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How Ephemeral Content Can Boost Your Brand’s Value

Why do bloggers, content specialists, online marketers, and entrepreneurs rely on ephemeral content to boost their brand?

Do you really need it? How does it work? And what are the benefits of using ephemeral content?

More importantly: What is ephemeral content anyway?

In this post, we’ll answer all these questions and more as we discuss the wonders that ephemeral content can do for you.

If you’re looking to increase your reach and interact more with your core demographic, you’d want to pay close attention. Ephemeral content could be the online marketing strategy that brings more eyes to your brand or company.

What Is Ephemeral Content?

You can’t fault people for thinking that ephemeral content is a complicated topic. The name alone is enough to intimidate those who haven’t encountered it before.

However:

Not only do you likely know what it is, but you might even use it on a daily basis.

Ephemeral content refers to social media posts—usually in the form of photos or videos—that disappear after a set period of time.

And if that rings a bell, that’s because the biggest social media platforms constantly encourage you to use their ephemeral content features.

On Facebook, you might know this as Facebook Stories. On Instagram, users refer to it as Instagram Stories. And who could forget the company that popularized ephemeral content — Snapchat.

ephemeral content - 1 what is ephemeral - snapchat

One of the reasons why ephemeral content is so popular is because it’s so easy to use. On Facebook, for example, you can publish a story right from your FB feed.

Click on any of the Stories at the top of your News Feed. Click Add to Your Story.

ephemeral content - 1 what is ephemeral - add to story

On the next page, select whether you want to add a photo or a text story.

ephemeral content - 1 what is ephemeral - select photo ot text

If you choose to add a photo, you’ll have to select an image source. But if you want to add a text story, you’re prompted to type the text you want to post.

Once you’re done, Facebook will add the post to your Stories.

Other social media platforms work almost the same way with minor differences here and there.

Benefits of Ephemeral Content

We already mentioned how easy it is to publish ephemeral content. But that’s not the only reason why ordinary people love using it.

Ephemeral content feels more raw and intimate. Unlike regular posts, you don’t think too hard about the FB of IG Stories you post. More often than not, ephemeral posts are spontaneous and the emotions shown by users are genuine.

But what about businesses and content creators? What are some of the reasons why they like using ephemeral content to push their branding?

Let’s go over the perks of using ephemeral content for branding.

It Extends the Reach of Your Audience

Ephemeral content has two main objectives. First, it produces a response from the audience. Second, it opens the door to user engagement.

This combination is exactly what brands need to extend the reach of their audience.

Consider this: Some people choose to interact with Stories and spend little time going through their feed.

Why?

That’s because IG or FB Stories are easier to consume.

Then there’s the fact that Stories expire after a set period of time. People can always go through their News Feed and find posts they may have missed. That’s not the case with Stories. That’s why people tend to click on Stories as soon as they’re available.

Research by Buffer shows steady growth for the Stories format. And there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

ephemeral content - 2 why people love ephemeral - buffer

To recap: Ephemeral content taps another segment of users that prefer (or prioritize) the “story” format over the regular post feed. Therefore, you could reach a whole new audience to promote your brand.

Banana Republic is a brand that uses Instagram Stories to connect with people. Not only are its stories engaging, but they are also filled with information that educates its consumers.

ephemeral content - 2 why people love ephemeral - banana republic

These Stories are different from the company’s IG posts which showcase their huge line of clothes and accessories.

So you can say that Banana Republic uses two methods to connect with its audience. It uses regular posts to promote its products and ephemeral content to deliver posts that add more value for its subscribers.

1. It Boosts Brand Loyalty

It’s important for brands to inspire loyalty. If not, customers would find little reason to come back and support your company, blog, or website.

How do you inspire loyalty?

  • By making users feel like a part of the brand
  • By helping users understand the value of your product, service, and other offerings
  • By giving the reasons to celebrate your brand

Ephemeral content is a great way of boosting brand loyalty.

You can use photos and videos to show what you’re up to as a company without disrupting the natural flow of your News Feed.

And because they expire after a couple of hours, users are more inclined to view them as soon as you post them.

Most companies use ephemeral content to introduce the people behind the brand. They also use it to tease upcoming projects and products. Those who are smart would also use ephemeral content to feature their most loyal customers.

