10 Unique Ways You Can Use Instagram GIFs on Stories

Sam Hackett

Sam Hackett

Last Updated: Sep 2, 2020

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Since their introduction into the platform, Instagram GIFs have become a beloved part of Instagram’s sharing tools. Inadvertently or not, most Instagram users use GIFs from time to time to express how they feel and add more fun to their stories.

But there’s a big reason why influencers and brands have specifically made Instagram GIFs part of their Instagram Stories strategy. Whenever a story features a GIF to bring excitement or laughter, audiences tend to connect emotionally with the content and engage with it.

In this post, we’ll take a look at examples of cool ways to make GIFs part of your own Instagram video production strategy. By the end, you’ll hopefully have a good handle on how to use them to your greatest advantage!

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Instagram GIFs to Bring Life to Your Content

You probably have amazing content prepared for your marketing campaign—product images, brand logos, promotional posts, and so on.

Now, you shouldn’t just blindly post content out there hoping that your followers will somehow engage with it. Instead, it’s good to put a little work into giving your content greater effect, so it resonates better with your audience.

Using Instagram GIFs to complement images is an excellent way to make your content feel extra special. Cool animations from simple snow overlays and sunglasses to the Nyan Cat and the latest Terry Crews reaction—will make your followers pause and want to learn more about your product.

When you decide to use GIFs with images, though, keep in mind this important principle: make your GIFs fit your stories. If implemented correctly, Instagram GIFs shouldn’t take the spotlight from the post itself —instead, they should emphasize your message and make the content more impactful.

Optimizing your stories with GIFs is a simple process, as Instagram allows you to resize them according to the post, as well as rotate them to blend them seamlessly.

instagram gif alien

2. GIFs to Complement Your Text

The great thing about GIFs— and videos in general, really —is that they are easy to consume. Customers don’t have to exert the same effort as reading a long post to get the gist of your message.

However, you will need text on your stories to keep your followers in touch with your news—and that’s okay! With the help of animated GIFs, you can take your text-based stories to a whole new different level.

For starters, you can highlight your paragraphs by adding GIFs. If you search for keywords such as “sparkle,” “highlight,” or “stars” on the Giphy library, you will find a host of moving stickers to add a flashy touch to a word or sentence.

You can even substitute common words for GIFs. For example, if you use a catchphrase, you can look it up in the library and add it to your text. That’ll sure make your story stand out! 

instagram gif effects

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3. GIFs to Guide Your Followers

Most of the time, you post Instagram Stories as a means to an end—ultimately, you want to lead your followers to your landing page, YouTube channel, or to read the full story you’re showcasing.

Whatever your goal, Instagram GIFs are an engaging (and effective!) way of letting your users know what steps you’d like them to take next. Cues like “Swipe Up” and “Link in Bio” indicate to them the channels where they can learn more about your content.

GIFs are also great to promote your stories. By using arrows, signs, or “Sound On” stickers, users won’t miss out on your amazing posts’ details.

4. GIFs for Reactions

Let’s say you’re running an Instagram Stories Q&A to interact with your followers. You could choose to answer their questions with text and that would be just fine.

But if you want to make the most of your Instagram Q&As, you can use looping images to respond to your followers. With GIFs, you can establish an emotional (and fun!) connection with your audience that’s stronger than mere text.

In this sense, you can think of GIFs as a supplement to customer service. Reaction GIFs range from stylish, colorful phrases to— if you really want to bond with your followers —clips showcasing people with unique facial expressions that suggest an answer.

5. Pin GIFs on Your Videos

Instagram GIFs are not just an excellent way to enhance still images, but are a great tool for videos as well!

You can have your Instagram GIFs pop up at a specific point of your video, for example, which can be particularly convenient if you’re repurposing your marketing videos for your stories.

Say you have an animated explainer video that breaks down your product or service. With GIFs, you can draw attention to the specific moment and place where you think something crucial happens. Having a sign or emoji that suddenly comes on the scene will help refocus the viewers on the video and highlight important parts. 

