How to use animation in your social media posts to improve engagement.

Hey, Ben here. In this post, I’m going to explore the use of animation on social media and how you can use it to get more engagement on your social platforms.

So first off, what is engagement on social? And why do we even want it? Well, engagement is when a viewer interacts with your content, so this could be likes, shares, comments, links, views and any action they take after consuming media from your social channels. Whilst our main objective as a marketer is normally to get a viewer to our website or another owned channel, the platform wants users to stay there. Getting likes, comments & shares on a post helps grow the organic reach of that post because the algorithm behind the platform sees that content as valuable.

Now whether you agree with pleasing the algorithm or not, engagement can offer other valuable insights and metrics into how well your content is performing. Both of these eventually end up with more leads and sale opportunities for your business.

So how do we get more engagement on our posts?

Well, we start with attention. If the person scrolling down Instagram doesn’t even stop to look at your content then we have no chance of them engaging with it. So the first step is to grab their attention. And I wonder what creative skill we are going to use to do that? You guessed it. Animation.

So let’s look at a few ways that animation can help us grab people's attention when on social media.

One way is to use animation to create movement as this catches your eye, especially when the content around it is static. This can work by using motion to grab attention and then moving the story forward automatically so that people continue watching as they subconsciously want to know what happens next.

Another option is for your content to be different from the content it surrounds. If there is a sea of static photos then your one animated illustration will stand out and get noticed. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t follow trends and best practices for each platform as your content still has to be of value.

It’s important to remember that each social platform is different, so requires a slightly different approach in the way we use animation in order to grab attention. The type of content around your post will be different on TikTok than on LinkedIn, and your audience will be in a different frame of mind on Twitter than on Facebook.

Once we have their attention we can guide them to completing an action. Notice how it’s only one action. We don’t want to overwhelm people with options. They will just scroll on down to the next piece of content. We just want one, clear, next step for them to engage with. Think of it like a landing page. When designing a CTA for that you don’t put a list of buttons, you put just one. The main action you want them to take.

This main action will vary based on both your business objectives and the engagement options the platform provides. So if you're looking for more information on what your audience thinks about a topic and the platform allows comments, simply ask them to write in the comments. Or if you're looking for links through to your landing page and the platform allows links, make your CTA a link to your page. The important thing is to make sure you only have one call to action and that it’s clear how people should engage.

A common way to add a CTA to a social post is by writing it out in the description. But as we are all aware, very few people actually read these when scrolling through their feed. A better option is putting the CTA inside the post. This is why carousels have become so popular. It allows you to add an end slide containing the next action for people to take.

What we do with animation is very similar. We can take your post and add a CTA at the end. This is something that can’t be done with static graphics. We use the first few seconds of the animation to grab attention, and then we communicate our story before ending with a call to action. Sounds simple, but getting each stage right is vital to creating a social media post that gets results.

We’ve already discussed how to grab attention but how can we use animation to get people to engage with our content?

We can simply ask them, using animation to point to certain buttons on the platform is a playful way to entice viewers to take action. For example, the swipe-up animation that is often used on Instagram stories. Or the animated subscribe button that so many YouTubers have adopted. Remember to give them a reason to take that action. What do they get in return?

We can also tell a longer or more complex message to make our posts feel more human. Animation is key here to allow you to keep the viewer stimulated whilst consuming the content. How many of us stop reading halfway down those LinkedIn essays? It also allows for a deeper connection and is a great way to visually break down complex messages. This deeper connection leads to more human responses like comments and sharing with friends.

So hopefully this has sparked a few ideas and your next social post will not only bring more engagement to your social channel, but it will look good doing so.

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