I made a GIF as a bit of fun, just one…. it escalated, quickly!
GIF Making was not something I was intending to add to my portfolio, but here we are.
Thanks for #PitMad
On the 3rd June it was #PitMad on Twitter (an event where authors can pitch their unpublished stories to agents). For days before I had been asking people for their support and on the day, they did not disappoint. In fact because of their support two of my three pitches were in the top 20 trending all day!
So I decided to do something to thank my followers for their support. I made them a GIF, this GIF:
Feeling the love
The day after #PitMad I sent this GIF to everyone I had asked for help. They loved it, they thought it was ingenious, especially as I had added my website on it. The GIF gained a lot of attention.
After spending what feels like the last year living on Twitter, I’ve found most conversations are entirely made of, or descend into, GIF based conversations. When people don’t know what to say, they use a GIF. When people want to express emotion, they use a GIF. When people want to make others laugh… you guessed it, they use a GIF.
I started to see an opportunity to market myself and my book through my GIFs, thus began my GIF making journey and it’s been quite the whirlwind ride!
Lisa Thomas: The Brand
5 days after releasing my first GIF I had already had 316 views, but people were struggling to find and use my GIFs, so I investigated. As it turns out, your GIFs aren’t public (as in available for other people to use) until you upgrade your GIPHY account to a Brand Account. So that’s what I did.
All I had to do to upgrade to a Brand Account was to go to settings and click “apply for a brand channel”. They requested some simple information, such as my website address, my brand name, what I was using the GIFs for. They also said I needed to already have 5 GIFs uploaded so they could see what I was creating and the purpose. The application took less than 5 minutes and was completely free!
After this was done, my GIF’s became available for everyone to use. Anywhere you can use a GIF, including social media and WhatsApp, you can use my GIFs. Just search my name in the toolbar and you’ll be bombarded with my ugly mug.
The immediate impact
I was really nervous about becoming a brand, about putting myself out there in situations where I looked like a total fool. But I am so glad I did.
My total GIF views (on the day I became a brand) jumped from 316 to 5,126!
11 days later (14th June 2021) I’d had over 50,000 GIF views and 15 days later, I had over 100,000 views (111,523 to be precise). I was completely overwhelmed by this alone.
During this time people were actually using my GIFs in our conversations. I was receiving at least 5 tweets a day where my GIF was used (it was weird to see me looking at me when I wasn’t expecting it).
The results: My followers on Twitter have increased, I’ve gained followers simply from people seeing my GIFs and liking them. I’ve had more profile visits on Twitter, as well as more impressions and mentions. And I’m finding people are spending more time on my website (this site). My audience are interacting more with me and as a result, more people are getting to know me.
How a guest blog request turned into a YouTube tutorial
Seeing people respond positively to my GIFs on social media, Robert the Romance Bloke messaged me and asked me if I’d be interested in writing a guest blog on GIF making for his fantastic website. I (of course) said yes.
For this guest blog, Robert asked me if I could explain how I make my GIFs, I thought this was a fantastic idea. I had so many people telling me how brilliant my GIFs were, with comments like “they must have been so difficult to make”, or “I couldn’t do that”, that I actually wanted to show people how simple it was.
So instead of writing a tutorial, I made a video in which I show you how to make a GIF by actually making one with you. I’ll just leave that video here for you…
British Sign Language GIF Collection
This was the biggest game changer!
I’d been interesting in learning some basic sign language anyway, so when I was thinking of new GIF ideas I suddenly thought, why not teach people some basic sign language in a fun way.
As I mentioned, conversations are almost entirely in GIFs with some people, so I thought signing basic words people might use and search for, would be ideal.
I released my BSL (British Sign Language) GIF range on 24th June. The day before (which was 20 days after I began my GIF journey) my GIFs had 22,828 views (taking my total to 194,216). On the day I released my BSL range I received 112,393 views, boosting my total view count to 306,609.
GIF making: a family business
My kids absolutely loved my GIFs from the start, they were easily my biggest fan. They’d watch them and laugh as hard as I did at Monty Python, they looked at me like a comedic genius and I loved it.
This GIF is a perfect example. With this one they play a game, who can wake mommy up. They shout at the GIF and try to time it perfectly so it looks like they’ve woken me…see if you can do it.
enFor weeks they asked to make their own GIFs but I’d always been protective over them. I’d never shown the world their faces or given any information about them other than their names and ages. I wanted to protect my babies from the big, bad internet. This is a difficult concept for my kids to understand as they watch so many different YouTube families and kids online, they couldn’t understand why their mommy wasn’t letting them do it too.
Eventually, I realised I was perhaps being too over protective, I caved and they were ecstatic.
They really surprised me, they had plenty of ideas (some of which included me acting the fool again), they used my phone to make the videos themselves and (after a brief tutorial on the GIPHY app and what you can do) they were even able to edit and create the GIFS themselves (yes even my 5 year old was able to make them).
Here are some GIFs they made entirely by themselves:
Some of their GIFs turned out brilliantly, check out these fav’s of mine.
They even had fanastic ideas to get their 18 month old brother involved. He’s at that age when he’s into everything, Maya (my 10 year old) came up with this GIF idea which I thought was sheer genius!
He came in like a wrecking ball… never a truer word uttered.
To view or use any of my childrens GIFs simply search MIC (or MICkids or MICgif) or search for their names. Maya Thomas, Isla Thomas and Cooper Thomas.
July: One Month Later
On the 6th July, just 33 days after I started GIF-fing, I reached a whopping ONE MILLION views.
I was completely taken aback, I never expected this kind of response.
11 days later, on the 17th July (44 days into being a GIF master) my GIF views had reached a MASSIVE TWO MILLION VIEWS! (Yes I am shouting at you, I’m far too excited)
Today (24th July), I have a total of 164 GIFs and these have been viewed 2.7 million times. Where this is going I have no idea but if the last month and a half is anything to go by, it’s going to be a rollercoaster of a ride!
August: Two Months Later
What’s your prediction? How many views will my GIFs have at the end of August? Watch this space for updates.
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