What if I told you you could harness and hack the second largest search engine for your sports team and sponsors…for free.
Well, you can through GIFs.
Yup, those funny animations we see all over Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms are a gold mine for attention.
What’s better? There are key ways that you can hack that attention at no cost to drive views, engagement, and some fun.
Today I’m diving into why your team and sponsorship department should pay attention to GIFs and some ways to hack the search system behind them.
First, the numbers behind why you should care about GIFs
Why do I like GIFs for sponsorship? Well, it’s where an insane amount of attention & engagement is held.
Here are a few stats that might wake you up:
- 10 Billion GIFs are sent DAILY across social media platforms.
- 50% of GIF traffic comes from the Facebook family (Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.)
- 700 Million users send a GIF daily
Those numbers are INSANE.
GIPHY (the engine that runs GIFs on your favorite social media platforms) is the second largest search engine behind only Google.
The best part of this is there is a double benefit with this. You see GIFs have a massive built-in audience with the social media platforms they piggyback off.
You see, when you search for a GIF on social platforms, most of the time they are pulling from GIPHY.com. It’s a huge library of GIFs that you can search through to post on these platforms.
When you create a GIF, you are adding it to a library that can be distributed exponentially across multiple platforms. This is the magic in GIFs.
The reason these numbers are so big is from the above. You get cross-promotion without all of the work.
The last part I love about GIFs is the fact that your fans become your advocates. They share the GIF (if it is good enough content) to promote your brand on their social media feeds.
Think of it like a t-shirt that fans wear out with your logo on it…except thousands of people can see it (sometimes millions if you build the right GIFs).
With this platform, we can easily gain a massive reach for our teams and sponsors. But even better…we can hack it at no cost for us.
GIFs are search-based, which means we can target keywords to win.
When a fan looks for a GIF that speaks to their mood or response…they simply type in a word (much like a Google search) and browse the results for the perfect GIF.
As with any search-based platform, this means there are keywords we can focus on to try and hack our way to being the top result, which will get us thousands to millions of views.
As always, we want to identify ones that have low competition but high reach. The first step to this is searching on giphy.com
Here are a few I would start with:
– City Name
– League Name
– Player Name
– Common Sports Terms (Hat Trick)
When you search these terms, you want to look for a few items. First, where do sports land with these terms?
If your city name doesn’t have sports clips in the top 10 results, this is a great goal to get there with your GIFs.
If you are a minor league and your league name doesn’t have any recent trending GIFs, this is prime real estate to create gifs to be the top result.
So the first step is to make a list of keywords you believe you can OWN and target those words. Do the research on who is currently owning them, when the date of those posts are, and find the ones you really think you can make a dent in.
Next, choose videos clips that are compelling and shareable and convert them to a GIF
As with anything in social media, content is the variable that pushes success. We can do the math & strategy work, but if the GIF we share is boring or not compelling…no one will share it.
Luckily in sports, we have decades of compelling content to share.
Funny interviews, ridiculous shots, historical moments, all of these should be converted into a GIF and matched with the correct keywords.
For example, as soon as one of your players gets a crazy catch or goal…you should be converting those to a GIF and tagging with a keyword (team name, player name, goal, etc.) and promoting it to fans to encourage them to share.
Have a great Tik Tok video that went viral? Convert it to a GIF for the library.
It’s as simple as converting your great content into a GIF so your fans can find it and share….but that content has to be compelling.
Here are your first steps to building your GIF dominance for your team (and sponsors).
There are a few steps you should start with as you build your library of GIFs here are the first steps.
Create a GIPHY verified account and add your first videos
The first step is to create an account on GIPHY.com and get verified. This will allow your GIFs to be seen on the search results for fans.
There is an application process, so you will need some time to get going.
Start uploading content to OWN your channel and team name
Once verified, the first target customer will be your fans. You’ll want to fill your team keyword with content.
For many teams, if a fan wanted to share a GIF and searched for your team name…it would come up empty.
Or worse…someone else’s content would show up (stealing your views). We can’t let that happen.
Go through your most compelling content (best goals, most memorable players, etc.) and convert them to GIFs to post on your channel. You want to flood it with as much GOOD content as possible to build your ranking and library.
Check out the Tools section below for a few ways & to convert video content into a GIF.
Attach your sponsors to GIFs that make sense to their goals
As you build this library, a key will be to understand where you can authentically add your sponsors to GIFs that make sense to their goals & messaging.
What’s a great example of this? KissCam Gifs.
If you have a KissCam…it’s probably sponsored. It also probably has some pretty funny reactions by fans on it that are sharable.
If you add these GIFs to your collection, every time someone shares that GIF across your social media channels…your sponsor gets views.
Another key opportunity for GIF content is your crazy goals and the goal sponsor.
