The marketing world has evolved over the years. Gone are the days where we need to focus on making evergreen content and recycling it through social media and other forms of content.
Of course we know the social media world continues to evolve for marketers day in and day out. But one thing that has created a splash in recent years has been the rise of ephemeral content.
This is content that has a life span of 24 hours before it’s gone forever. Even though some would think this type of content wouldn’t fly, many people are flocking to it. In fact, many large platforms have adopted it and have thrived beyond Snapchat. Examples are Instagram and Facebook, the large giants that have set social media down this path.
Don’t get me wrong, evergreen content is still important. But it would be foolish of us if we weren’t tapping into ephemeral content as well. But the real question is how do we start all of this? How can we leverage this tool and grow a business?
Well here is a guide to help you with that.
What Makes Ephemeral Content Popular?
Before going further, it’s worth discussing why this concept is so popular. After all, we’ve been told so many times that evergreen content is key and will grow businesses. Why is content that lives for a day so popular?
Well we can boil the popularity of ephemeral content down to five points that should explain it. It’s through these points that we can learn how to make the most of this content:
- First, because this content has a limited exposure time, many people will check out this content compulsively. Part of that comes down to FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out).
- Second, the places where this content is stored has great design. Facebook, Snapchat, and instagram have some great app designs. Both apps make it easy for people to create this content not to mention make it easy to consume others.
- Third, the apps were also designed with interaction in mind. Instagram has various hashtags and geotags, allowing you to reach a wider audience. Snapchat allows you to join and create groups that allow you to build communities. Facebook allows you to brand your page and appear in messenger apps.
- These platforms also are compatible with vertical video too making it easy for people with little recording skills to easily grasp video recording.
- Finally, these platforms provide fun filters that add flare and customization to each piece of content you create.
It’s these particular features that make it so popular and beloved by many. There’s plenty of reason for people to come back and consume that content and for companies to keep making this content.
So how do you use Ephemeral Content properly?
Well there is no right or wrong answer for the proper way to use ephemeral content. That being said, leveraging this content comes down to the following steps I’ve outlined below. By following them, you’ll be able to better use this content for your business.
Have a Go-To Platform
Even though this content is popular, you can’t simply post this content haphazardly and hope it sticks. You need a plan and you still need a target audience.
The upside to this is that there are only three platforms that use this content at the time of writing this: Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.
It pays to understand your audience in those areas. You don’t want to leave it to chance or pick which one you think is best for your brand.
On that note, you also want to familiarize yourself with the features and specialities that each platform brings. After all, this impacts the individuals who frequent those platforms. Knowing the demographics is crucial since this will provide more accuracy in which platform to look at.
Not only that but it can also dictate what sort of content will fly.
For example, according to Shopify, the audience on Facebook is maturing as the older generations are becoming regular users along with millennials. On the flip side, Snapchat is getting a majority younger audience.
What this means is that for your business your content can be louder, bolder, and younger on Snapchat than when posting on Facebook.
Know which platform works best for your brand and go from there.
Have the Content Hook in the First Few Seconds
Ephemeral content is short-lived, which means that you need to get people hooked to it quickly. Whenever you make this content, make sure that you are communicating your message and hold interest early on.
Not to put too much pressure but those first seconds determine whether a campaign will succeed or flop.
Take Taco Bell’s 2016 campaign around Cinco de Mayo. It was branded as the most successful Snapchat campaigns in the apps history. And for good reason. The campaign featured a filter where people could change their heads into taco shells. This interaction hooked the audience immediately and the campaign garnered more than 224 million views.
Make the Content Meaningful
You can’t just spit out content after content. Content today needs to have a story that can engage your audience. One of the ways you can do that is to have a call to action within the first second.
Also if you are telling a story, you can split it into parts as well. All you have to do is ensure the story can hold the interest of your audience.
Hashtags and geotags are powerful tools and can get more coverage than a typical campaign would. If you’re posting this content, make sure that people can find you but also connect it with appropriate brands as well.
By including appropriate tags, you’re only boosting your visibility across the platform you’re posting on.
Show Process and Progress
One other way you can engage your audience is to show progress and process. For example, if you’re developing a product, be sure to show off the steps you’re taking. Show sketches, the drawing board, and a little bit of the work in development. Even show the tests if they are applicable.
Some other ideas include documenting a day of some of your employees or perhaps a trip if that suits your brand. The key with ephemeral content is to be authentic so don’t be afraid to show behind-the-scenes content when it suits you.
Things to Avoid Doing with Ephemeral Content
While I’ve talked about how to best leverage this content, there are some things worth reviewing that you will want to avoid. While there are plenty of reasons to use this content, it can backfire if you have a tendency to do the following:
- You don’t plan. While this content is short lived, there is still a lot of strategy that goes behind this. This plan should be a long-term plan as well. I’m not talking about having ideas for only a few weeks. I’m talking about a plan for several months or better yet a year or two.
- You’re putting this content out on a platform where your presence is small. Ephemeral content isn’t good for companies who lack a presence. Your posts will not get noticed at all if you have a small audience. First, focus on building an audience on there.
- You’re not mindful of its connection to influencer marketing. Another big splash in social media was the rise of influencer marketing. Many businesses were able to grow thanks to support from influencer marketing and with this content. This is important because some businesses can be so niche they may not be able to get an influencer that can make their campaign successful.
- You’re not consistent. To no surprise, consistency is key. Your stories won’t be effective if the content isn’t consistent nor is it engaging or appealing. Make sure you’re putting in the work.
Leverage Ephemeral Content
Ephemeral content is like any other form of content. In the sense that it only is as effective as the person creating it and pushing it. When you use this content the proper way and can leverage it, this can raise your business to the next level.