Professional networking giant LinkedIn announced that it is implementing GIFs into its messaging system. For business users and professionals (who form perhaps the only market for LinkedIn) this move is certain to surprise many. The common perception is that a serious career-oriented platform like LinkedIn need not have a GIF presence on its messaging platform.
But obviously, the LinkedIn product team seems to differ on opinions here. They feel that GIFs and emojis are staple to the next generation professional’s communication. Hence, this move is in sync with what the aspiring career professional is looking for on LinkedIn. So don’t be surprised if you see a GIF button soon on your messaging window that will allow you to send GIFs in your LinkedIn messages.
What does it mean for businesses?
For advertisers, the move seems to have some logical sanity attached to it. LinkedIn has always tried to incorporate a more intimate one-on-one messaging experience with features like SMS-oriented back and forth message flow and emojis.
For a marketer, this philosophy aligns well with their lead generation objectives, as better one-on-one interaction is directly proportional to better levels of engagement and conversions.
For suave marketers, the concept of GIFs driving reader engagement has been a well-known subject. On LinkedIn they have been using GIFs as photo attachments to evoke better engagement from the readers.
A word of caution
The blending of the informal nature of Gifs in a professional setting like LinkedIn messaging needs a careful thinking before using it. Many senior people think GIF to be a seriously unprofessional addition to a professional networking platform. Using GIFs to communicate with such an audience may backfire badly if not used with care.
Also, GIFs tend to be misread quite a lot. A possible misinterpretation of a GIF on the messaging system may result in an unhappy client or a total attrition altogether. So be very careful before sending out a GIF to potential customers or business leads.
Then why have it?
Many feel that incorporating GIFs addresses two crucial issues:
1. The lack of human touch is solely missing when we are dealing with 100% text-based messaging or dreary presentations. A GIF can easily overcome this perception and add a human touch to the communication.
2. GIFs aid a better recall value. When you see something different on your messaging screen, chances are that you would remember it for longer than other types of text-only messages. From a branding point of view, this stickiness of a message is a substantial impetus for marketers to explore GIFs in messaging.
If used subtly, then GIFs have the power to evoke a greater level of interaction and personalisation on LinkedIn messaging platform. Your brand gets the human touch, the recipient acknowledges the personalised connection, and rewards the effort with better engagement and likely conversion.
What is your view on the new messaging GIF feature on LinkedIn? Do write to us and let us know in the comments below.