What started off as something simple that the youth could enjoy has turned into one of the most powerful marketing tools thus far. Ephemeral content. It started in Snapchat which popularized the idea and now that Facebook and Instagram “adopted” this content format, their fan base has grown significantly.

Going into more details, since the creation of Stories, the consumption of them has jumped by 842% since 2016.

With such a massive audience for this type of content now, I thought it best to not only talk about it, but provide some pointers to this type of content. By leveraging ephemeral content, you can grow your brand faster and better than other efforts have.

Why Is Ephemeral Content So Popular?

For those not familiar with the term, ephemeral content is content that has a pre-determined life. As mentioned above, the Stories functions on various platforms amount to the creation of ephemeral content.

As for why it’s so popular, the reasons aren’t so obvious. But I can chalk it up to three reasons:

  • It provides realness. As I’ve said before user-generated content is big and people love it. Why it’s popular is because it creates an air of authenticity. According to a report, 60% of consumers say their purchase decisions are influenced by content from friends or family over brands.That report also found that 86% say authenticity matters when it comes to supporting a brand. Ephemeral content is playing on this since often times these Stories are made through your camera on your phone rather than more professionally made.
  • It has FOMO. Fear of missing out. The fact that this content lasts for only 24 hours is big. Sure you’ve got plenty of time, but a day is shorter than people think. In a world where everything is fast paced it’s easy to miss out on something.FOMO is an impulse for people and marketers know this. So they take advantage of that nature by throwing in contents, flash sales, behind the scenes events, and teasers into these Stories to build hype.
  • The last aspect is there isn’t much pressure in this content. While the quality between a post and Stories will likely be the same, there is less planning with ephemeral content. You’re not going to spend a lot of time setting up the perfect shot. This content has more rawness and you’re focused on creating and getting people to consume it.

Why Bother With Ephemeral Content?

Knowing why this content is popular is fine, but it doesn’t push you to want to use it. Not only that but if you want to leverage it, you need to know what ephemeral content brings to the table. Here is what it can do for your brand:

  • It can make it more authentic. Again authenticity matters to businesses today. They’re no longer distant but have personality and are working to gan trust. Where ephemeral content comes in to help is that it provides opportunities to humanize brands. Stories themselves push for raw content.That’s not to say that Stories aren’t strategic, but they have less strategy and focus on that consumption element.
  • You also get more engagement. The authenticity lets your brand build genuine and personal relationships with your followers. Pair that up with increasing functionality that instagram brings in, users have more reasons to engage with brands Stories.
  • You also have a wider reach. Stories are automatically at the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds at all times. This will boost visibility. Not only that but compare your posts with the following experiment: Have one post where you use a big brands product and tag them in Stories and another where you don’t do that.If you do that, I bet the brand tagged post will get more views than your typical numbers.
  • Higher volume of content is another reason too. Ephemeral content is brief and as a result it demands you to create new content or re-purpose existing ones. This high content volume allows you to reinforce messaging and to stay in peoples minds. You can also streamline content creation and distribution through ephemeral content too.
  • More conversion. According to an infographic, 25% of those who view a Story swipe up to follow a link plus engage with a brand’s website. This is why a lot of brands normally link to their online store.

All of this sounds great right? More traffic, higher engagement, more reach, and a means of connecting your brand to your followers. What’s not to love? The real question though is how can we leverage this?

How You Can Leverage Ephemeral Content

How you can leverage this content boils down to 6 strategies. Put these strategies into action, and I believe you’ll be able to reap these benefits and more.

Get Your Audience’s Attention

That’s the point of marketing and all that I know, but it’s still worth bringing up. Remember, our attention spans are short and they’re not getting any better. So you’re going to need to do something to catch people’s attention fast.

Some strategies to consider in finer detail is make the video you’re providing fast-paced. You want to be putting together flashy clips followed by brief scenes. If you want to do less pre-production stuff, consider a simple format.

Put down an image and a call to action. Look at Maille who put WIN in big letters. People love to win stuff and so it worked.

Always Have A Story

They’re called Stories for a reason so make sure you are telling one. If you’re not creating a contest, you can focus on creating a series of Stories. Those Stories can go on to tell a story with one that has a call to action at the end.

You also want to incorporate the other elements of stories too. Remember to stir emotions and get people to experience strong emotions. This makes them more likely to engage with your content.

The key is to leave impressions people can remember, even if that content is only there for a little bit.

Humanize The Brand

Stories provide an avenue for you to make your brand more human and therefore relatable. When you give your audience an inside look at your business (like at a party, meetings, etc.) you are giving your brand personality.

Give Specific Actions

When doing call to actions, you want to make sure you’re providing specific instructions. As you might’ve noticed with Maille above, their campaign was specific in what you needed to do to win.

Other brands have done the same thing. You can look at hopper who encourages their audience the same way. Whatever it is that you’re getting people to do, make sure you tell them in there.

And of course, you want to make it compelling rather than telling them outright. Like the other brands I’ve mentioned, they provide reasons. Winning free coffee for a year. Getting a big discount off of your next flight. Pretty good reasons to take those offers if you love travelling or a coffee fan.

Let Others Take Over

Letting influencers take over your Stories is one other way to expand your reach. But make sure that the influencer is someone who complements your niche. If you provide pet food, make sure you’re working with an influencer who is a vet or provides a wide array of pet supplies.

That being said, you don’t always have to go with similar influencers. Look at GE who had a contest winner take over their Instagram account.

Still Be Consistent

Because there is such a huge push for Stories, not all Stories are going to be superb. Some will do amazing while others will flop. The only way you’re going to know how effective each one is is by getting out there and creating.

Stories Are The Next Step

Ephemeral content is slowly taking over most social media platforms these days. It’s becoming the preferred medium among consumers so now is the perfect time to get in there. While this content has been out there for a while, this is how most people are consuming their content.

So if your Stories aren’t doing too great, don’t give up. Instead, continue to experiment and create your own Stories. Turn to other brands and see what they are doing too. This is where social media is going. The sooner you learn how to use ephemeral content to your advantage the better.