Pinning GIFs on your videos isn’t complex at all. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to do it:

  1. After you select or record your video, go to the Giphy library to add a moving sticker. 
  2. Hold your finger on the screen and move the GIF to where you want to place it.
  3. If you are not happy with the placement, use the bar below to skim through the whole video.
  4. Tap pin.

As easy as that!

instagram gif

6. GIFs to Set the Mood

Your Instagram account is a place of constant buzz: that’s where you let your customers know about your new products, events, offers, and updates.

If you want to prompt your followers to take an interest in your activities, you can use GIFs to convey the emotions around the situation. You’ve probably seen this done to death with clips from series like Friends and The Office. Audiences always seem to respond well to these over-the-top reactions!

So if you’re running let’s say a giveaway, it’s great to add GIFs that express the excitement around it. Have a memorable movie scene? GIF. An amazing sports feat? GIF—GIF—GIF. The choices you have are virtually unlimited!

7. GIFs to Follow Current Trends

An essential component of your Instagram marketing strategy is listening to what your followers are talking about and making your content part of the conversation. That means paying attention to current events and to the daily trends that are part of the medium.

Lucky for you, the Giphy library updates all the time. You can be sure that sooner than later, you will have stickers available to make your stories trendy.

Some of these stickers are animations of popular hashtags people share every week, such as “Sunday Funday” and “TBT” But don’t forget to look for holiday GIFs! Clips showcasing themes from St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas will sure make your stories more festive.

instagram gifs holidays

8. Create Custom GIFs with Giphy

If you can’t find something that fits what you need, just create your own Instagram GIF! If you think you have the skill, you can go outside of the existing Giphy catalog to produce props directly related to your brand.

You will need a verified brand page to do this, but the benefits are worth the effort! You can increase brand awareness with GIFs illustrating your logo, products, and even your slogan—but you will also improve your interaction with your followers, as they can use those GIFs in their stories.

Keep these tips in mind when you decide to create your custom GIFs:

  • GIFs are small as a rule, so try to make them visually sharp and well-designed.
  • Use relevant keywords to make your GIFs super searchable; include your brand’s name as well as words related to the product.
  • Movement should be your default choice. Users prefer twirling GIFs than static stickers.
instagram gif stickers
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9. GIFs for Product Demos

Instagram Stories are a perfect venue to give followers a closer look at your product. You can produce posts to give micro-overviews of your product’s basic appearance and features.

GIFs come particularly in handy when you have a product that comes in different colors, sizes, or designs. Instead of showing static images of each version of your product or a photo collage, you can use GIFs to animate your product in all its presentations.

So, if you sell something like phone cases or clothes, you can create an Instagram GIF with an image of the product where the only feature that changes is its color or patterns. In this way, you can show your prospects the wide range of options your brand offers them.

via GIPHY

10. GIFs to animate data

Who says that Instagram Stories can’t take up serious topics?

You can share useful information through your stories so your audience can discover something interesting. Some well-established news sites and magazines tend to use the quiz filter to share new knowledge.

One of the most interesting things you can do with stories is to improve the way you present your graphs and data visualization resources.

Imagine your company analyzes public opinion polls. You could just present a still image of a map with the results. But if you want to go to the next level, create your own GIF where the map is slowly coloring so users can follow how public opinion spreads and unfolds over time.

via GIPHY

Wrapping Up!    

Now that you know how to use GIFs, you’ll probably think twice before posting a frozen picture or selfie on your Instagram Stories.

GIFs are a simple yet effective element you can use to complement and support your message. They can direct your user’s attention to what’s important and spark their interest. But you can also pin GIFs on your existing videos to refurbish them with fun material.

If you don’t think that meets your full potential, you can always roll up your sleeves and create your own custom GIFs.

The options you have with GIFs are endless. What will be your first move?

Author Bio

Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the corporate video production company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

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