The Power of Ephemeral Content in Social Media Marketing
Since its launch in 2011, Snapchat has grown to 229 million daily active users (DAU) with Facebook and Instagram Stories replicating its format with even greater success. All three applications feature ephemeral content. Here’s how to use ephemeral content to market your business.
What is ephemeral content and why is it so popular?
Ephemeral content is photo or video content that gets auto-deleted briefly after it gets uploaded. On platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, for instance, users can make posts or send photos that can only be viewed within 24 hours before they disappear. Ephemeral content can be sent to individuals, groups, or posted publicly. It can cover anything from live streamed videos and narrative stories to product demos and behind-the-scenes.
What makes ephemeral so effective at garnering attention and boosting engagement?
- It gives users a new way of creating their own content. Ephemeral content is a quick and inexpensive way to create interesting content, which makes it efficient, not just for casual Snapchat or Instagram users, but also for marketers.
- The platforms that cater to ephemeral content are vertical video-friendly, which is useful considering that mobile users hold their smartphones vertically 94% of the time and will rarely bother to flip their screens sideways to better view content.
- Ephemeral content comes across as more human, authentic, and spontaneous due to the informal and inexpensive set-up. It gives you the opportunity to deliver brand messages and deliver value to followers without being too salesy.
- It’s fun – Snapchat and Instagram are known for their unique built-in filters, stickers, voice dubs, and brand tie-ins that make it more enjoyable to create and/or consume.
- It capitalises on social media users’ fear of missing out (FOMO). Since the content disappears within a day, it encourages people to engage before it’s gone. For this reason, ephemeral content generates traffic from the spike in views and engagement that accompanies a new content release.
- It helps prevent overposting, which can decrease followers and reduce engagement. Aside from its short lifespan, ephemeral content is posted on Stories and not the main feed, which means that your followers won’t feel bombarded by multiple posts in a single day.
Why should businesses use ephemeral content for digital marketing?
There are several reasons to include ephemeral content in your digital strategy:
- Snapchat has 6,400,000 monthly active users (MAUs) in Australia (source: Snapchat data)
- Instagram has 9,000,000 MAUs in AU (source: FB/ Instagram data)
- Facebook has 16,000,000 MAUs in AU (source: FB/ Instagram data)
- 1.6 million Australians, or 7% of the population over 6 years, either visit the TikTok site or use the app in an average four weeks (source: roymorgan.com)
- About 210 million snaps are created each day (source: Snapchat data)
- 500 million people use Instagram Stories daily (blog.hootsuite.com)
- 1/3 of the most viewed IG Stories are posted by businesses (source: embedsocial.com)
- 50% of businesses around the world create at least one Instagram Story in a typical month (source: embedsocial.com)
- In Australia, TikTok influencers have an audience share of 22.76% (source: statista.com)
- Stories have helped increase the amount of time users spend on IG from 15 minutes to 32 minutes each day (source: acquisio.com)
- Social videos generate 1200% more shares compared to images and text (source: Renderforest).
Further 64% of users say they’re more likely to buy products online after watching videos. Consumers are increasingly interested in the social shopping experience made possible by Facebook augmented reality (AR) advertising and similar ad formats that allow shoppers to try products (e.g. sunglasses, clothes) virtually using their cameras and AR tools.
Lastly, sharing updates via Stories has outpaced traditional sharing via News Feed. Before the introduction of ephemeral content, social media users posted via status update, photo albums, or link sharing, which are then curated for their followers by the News Feed algorithm, which means that these posts may or may not be seen by other users.
Stories, on the other hand, are displayed at the top of the News Feed by chronology and can be updated frequently. This means better visibility for your business, helping you get business messages across without getting lost in a sea of posts.
Tips for integrating ephemeral content into your digital strategy
Stay consistent while diversifying content. Since ephemeral content disappears shortly after it’s been shared, you’ll need to keep generating new and fresh – 20% of Facebook users say they’ve hidden branded content that’s repetitive from their News Feed, according to a Fractl and BuzzStream survey. But as you create and diversify your ephemeral video content, you’ll need to stay consistent with branding and messaging. Abrupt changes in the direction of your video content can alienate followers.
To stay consistent, you must create a content plan and stick to it. Set a posting schedule so that you can also be consistent with timing and frequency of your posts. People tend to form patterns and habits around social media, so following a consistent posting schedule will keep them engaged.
When diversifying content, you can change it up by exploring different formats while staying on-brand:
- A live tour of your office or warehouse
- Feature posts and photos from followers for engagement
Stay authentic. Ephemeral content is usually candid and informal. It tends to feel more authentic than paid ads and sponsored posts. And since Stories are separate from feeds, you can share video content that isn’t as polished, and which disappears after a day, showing followers a more personal and vulnerable side to your business. It’s a great way of showing the human aspect of your brand and giving followers a peek behind the curtain, so to speak. Show them what day-to-day life in your business looks like, the different personalities in your company, and how your products are made or packed for delivery.
Share news and updates. You can use ephemeral content for company updates, upcoming sales, media features, and other business announcements. This provides more exposure for important announcements since your audience can view them quickly and with barely any effort. It’s also a great way of telling followers what you’re doing for them and what you have in store for the coming days or weeks.
Engage your followers. Ephemeral content lets you interact with your audience as they scroll through Stories. They’ll be more likely to engage if you provide actionable items like polls and ask me anything (AMA), which gives followers a way to interact with your content.
Instagram and Facebook Live also lets you post user-requested content and host Q&A sessions with followers. This allows for a two-way conversation that lets your customers know you’re willing to listen to them, and which can be an excellent source of information about the kind of content they’d like to see more of.
Use shoppable stories. Having a business account lets you set up a digital storefront in Stories. This can help you turn loyal followers into paying customers. Instagram has added in-app shopping to Stories, allowing users to shop the items featured in a Story. Snapchat and WhatsApp also host a shopping feature for ephemeral content.
Online shopping and ephemeral content are an excellent match since followers because of the time limit and convenience – with just a few taps, you can make a sale through a shoppable story. It also allows you to reach a wide audience for your products and services.
Work with an Instagram Partner based in Melbourne, AU. Contevo is a proud Instagram and Facebook Partner. With more than 15 years’ experience in digital marketing, we help Australian entrepreneurs use social media to grow their business and engage their followers. Call us today, or drop by our office for a consultation.