Ephemeral content is any image, video, or text that only appears for a limited amount of time; it’s disposable. This type of social media content is the exact opposite of a website or a blog. Some ephemeral content lasts minutes while others last up to 24 hours.
This content is mostly seen on social media outlets, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. All three of these social media platforms have a feature that allows users to post content, images and videos for a limited amount of time. Snapchat pioneered ephemeral content when they launched in 2011. Users are able to send pictures and videos to friends and choose how long the content is presented. Conversations within the Snapchat app disappear when a user closes out of the app and reopens it. Finally, stories allow users to post pictures and videos that anyone can see, and of course, will be removed after a given time. Stories are what propelled ephemeral content to what it is today.
The Story On Stories
Facebook and Instagram hopped on the ephemeral content later in the game. Both platforms have static information. Users could spend hours scrolling back looking at pictures that were posted weeks, months, or even years ago. Users can still do this, but here’s the introduction to Stories. In addition to a user’s feed, Stories are now available that utilize the ephemeral content. Unlike Snapchat, users cannot set a given amount of time to showcase their content. If an image or video is posted to the Story, it will run for only 24 hours.
Ephemeral Content’s Effect On Business
How has ephemeral content changed the way businesses market themselves? Appropriately named, things like Snapchat and Instagram stories allow businesses to tell their own story in a more captivating way than just print. Brands can document a day-in-the-life by posting videos and images for their user base to follow. It’s also a great way to advertise flash sales and new product launches. These stories exploded because users liked seeing behind their brands, the real deal behind celebrities, products, and businesses. Stories provide an authenticity, allowing their users and fans to see things in real time and uncurated. A 2017 global study found that 86% of consumers say authenticity is key when deciding which brands to like and support.
When following a brand, a user has access to exclusive content like Q&A’s, behind the scenes tours, DIY videos, and so much more. By word of mouth, users will hear what they missed out on and want to check back daily. It’s a fantastic way to boost traffic.
If you’re looking for a way to expand your audience or trying to build a rapport with your customers, consider working with Stories and ephemeral content. The content is more engaging than print and it’s more fun! Brainstorm some ideas of what you’d want to post and what message you want to put out, just remember to be consistent.