How to make a GIF using Photoshop

GIFs can be hugely useful (and sometimes very annoying – see below) marketing tool. They’re fun, eye catching and make you look like a bit of a t’interwebs clever dick. They’re especially perfect for visual concepts such as recipe stages or make-up ideas.
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Unfortunately, not all social media platforms support GIF playback, but that doesn’t have to be one of those scream at the screen because you’ve just wasted four hours moments, use it to your advantage.
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Example:  gain extra click throughs to your blog or Tumblr site by posting a still to Pinterest with a simple ‘click to see me dance’ ( hopefully something more catchy) explanation. See GE’s board From the Factory Floor.
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Boy dancing GIF
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But anyway, I digress. How do you make a GIF?
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There are hundreds of free online GIF conversion sites. However, this means uploading your content to their servers and there is no way to know what they do with it. They’re all a bit pop-upey and dodgy. The best and most customisable way to make them is by using the animation feature in PhotoShop. Luckily for you, I’ve done all the hard work figuring it and have written a complete buffoon proof guide below:
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(Sorry for the lack of pictorial help, erm… my dog ate them)
  • Decide on the set of images/stages you want and format them so that they’re all the same size and layout.
  • Set each stage as a separate layer and place them in the correct running order. Make sure the logos and any other consistent features are aligned or it will jump around.
  • Then go to Window – Animation.
  • Click on the right hand menu of the panel that appears and select make frames from layers.
  • You will then probably need to select ‘reverse frames’ (as for some reason it does it backwards). You may also need to delete any duplicates – sometimes it automatically selects the first frame then duplicates it.
  • Next, go to the bottom of each frame and select the length that each one will show for. I chose 1.2 seconds for the title slide, then 0.5 for the others.
  • This is up to you, but I then changed the amount of times the GIF repeats (from the bottom left) to 5 as I thought it might be annoying if it repeated indefinitely, but that’s up to you.
  • Preview it/check it works.
  • If you need to make changes, do it onto the layers. Then delete the animation and start the process again. It doesn’t take too long.
  • When you’re happy go to File – Save for Web Devices. Make sure it says GIF in the top right, press save then select HTML and images. It should have saved a GIF file and an HTML that you can double click to view as it will appear on the web.

Now you too can make your very own GIFs. Don’t abuse this power.

You’re .gif is bad and you should feel bad

***POINTLESS DOCTOR WHO GIF THAT MAKES ME HAPPY ALERT***

Davros GIF

“Ah, Doctooooooooor…”

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Pinterest marketing: 10 tips

Pinteresting quote1. Engaging with an audience on Pinterest is similar to meeting people you sort of know for an afternoon in the pub: ask questions, pretend you’re interested in what they have to say and don’t just talk about yourself. Pinterest isn’t keen on self-promotion or marketing. And don’t be tight – give your new pals something to repin and bond with you over, even if it means a whole board of fwuffy bunnies.

2. Be as unique and visually stimulating as possible.

3. Pinterest is a female heavy affair, between 80-90% of users are of the BETTER sex (not an opportunity to chirps though). Embrace it, but don’t forget that not everyone is interested in cupcakes. Meatier content (such as General Electric’s From the factory Floor) can be popular too.

4. Like with alcohol, the highest concentration of users are aged between 25 and 44 – do what you will with that.

5. The most popular pin categories are: home (17%), arts & crafts (12%), style & fashion (12%) and food (10%).

6. Pinterest marketing is about giving followers a way to share their enthusiasm for you and your niches. Rather than presenting your products, help users share their passion or interests. Images should spark a discussion and help users share something about themselves, not you. For example:

the park in blossom

this is more engaging than…

Lonely Planet guide New York

…this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. However, as long as you stick to the general social media content rule – 20% marketing to 80% non self-promotional material – you should be fine.

8. Think about what your offering followers – a sneak peak at your inspiration, a behind the scenes look, a guide to healthier living etc?

9. Don’t just pin everything – think about your brand and what’s (loosely) relevant.

Don't pin everything

Don’t be a gimp.

10. And last but by no means least, ensure at all times that your aim is to fuel self expression – according to a general blog consensus, the most popular pictures help users express:

Their dream – the perfect LBD, Ryan Gosling .
An emotion – ‘haters’ memes, impossibly cute babies.
A favorite item – well, this doesn’t need explaining.
A quote or statement – those annoying ‘do something that scares you’ and God related text pins.

Social media strategy for small businesses

How to develop a social media strategy

Despite what most social media marketers will tell you, a strategy is just a plan of action to achieve a certain goal. Whether you want to offer the best customer service, or get a gizillion followers, your plans must aim towards achieving that.

It’s not about what social media users can do for you, it’s about what you can do for them. Understand the needs of your target consumer and give them what they want.

Justine Bieber fail

Think about:

1: Who do your customers aspire to be and how can you help them achieve that? (Even if it’s Justin Bieber)

2: What are their time constraints – can you help them?

Planning your goals

Your aims are most likely to be to increase clients and contacts in the easiest, fastest and cheapest way. But it’s also worth considering how social media can improve brand awareness and customer services.

Achieving those goals

Once you have a set idea of what you want to achieve, you need to consider which social networking sites will be most effective in helping you achieve them.

