There’s a good chance you have sent a graphics interchange format (GIF) to a friend or family member; after all, 70% of Americans ages 8 to 64 years old (about 200 million people) know how to send a GIF. Some people think GIFs even work more efficiently than words; nearly two-thirds of millennials think GIFs convey emotions better than words can, as do 40% of people over the age of 65. So how can professionals capitalize on GIFs in business communications? The answer lies in the simple yet effective power of the SMS GIF.
An SMS GIF is a great tool for one-on-one conversations. However, the etiquette behind sending GIFs in business settings can be confusing. Because GIFs have traditionally been used for personal communications, it can be difficult to know how to adapt them in a professional way.
Read on to learn about the situations and images that are appropriate for GIF SMS.
When To Send An SMS GIF
Sending GIFs at work can feel odd at first since they’re so casual (and fun!), but they’re one of the best ways to show customers that your business is in touch with modern trends—and that there’s a real person texting them. Some of the best times to send a GIF through business SMS are:
At the end of a conversation. The end of a business SMS exchange is a great time to have a little fun. A friendly, on-brand GIF shows customers that helping them was a real pleasure. For example, if you have assisted a customer with a return, you might use this GIF:
Customer: Thanks for helping me with the return!
Business: It was my pleasure!
To explain a product’s use cases. It is possible to make GIFs of your own product how-to videos to make it easier to show how a product works. These GIFS can be used in all sorts of customer support or sales conversations.
Customer: So how is the screen made, again?
Business: We use advanced tools to make ultra-fine cuts!
To increase engagement. GIFs catch people’s eyes quickly, which can inspire them to read the entirety of your messages instead of immediately deleting it. This can be particularly useful in the case of reminders or even SMS marketing. For example, you can lead an appointment reminder with:
Business: Hi Lila! Don’t forget that MoonVibes’ sunset yoga is tonight at 8!
To emphasize the tone of your content. In many cases, GIFs are great at helping customer service agents emphasize the tone of their content. While you shouldn’t send an SMS GIF to try and brighten up a serious or tense conversation, it is appropriate to send one in many other instances. For example, if you’re about to close a deal with a client but need more paperwork, a GIF can relay your expectations without making them feel pressured:
Business: Good news, Jon! We’ve got everything approved, so once you send over that remaining paperwork, we can close on the house!
These are only a few examples of appropriate situations for GIF SMS; GIFs can be tailored to fit your business’s needs.
How To Pick Which SMS GIF To Send
Once you know when to send your GIFs, you may wonder which kind of GIFs are appropriate. While the exact tone of an SMS GIF will depend on your company culture, in general, follow these four key guidelines for each SMS GIF:
Feature popular shows or animals. So that your recipient has a higher chance of recognizing and appreciating your GIF, try to stick to recognizable GIFs from popular shows or movies. Besides those, animal GIFs are nearly always a hit.
Keep it inoffensive. It’s important that your GIFs do not offend your customers. Try your best to pick GIFs that do not use potentially offensive or confusing language (curse words, new slang, etc.). Avoid GIFs that display religion, politics, or any sensitive subjects.
Be inclusive. When using GIF SMS, be conscious of the groups you’re representing. Try to ensure that you are including people of all races and genders in your GIFs. This way, you’ll connect with all of the groups of people who might be your customers.
Think positive. Finally, it’s important that your GIFs are positive. No one wants to receive a sad or upsetting GIF through business SMS. Be hyper-aware of the tone of each SMS GIF, and try to keep it positive.
Ultimately, GIF SMS should be a fun tool for both you and your customers. As long as you send GIFs at opportune moments, and with positive connotations, they will help you build strong relationships with your customers.
Ready to capitalize on the power of GIF SMS? Try our business SMS platform today.