There was a time when people thought Snapchat would be a spectacular failure, and there would be no social media marketing value in the platform. Now Snapchat has 191 million daily active users.
Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories have replicated Snapchat’s method with even more success. Instagram Stories get over 400 million daily active users.
There’s a good reason why these content types are so popular.
All three formats—Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories—are ephemeral content.
But what is ephemeral content, right? It sounds more menacing than it is.
Ephemeral content is content that disappears after a certain amount of time. It’s basically the opposite of evergreen content.
This might sound like a terrible idea. Why would you want to produce content that only engages users for 24 hours or less?
The first reason is that a whole lot of people engage with ephemeral content.
But let’s dig a little deeper than that.
Related: 3 Unknown Snapchat advertising facts you didn’t know already
Why is ephemeral content so popular?
There are powerful psychological factors that drive the popularity of ephemeral content.
We’re very familiar with them in the world of marketing:
Ephemeral content capitalizes on people’s fear of missing out. The fact that the content won’t be there tomorrow entices people to engage with the content ASAP. Ephemeral content gets all of its traffic from that spike that accompanies a content release.
The second thing is humanity. People like to buy things from people. Good ephemeral content is quickly produced and carries a very personal tone. The lack of polish makes it easier for people to identify with the content.
Ephemeral content should be created quickly and inexpensively — so it’s effective and efficient.
Since it’s so effective, here’s how to use ephemeral content on social media.
Since ephemeral content disappears after a certain amount of time, you’ll need to keep creating it. However, you need to get more granular with your consistency.
Create a plan for your ephemeral content messaging and stick to it. Abruptly changing the direction of your content can turn users off.
Also be consistent about what time you post your stories. People tend to be a bit habitual about their social media use, so being consistent with your posting schedule will keep them coming back.
The cool thing about social media stories is that they’re very informal. They’re a great way to show the human side of your business and give people a glimpse behind the curtain.
Let your customers know what the day-to-day life of your business looks like, what you’re excited about and even your challenges. It brings your business down to earth and lets customers know that they’re buying from people.
Press releases and sharing updates on your blog are good. You should keep doing that.
But using stories to share updates and news, announce sales and promote events gives your audience a real-time account of what’s going on with your company and what you’re doing for them.
Your announcements will also get a lot more exposure since people can view them quickly and effortlessly.
Engage with your audience
One of the most powerful features of story posts is that you can add polls, which gives audiences a way to interact with the content and increases engagement.
Using the live feature on Instagram, you can also host question-and-answer sessions with your customers or post user-requested content. It creates a two-way conversation with your customers that can be a great source of information for you and let your customers know that you’re listening to them.
Walk the walk
If your business does charitable work or volunteers time, use your stories to show it.
Showing your good work in action feels a lot less self-congratulatory than announcing it after the fact. It’s also more believable because a real-time video is harder to fake than a social media blurb.
So be sure to pull your phone out and grab a quick snippet next time you’re doing good things.
Creating ephemeral stories is quick, easy, fun and can drive a lot of engagement with your brand and help customers trust your company.
If you’re still on the fence about using ephemeral content in your social media marketing, give it a try!
Then use a social media story to let us know how it works out for you.