The world of social media marketing is buzzing with its hottest word – “ephemeral content”. Also referred to as temporary content because it lasts for 24 hours before vanishing from the platform, this type of content is by no means new, as it was introduced by Snapchat back in 2011.
So, what’s the reason for the buzz?
Well, it turns out that self-destructing content is actually a powerful tool for all kinds of marketing and promotion.
Audiences love it. It’s the reason why Instagram and Facebook proceeded to create their own ephemeral feature, the Stories channel on both platforms. Consequently, Instagram Stories have outperformed Snapchat and claimed the throne of ephemeral features, boasting over 400 million daily active users worldwide. Not only that, but Instagram’s latest data shows that 33% of the most viewed Stories have been created by businesses, making the feature vital to raising the Instagram game for marketers small and large. As a blogger, you have plenty of reasons to make ephemeral content an integral part of your marketing strategy, and we’re here to bring you the how and why.
Grab attention and raise engagement
One of the primary goals of ephemeral content is to grab attention and elicit a quick response from the audience. It does this by leveraging the well-known FOMO – the fear of missing out on social media. As social media users, we are driven by an urge to stay on top of everything, to follow closely everything that’s going on within the landscape. With only a 24-hour window of opportunity given to users to view, share, and respond to a Story, a sense of urgency is created – act now, or you’ll miss out.
Although there’s no guarantee whatsoever that they’ll find something worthwhile when they open a Story, audiences are driven to view them anyway just because, after all, there could be something of their interest there, and it’s not going to be there the next day. It’s how ephemeral content manages to rise above the constant noise of permanent posts and not only get all eyes peeled to it, but much more interaction and engagement too.
That’s why you need to use Stories both as an individual channel for interacting with your audience and a platform for announcing permanent posts. It’s a sure-fire way to grab attention and overcome algorithms that don’t work in your favor.
Stay on your audience’s radar
The great thing about ephemeral content – whether it’s on Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram – is that it doesn’t demand a lot of time and effort to create. In fact, if you are investing a lot of time and effort into the creation of Stories, you’re doing something wrong. Ephemeral channels were developed as a way to counteract the polished and curated nature of social media – to offer users content that’s more genuine, raw, and unstaged. And that’s exactly why it has worked so well with audiences and why everyone loves it.
What this means for you is that you can create engaging Stories content in a much shorter time than you create permanent posts. That way, you’ll have a constant flow of content and be able to stay on your audience’s radar while you prepare the more time-consuming and elaborate permanent posts.
Show authenticity and build your personal brand
As we’ve just mentioned, the raw and unpolished nature of ephemeral content is exactly what audiences love about it. Use the Stories channel to address your audience in a more casual and genuine way. Talk to them on Live video, show them bits and pieces from your daily life, show them you’re human and imperfect just like them. The more relatable you are, the stronger the relationship you can build with your follower base. And permanent posts are there for the pretty stuff.
The goal is to strike a perfect balance between the two in order to build a strong personal brand and a tight bond with your audience. Now, that takes effort, and it should be perfectly aligned with your blog’s content strategy. If you’re having trouble with bringing coherence into your overall strategy, you can use online platforms for finding digital agencies by filtered search according to your budget and other preferences. By either hiring professionals to help you kick things off or just by drawing inspiration from their portfolios, you can ensure that you’re diving into your social media strategy with a plan rather than just randomly posting whatever seems trendy at the moment.
One of the most important aspects of ephemeral content is that it creates a lot more opportunities for your audience to actually be involved in your work and engage with your brand on a more personal level – with very little effort. By encouraging user-generated content (UGC) through contests and shares in your Stories, you’re directly making your audience a part of your brand. That, without a doubt, creates an incredibly strong bond, while simultaneously you’re getting your audience to promote your blog and act on your behalf.
So what’s in it for them? – The sheer pleasure of being included, acknowledged, or featured in your Stories as a way to promote their own account. It’s a great ecosystem that does wonders for promotion as well as boosting engagement and loyalty.
Widen your reach
The points we’ve previously mentioned lead us to another reason why you should use ephemeral content in your marketing strategy: it will help you boost visibility and reach a wider audience.
For one, the sense of urgency ephemeral channels create means that users don’t think twice about sharing a Story on their own account or in a private message to a friend. It takes only a single tap, and considering the Story won’t be there tomorrow, there’s no reason not to do it.
Along with encouraging UGC, these two factors get your followers to drive relevant audiences your way. People love discovering new blogs and brands via the friends whom they trust.
This way, you won’t only widen your reach on the social platform, but if you prove engaging and interesting enough, you’ll attract the right kind of traffic to your blog. There’s also hashtags and geotags which you can leverage on platforms such as Instagram to get featured for a specific keyword or location (just like with permanent posts) and thus boost visibility.
Lastly, there’s another great benefit that ephemeral content naturally offers: it’s marvelous ground for testing ideas. Nothing is forever and there’s so much more freedom, so use Stories to raise questions, talk about new topics, or bring in some new people you’d like to collaborate with and see how your audience is responding. On Instagram, for example, you can even use the Polls stickers to directly ask your audience for their opinion on a certain matter or to ask them what they would like to see more of from you.
Overall, the power of Stories on all three platforms lies in their ephemerality. And although ephemerality seems counterintuitive to marketing, it’s clear the quite the opposite stands true. Ephemeral content lets you grab attention, raise engagement, and form a deeper bond with your audience. Ultimately, it’s a crucial brand-building tool. Use it to your best advantage and know that you’re not wasting a second of your time.