It may feel like ephemeral content appeared just a couple of years ago, but the format was first debuted back in 2011, thanks to a small platform named Snapchat. Their app might have originally been used to send disappearing messages, but the company has changed and evolved in drastic ways since their humble beginnings.
Today, ephemeral content is everywhere. It’s inside Facebook, it’s messaging app Facebook Messenger and even YouTube has embraced them as a part of their mobile experience. While the average business owner might not fully comprehend the absurdity that is investing in ephemeral content, the format actually offers tangible benefits that can hardly be found anywhere else.
So, what are these benefits and how can you use ephemeral content to improve your company’s marketing strategy?
1. Cater to your mobile audience
One of the most beautiful things, at least from a marketer’s perspective, is that it caters to mobile users. Now why is that so important, one might ask? Considering that nearly 80% of adults own a smartphone and that number rises as the age bracket moves towards college age, but also the fact that mobile browsing has long overtaken desktop, catering to your mobile users becomes that much more important.
For example, let’s say that you make your living by owning an e-commerce store and selling products. Most users would start their search for a specific product using a smartphone or tablet, only to complete their purchase later via desktop or laptop. You could use ephemeral content to announce new products and services, giveaways, special discounts or work on creating a strong connection with potential buyers.
Your audience would only have to swipe up (using the Instagram story feature) to access your store directly and this convenience factor might just be the deciding one to complete the purchase without having to transfer devices. All it took for you was to post a story. Simple, effective, yet highly convenient and easy to create.
2. Improve brand reach
Snapchat may have reigned supreme as one of the most engaging platforms for millennials and otherwise younger audiences, but Instagram has taken the format and introduced it to a much wider audience. In fact.
Instagram reached a whopping 400 million active daily Stories users by June of 2018. Looking at the numbers, it becomes overwhelmingly apparent that posting stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat is one of the easiest ways of improving your brand’s overall reach, especially if you’re targeting your audiences correctly.
3. Get more followers
A decent social media following has less to do with numbers or likes and shares and more with audience engagement and utilizing the potential to turn followers into paying customers. But in order to turn them, you first have to build your audience.
Ephemeral content, and Instagram stories, in particular, can be used in tandem with hashtags and geo locations to reach new followers. Hashtags themselves can be geographical, strategic or supportive of your specific media campaign. Both hashtags and geo locations increase engagement and improve the chances of being discovered by both local and worldwide audiences.
4. Humanize your brand
Did you know that despite Instagram’s user numbers, Snapchat was actually preferred by Users for its unpolished, raw content? People wanted to see content that was unedited and real, instead of something that was crafted and curated meticulously.
Ephemeral content is ideal for humanizing brands and showcasing the workforce, the real man and women who work behind the large brands. You see, temporary content does not have to be overly refined and polished, which only adds a genuine and more human look and feel to it.
5. Build on and reinforce brand authenticity
Brand humanization goes hand in hand with building brand authenticity, especially when they’re posting engaging, raw stories, like a normal person would. On the other hand, brand authenticity needs to be a reflection of your brand voice.
It should add character to the brand, uncovering the polished veil of fabricated and unreal perfection that normally causes us to distance ourselves from the brand and distrust it even further.
Stories, and ephemeral content, in general, are much more personal and help represent a brand in a different light, as opposed to more traditional marketing tactics. As raw as they are, stories still need to be coherent and interesting to watch.
If you want a top-notch quality ephemeral content, you might want to lay off the freelancing sites and consider consulting seasoned digital marketing companies with years of experience in video production.
6. Provide sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes
Tying into brand humanization and authenticity, you can also improve brand loyalty and increase transparency by providing your followers with a behind-the-scenes look into your company’s operation.
You can also use stories to provide a sneak peek regarding new products and services or simply showcase the company culture that has brought together different people with a unified dream of creating something new and exciting and providing the best possible experience to their users.
7. Increasing audience engagement
Ephemeral content is predominantly visual and the thing about visual content, especially when compared to other types of content, is that it’s 40x more likely to get shared. Besides the visual aspect, the advent of ephemeral content has also been guided throughout the years by FOMO or the fear of missing out.
It creates a sense of urgency for the users, making them want to watch it immediately before it disappears and be in the know regarding their favorite brands.
8. Spend less on content creation
Creating engaging content on a regular basis may not be impossible, but it certainly isn’t easy, especially if you’re a small business with a highly-restricted budget to work with. The transient nature of ephemeral content has actually lowered our expectations in regards to quality content.
We stopped expecting every little detail to be absolutely perfect and overly-produced. This makes the job of creating ephemeral content much easier and adds a much-needed note of improvisation and spontaneity, without placing a burden on your existing budget.
Ephemeral content is an excellent addition to your brand’s regularly scheduled content. In expert hands, it is a tool used to build authenticity, improve loyalty, increase engagement or simply remind audiences to take a look at your new products, services, posts, videos, etc.
While it doesn’t have to be produced to death, ephemeral content also shouldn’t be lackluster. Avoid looking at it as an additional piece of content that needs to be produced, but rather an extension of your brand that, when executed properly, can make a world of difference for your digital marketing efforts.