Have you caught on to the growingly popular marketing buzzword, “ephemeral content”?
If you haven’t yet heard of it, and aren’t sure what it means, don’t feel intimidated. Fancy wording or not, you most likely already engage with this type of content daily on social media, as well as create it yourself.
The word “ephemeral” means “lasting for a very short time”.
In modern content marketing, we use this term to describe content, most prominently on social media, which is accessible for a brief period of time only.
That’s right; it’s the Stories feature, available on three social networks: Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. Lasting for only 24 hours before vanishing from the platform, disappearing Stories have become an incredibly popular social media phenomenon.
And considering that the primary rule of social media marketing is to “be where your target audience is”, it’s no surprise that the Stories feature has become an essential marketing tool, most notably on Instagram.
Read on to find out why Stories work so well with audiences and what they can do for your business.
Audience engagement is your most important metric – more important than follower count or the number of likes per post. Statistics show 64% of social media marketers acknowledge that increasing audience engagement is crucial to their strategy, and that’s where ephemeral content comes in as a vital tool.
Disappearing Stories are proven to be a great engagement-booster. The reason behind this lies in a very simple psychological factor that marketers are now leveraging successfully: the fear of missing out, aka FOMO, a widespread phenomenon on social media.
Having a limited lifespan, temporary content creates a sense of urgency – there’s a 24-hour window not only to view the content but to react and share it with others, so you better act while there’s time.
And because of the fear of missing out, the general social media audience, always eager to be in-the-know and on top of everything that’s going on, is quick to react to Stories.
Essentially, temporary content will help raise your voice above the overwhelming swarm of permanent posts, grab your audience’s attention, and elicit a quick response.
If you’re especially struggling with organic engagement on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, don’t hesitate to look for help from creative agencies. You can use a filtered search on online directories such as DesignRush to find someone who will fit your budget and needs.
Professionals can help you develop a strategic campaign whose primary goal will be boosting engagement rates, giving you a little wind at your back so that you can take it on from there.
Some of the best engagement-boosting tactics include:
- Encouraging user-generated content with branded filters, contests and giveaways
- Running polls and Q&A sessions – you can ask your audience for their opinions and suggestions or encourage them to ask you questions. Instagram’s questions and polls stickers, which have rolled out this year, are now widely used by brands and bloggers to facilitate engagement.
- Filming live videos to communicate with your audience in real time, etc.
Boosting engagement equates to building a relationship with your audience and promoting brand loyalty, which altogether brings more engagement, ultimately setting you up for social media and branding success.
Humanize your brand and strengthen brand identity
With so many buying choices out there, consumers are craving for some kind of emotional relationship with brands. The quality of products and services has become normative, but it’s your brand identity and the way you interact with your audience, which sets you apart from your competition.
Your audience wants to see authenticity, personality, the story behind your brand. Most of all, they want your brand to feel human and relatable rather than a business which is just out for their money.
Ephemeral content does a marvelous job of helping businesses show their human side. Stories are a casual medium – spontaneous, unpretentious, and raw. And that’s exactly what audiences love about them.
Unlike permanent posts, Stories don’t need to be of high quality or carefully curated to make a sensible whole. You just need to get your phone out and snap a photo or film whatever is going on – no need to stage anything; just tell your Story and get your audience involved.
It’s these casual interactions which help you build a relationship with your audience. One of the best ways to leverage this unique quality which ephemeral content harbors is by taking your audience “behind the scenes” and showing them the inner working of your business.
Give them a glimpse into your world in an informal and spontaneous way. Show them what a day at your company looks like, what you’re doing when you’re not working, and let them see the people who are working hard to make it all possible.
By literally showing the human faces which stand behind your brand, you’re building a strong bond with your audience. You’re directly telling them that you’re not a cold-blooded corporation but a team comprised of people very much like themselves.
Widen audience reach and drive traffic to your site
We’ve mentioned previously how ephemeral content leverages the FOMO to elicit immediate responses and drive engagement. What this also means is that Stories are inherently shareable and visibility-boosting.
People don’t overthink it when it comes to Stories – everything is casual, temporary, and easily digestible. It takes only a single tap for them to send someone’s Story to a friend, and considering that it’s going to disappear soon, they’re more driven to do this without thinking twice.
And when somebody shares your Story with a friend (especially when that friend isn’t your follower already), you’re immediately getting a valuable visibility boost. You’re not just getting anyone, but highly relevant followers – people similar to your existing audience – directed your way.
This can also help drive traffic to your site, especially with features such as “Swipe Up” on Instagram.
So how do you make your Story shareable?
User-generated content is always best – it not only boosts visibility and engagement, but it’s how you literally get your audience to promote your brand on your behalf.
Otherwise, basically, anything can be shareable, just if it’s funny, relatable, and interesting enough. That’s why memes work so well to the point that they’re becoming a legitimate marketing tool, no kidding.
Lastly, you need ephemeral content in your social media campaign in order to ensure you maintain consistency.
Firstly, it will help you strengthen your brand voice as a different, more approachable medium, thus helping you emphasize that consistency in tone of voice which is crucial to building brand awareness and promoting loyalty.
Secondly, ephemeral content is easy content. Unlike permanent content, there’s no need for careful planning, staging, and editing.
That’s great for you because it means you can maintain engagement and stay on your audience’s radar while you’re preparing your more time-consuming and demanding permanent content. It helps you buy time and stay top of mind during all the empty slots in your content schedule.
At first, ephemeral content seems counterintuitive to marketing. Why put effort into something which is going to be gone in a day?
But ephemeral content actually holds huge marketing potential, and hopefully, this post has clarified that.
Remember, it’s all about raising brand awareness and building an authentic relationship with your audience. Consequently, ephemeral content plays an important role in driving conversions. So draw inspiration from big brands on social, get your phone out, and dive right into it!