More info: a guide to social networks

It’s also worth thinking about how much your social media campaign will cost you in resources. If you don’t regularly update your blog or Twitter account, or you don’t respond quickly, you may as well have let Kanye West loose on your customers.

Don’t spread yourself too thin, less is more. It’s better to do one social network really well than lots badly.

Plan your updates around events, interact with relevant news stories and offer tips and advice. Use services such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck to pre-schedule updates and keep a track of their success.

Don't Panic

Results

Social media campaigns need time to mature. If people aren’t interacting immediately don’t panic, be patient. As long as you provide good, varied content and regularly engage with other sites it will happen.

Make sure that social media links or ‘like’ buttons are on everything: your newsletter, your email footers, any marketing material such as business cards, and clearly displayed on your website. You could even paint them on someone’s face.

buy my face face paint

Keep track of your progress. Perhaps set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep a record of your actions and people’s reactions, the amount of likes and the follows that you get. Measure how many people click through by shortening your links with bit.ly and, most importantly, remember to have fun.

X Media Lab Bath 2012: the Social Media Experiment

x media lab bath 2012

The recent X Media Lab digital entertainment conference in Bath went down like a, well, a thing that goes down fairly well, and if you missed out it’s your lucky day – not only did I live blog the event, I was part of the social media team. We even got the hashtag #xmlbath2012 trending worldwide on Twitter (yes, I know, the whole world must have been having a day off). You can read about our Social Media Experiment on our fancy website, or you can read my less fancy article in Milk magazine.

Facebook pages: 3 reasons why you’ve been ‘unliked’

You’ve got a Facebook page up and running, the content is flowing and the tone’s just right, but ‘likes’ are dwindling. What are you doing wrong?

Well, dry your eyes, stop scratching your noggin – here are the top three reasons given by users for ‘unliking’ a brand.

Yawn.

1:Repetitive content– come on, no one wants to see links to every single article on your website, or be told about the same event ten times – it gets very boring, very quickly.

2:Inundated with marketing-style posts – direct selling just doesn’t work anymore. You say buy, the user says bye. Be clever, get your users onside and they’ll think of you first.

Overload.

Tip - liking your own posts is not fooling ANYONE.

3:Posting too often– quite possibly the most annoying thing on the web. Similar to junk mail, or the friend who tells you the same stories every time they’re drunk. Shout the most and you leave your users with no choice… ‘unlike’. Aim for somewhere between once a week and three times a day.

The week in social media 11/03/2012

Timeline after Timeline

Time Out Timeline

Following the furore over Facebook’s new Timeline format last month, tweeters, bloggers and whingers were treated to another chance to spam-moan as the layout was unveiled for brands last week.

social media tweet

Still as popular as ever.

Prepare your brand for a Timeline

(Still don’t get it? Here’s a handy infographic.)

International Women’s day

Every year women pull together to solve gender inequality by dedicating an entire day to just one gender. This week saw the 101st IWD and with it the launch of a squillion social media ‘awareness’ campaigns.

Abusers across the globe wet themselves when smooth talking David Cameron, never one for sexism, pledged to end violence against women with a hard-hitting ‘social media initiative’.

Cameron tweet

That should just about do it.

More: A selection of tweets about inequality

The death of social networks?

41% of Britons claimed to be bored of social media and said they use it less now than they did a year ago in a recent YouGov poll. However, social networks claim usage continues to grow… hmmm, someone’s lying.

Channel 4’s 4seven

luxury comedy

Whatever you do, don't tweet about this.

Channel 4 announced new channel 4seven this week.

The ‘truly converged digital experience’ is due to launch this summer and will only schedule shows that are causing a buzz on social media… what could possibly go wrong?

After all, social media’s just a forum for us little people to openly discuss marketing information about ourselves. It’s not as though businesses, or say, royalty hungry production companies, could get on there and offer out Bountys to whoever tweets the most about their show.

What to tweet about this summer – Channel 4’s proudest moments: #famousandfearless #thegirlieshow #theembarrassingbodiesepisodewheretheyteachyouhowtowipeyourbum

Kony 2012 – charity aims to “put him to stop!”

Kony 2012

Their grammar might be crap, but ‘documentary’ Kony 2012 by charity Invisible Children went so viral this week that millions were infected with the terminally bland – Kony fever.

The video tells of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony – who many claim is no longer in Uganda – and a conveniently attractive filmaker’s pledge to a child to stop him.

Within nanoseconds the blogosphere was up in arms about whether the video was a suspicious money-spinner or a genuine, but slightly misguided, attempt to rid Africa of a tyrant. (Read this)

However, some good did come of it – while half the population absolved their liberal guilt by bashing ‘like’, the rest of us discovered a workable Facebook cull-list.

you've always cared about Ugandad children - yuh, really?

An infographic about infographics

Infographics are the hottest thing in information sharing since words, in fact, pictures are the new words, it’s like human development in reverse.

If you’re considering dipping a cursor into the colourful, idiot-friendly world of data visualisation then a post using boring old words would be about as useful as Siri, so here’s a handy infographic to tell you all about infographics. They really do think of everything.

Infographi infographic

INFOGRAPHIC INFOGRAPHIC INFOGRAPHIC, dizzy yet?