If you are a photographer chances are you want to see what your peers are up to. Filter their stream by tweets with photos.

If all of this is too abstract for you just head over to Twitter and take a good look at the profile of photographer Anthony Quintano (@anthonyquintano). He is lucky enough to be one of the early testers of Twitter’s new design.

 

Are you becoming a Twitter fan now? If so, please drop me a line @anjaeichler.
Update: As of April 23 I do have the new Twitter layout as well. Check it out!

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1 Million Tweets To #BringDownTheKing – Hilarious Marketing

Have a look at my mobile snapshots from a creative kiwi marketing campaign which caused “Game of Thrones” to trend on Twitter – just in time for the launch of season 4.

Short story: Game of Thrones fans were challenged over the past days to use their collective Twitter voices to topple King Joffrey (a fictional character created by George R. R. Martin) by tweeting the hashtag #BringDownTheKing.

For an explanation how this worked please click on the photos and read their captions.

Fans of the show could follow the progress of King Joffrey’s tumble on the official campaign site bringdowntheking.com. Two webcams broadcasted live (24/7) from Aotea Square in Auckland, New Zealand.

1 million tweets using the hashtag #BringDownTheKing were needed; goal achieved in 5 days.

My favorite moments today, shortly before the king came down:

1. A seagull s(h)itting on King Joffrey’s head getting extra applause from the audience
2. A fan stealing the crown after the fall and running away faster than any security staff

There are things that the best marketing agency simply can’t plan in I guess.

By the way…

…I did my part:

 

…even though King Joffrey wasn’t amused:

 

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