Take the case of The Bouqs Company, an online flower subscription service provider. They have stories that feature a behind-the-scenes look at its operations.

ephemeral content - 2 why people love ephemeral - bouqs

By showing people how the company sources and prepares its flowers for delivery, users can take pride in the products that they receive.

This is totally different from their normal posts that tend to feature quotes and beautiful product shots.

ephemeral content - 2 why people love ephemeral - bouqs feed

In essence, The Bouqs Company uses ephemeral content as an extension of its main feed. You could do the same for your growing brand.

2. It Tells Can’t-Miss Stories

As explained earlier, there is a sense of urgency when you publish ephemeral content. And this causes people to click on a story as soon as they’re able to.

And because they’re easy to consume, people tend to watch all stories in one sitting. You can’t say the same for your average posts.

That’s why you want to take advantage of ephemeral content to deliver those big announcements.

ephemeral content - 2 why people love ephemeral - soul cycle

Soul Cycle uses IG Stories to announce class schedules, discounts, safety updates, and pricing information. These are important updates that could get lost if they solely relied on its Instagram feed for dissemination.

Then there are companies like Adidas who create stories specifically for those who want to catch up on the latest news about the company and its ongoing programs.

ephemeral content - 2 why people love ephemeral - adidas

Consolidating all these posts in one story is a great way for people to hear the latest news about a brand they support.

How you implement your ephemeral content strategy is completely up to you. Be as creative as possible and make sure all your posts engage with your audience in a positive way.

And if you’re struggling to think of ways of implementing your ephemeral content strategy, keep on reading. We have a few tips for you later in this post.

The Downsides of Ephemeral Content

Unfortunately, ephemeral content isn’t for everyone. There are downsides to using ephemeral content. Some content is not suited for FB, IG, or Snapchat Stories.

Again, ephemeral content doesn’t stay up forever. It will disappear after some time. So if your content is something you want to stay up for a while, this is not the place to do it.

Some types of content are more suited to Stories than others. For ephemeral content to work, you’d want to post something that tells a story and not just a random collection of photos and videos. There’s a reason why it’s called Instagram and Facebook Stories — with an emphasis on “stories”.

For companies, ephemeral content requires them to set aside resources and draft a long-term strategy. While personal stories are usually unedited, brands would want to have their content edited to look more professional.

And perhaps the biggest pitfall to using ephemeral content, you must remember that these types of posts are not meant to last in more ways than one. Not only don’t they stay up for long, but users also seem to forget them after viewing.

These are just some of the things you need to wrestle with when using ephemeral content.

However, it’s important to point out that this shouldn’t discourage you from using ephemeral content at all. Rather, this is just a simple reminder that you should use the right kind of posts when doing so. It’s also crucial that you have a strategy in mind before you proceed to get the optimal results.

How to create good ephemeral content

There are a few steps you could take to make sure that your posts have the highest chance of connecting with your target audience.

Let’s take a look at what these are and how you could implement them.

1. Be Engaging

How do you become engaging? It’s simple: Your stories should be complete. That means having a starting point, a middle section, and a satisfying ending.

If you’re taking your audience through your day-to-day activity, begin your story with what happens first thing in the morning and work your way through the end. Stories must have a payoff just before (or right at) the conclusion.

Another way of going about it is by featuring your customers. By including your audience, you’re giving them a reason to check out your Stories periodically.

ephemeral content - 3 tips - chick fil a

Chick-Fil-A does a tremendous job of incorporating its community with its ephemeral content campaign.

2. Explore Different Types of Content

Don’t be afraid to offer different types of ephemeral content. There’s more than one way to engage your audience.

We already talked about showing sales and discounts. You also saw examples of behind-the-scenes posts. But you can also do other types such as instructional videos, shots of products in action, announcements, demos, tips, and more.

ephemeral content - 3 tips - intel

Intel’s Stories, for example, show off their product’s features. There are even stories dedicated to companies they’ve built relationships with. Clicking on each Story will provide information you wouldn’t get in their regular posts.

3. Add a Call to Action

You can add Stories that have a call to action so you can improve your click-through rate.

Take the case of Forever 21. As users browse the company’s IG Stories, they can swipe up to find the item they’re looking at in the Forever 21 online store.

ephemeral content - 3 tips - forever 21

Swiping on the example above redirects users to this page.

ephemeral content - 3 tips - forever 21 shop

This allows them to discover new products that users may not have noticed in previous posts.

Of course, you can use CTAs for other purposes depending on your needs.

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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