If you add that sponsor logo in the corner of the best goal GIFs when fans share them that logo gets a HUGE reach that will last beyond the game night.
Tell fans to share these GIFs while they tag sponsors for a chance to win prizes to boost even more reach.
You don’t want to plaster the logo all over the GIF…or make it the focal point of the GIF. But if you can put it in the corner or integrate it into the GIF authentically, it has massive value.
Here are a few ideas for a perfect sync up with sponsors & your GIFs:
- Adding the sponsor logo to your goal GIFs if they are the goal sponsor (as fans share, the logo gets love)
- Have food partners? Create a curated collection of GIFs with their best menu items to share (Imagine telling fans when Curry nails a three to tweet the ‘Sponsor Name’ Curry GIF to enter to win)
- Have a sponsor for your player intros? Add an intro with the sponsor logo before the player reveals it. When fans search that player and use it across all channels, the sponsor gets views.
- Draft partners on your radar? Add a sponsor integration for the videos of your new draft picks being added to your teams. When fans search for this GIF 3 years later after they are a superstar, that sponsor will get views.
- Have any throwback or historical moments for your team? Make a collection with the sponsor logo in the corner or on the intro & outro. (The same way that Comcast is on the back of the original Warriors We Believe shirts…you can digitally link a sponsor to these moments)
As you can see, there are many ways you can authentically add your sponsors to these GIFs (honestly just as you do for your videos) and give them recognition every time they are shared by your fans.
Last, let fans know about your new collections
Your fans are your most avid advocates. But more importantly, they have a huge network that they can tap into.
As you let fans know about these shareable GIFs and your channel…they will share them. And as they share them across their social media channels, you are able to reach people in their networks who may have never paid attention to your team.
The first step to launching is to simply create marketing messages that let fans know that this collection exists. You can even add a contest to it…but you want to make sure that your GIFs pick up momentum.
Make an announcement video about your channel and educate fans on new collections as they come up.
Think of this like a Nike shoe release.
If your GIFs are good enough in content and you get your fans in the habit of searching for them, you can start to steer them to content drops (GIF collections) they can use on their social media channels.
Imagine getting your fans hyped about a collection drop and wanting to be the first ones to use it on your social media channels?
This is exactly the hype you want to build with each collection. More hype means more shares across all channels. Setting these up can really lead to an explosion of shares by your fans.
Once you’ve built this, you can start really owning keywords
Once you have the full force of your fanbase who not only know about your GIFs and sharing them but are salivating at the next launch of a collection, you can really start to control keywords.
Want to overtake Hat Trick as a keyword? If you build enough reach with fans you can drop a collection of Hat Trick Throwbacks (sponsored by X) that drop every day.
This will flood the Hat Trick Keyword with your GIF, which should sway the algorithm to put your video to the top of the search term.
More importantly, when other fans see it on their social feeds…they will search and want to share it on their own social channels.
And on and on this trend goes as you rack up views and engagement.
Locally you can also do this with city terms. You can absolutely pirate the keyword that is your city name to make sure anytime someone searches it…your team GIFs come to the top.
Search for your city as a term on GIPHY and see the content that pops up. If the top results are a few years old, you can absolutely own this keyword. Every time someone searches for your city…your team content will be one of the first ones to pop up.
Is your city a bit too big for this? I would check first, you would be surprised at how some city terms are wide open, but if so I would check your niche Burroughs or suburbs keywords to see if you can easily take over those keywords.
Overall, unlike other brands, you have a highly engaged fanbase…if you can point them to share these GIFs you can hack the second largest search engine with your team and sponsor’s content.
This will create a huge advantage for your team AND allow you to strategically gain views for your team and sponsor across most social media platforms.
If you do this before other teams…you can seriously gain ground.
No matter what size your team is…if you can get this right and build this content you can gain a serious advantage that spans most major social media platforms.
With a search-based platform, you can always hack the keywords to become THE main player of a niche keyword if you can post more relevant & exciting content.
Again, GIPHY is the second largest search engine in the world. With our content in sports, if we are smart about the keywords we target we can gain a HUGE amount of reach with people who may never have seen our content.
Even better, building a GIF library of your content creates a frictionless way for fans to share your best content on most of the major social networks.
GIFs should absolutely be a major part of your team and sponsorship marketing plan. Once you build it up…this will be a HUGE asset that will be amazing for your sponsors.
The Tools To Dominate GIFs
Our Favorite Tools For Converting A Video To a GIF
GifMock — Great app that allows you to upload videos or a series of images and create a GIF. You can even edit the speed and whether it loops or not. It does cost $5 per month but still a GREAT tool that is absolutely worth the money.
EZGif.com — This is a free online tool that will convert your video to GIF. Less control than GifMock…but it’s free.
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