Most people are familiar and have played around in the realm of ephemeral content on their personal social media profiles, even if they’ve never seen or heard of the term before. Probably the most well-known and used channel for ephemeral content is Instagram… more specifically, Instagram stories.
Most ephemeral content is shared for up to 24 hours and then disappears forever.
Snapchat was the first platform to make use of ephemeral content and by 2016, the social network had hit 10 billion daily video views.
Soon after on August 2nd, Snapchat’s much larger competitor, Instagram, launched an exact clone of Snapchat stories at the top of its app used by 300 million people daily and 500 million people each month. Later Facebook followed suit, and so did WhatsApp – making it clear that ephemeral content is now undoubtedly the hot topic on social media platforms.
But can businesses capitalize on this newer way of sharing content?
Truth of the matter is, this is one of the best things that could have happened to businesses who operate on social platforms.
Ephemeral content allows you to be more authentic, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what a business is doing, which is extremely beneficial in a day and age where transparency is a hot topic. An example of this could be using your Instagram stories platform to show how your office works on a day-to-day basis, showing off the culture of the business. It creates a bond between the customer and the company that 5 years ago was impossible to do without literally bringing customers into your work environment.
Doing this effectively, has the ability to improve brand loyalty, as consumers start building a relationship with the brand, especially if they’re enjoying day-to-day, or even weekly, personal engagements.
Something that’s key to remember is that personal engagements are not always polished. This is something that businesses using Instagram to its full potential are implementing. While their traditional feed may contain the best, high-quality imagery and smartly edited video, their stories “keep it real”. One of the great benefits to this is the ability to cover more real-time content – and because it’s in a story, your audience is automatically forgiving of hand shot videos taken directly from a mobile phone (although, if using Instagram for business, try invest in a smartphone with a decent enough camera).
Despite the above points, more traditional marketers (even the more traditional of digital marketers), are sometimes still dubious of using ephemeral content – predominantly because of its short life span. But marketers can actually gain from this: by encouraging followers to take fast action!
A great example could be an annual event, such as a horse racing derby day, where everyone wishes to feel exclusive. If those in attendance, or even carefully selected influencers, share the event in their stories, their followers will enjoy a real-time feel of the event and the exclusivity that comes with it. After 24 hours that exclusivity then falls away, as the content does, but becomes something they’re able to wave over their friends, who may have missed out and will have been to too late to view.
Most of us desire at some stage one or both of two things: community and to feel exclusive. Campaigns like these make such possible and as a result, add a lot of value to future events, where now that people have had an online taste, they want to purchase tickets for the next event to get the real life edition.
Instagram has also recently added features to their stories, to keep them even more engaging.
From asking questions, to posting polls, to being able to insert a link with a call-to-action, businesses are now able to learn from their consumer and drive traffic to their website in one easy go.
Finding balance is crucial, as with any social media platform. Do not spam your customers, as this will only result in them either swiping past your story or ignoring it completely. Find the correct balance so that the consumer looks forward to your story and does not swipe passed.
If you’re a business making use of social media and would like to stay ahead of your competition, then ephemeral content is a must for you.
Not sure where to begin? The Blue Room would be a great start. Our digital marketing team are experts and can help you formulate the best content to increase your returns. Email us on email@example.com, or call us on 021 553 0315.
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Written by Juben Matthee: Digital Marketer, The Blue Room