The Power of Ephemeral Content: 4 Ways to Boost Your Brand Awareness
This message will self-destruct in five seconds!
Or if we’re talking about ephemeral content in 24 hours or less.
The value of these temporary social media posts and stories rests on the same psychological mechanism which lies behind the effectiveness of limited-time offers.
Yes, content still rules big time, but people are practically flooded with tons of different data – 34GB a day, to be more precise. This fact turns your long blog post into a snoozefest, while your carefully crafted sentences melt into long-drawn-out yadda-yadda-yadda paragraphs.
But Snapchat, as well as Instagram and Facebook stories condense your brand message and make it more digestible and appealing to your target audience.
So, what’s the secret of ephemeral content and how can you use it to boost your brand awareness and recognition?
1. You’ve Been Ghosted
With 186 million global Daily Active Users (DAU), Snapchat is one of the most popular social messaging apps. But back in 2011 when it was launched, there were many skeptics who weren’t convinced that disappearing messages could become a serious marketing tool. This feature was mainly appealing to younger audiences. But in time, brands learned that what was initially seen as a drawback, actually held great marketing potential. Facebook and Instagram soon followed Shapchat’s lead and started leveraging ephemeral content through their stories.
When you post a photo or video which will be gone forever after 24 hours, your target audience will be eager to see it because FOMO (Fear of missing out) is real and is a powerful driving force which will boost your engagement rates. By creating a sense of urgency, you’ll get your followers to participate and take action more quickly.
FOMO is additionally amplified by the concept of YOLO – you only live once, and this acronym perfectly reflects today’s fast-paced way of life. Living in the moment is an extremely popular concept, and this is exactly what ephemeral content is all about.
Finally, this here-today-gone-tomorrow tactic gives a sense of exclusivity to your messaging, and it generates a lot of buzz. A perfect example of this strategy is Adele’s teaser for the release of her album “25” back in 2015. A 30-second snippet of her song “Hello” was aired during the commercial break of The X Factor UK. There was no explanation as to what it was all about, and it left the audience in anticipation. Needless to say, this enigmatic promotion caused a real media frenzy and created momentum for the upcoming release.
2. We’re Only Human
Brands can be extremely distant and aloof, which makes it difficult for their customers to connect with them. Polished, unrelatable marketing and messaging are to blame for this. Ads and commercials which show shiny, happy people with perfect make-up and pearly smiles are unrealistic and lead to a certain degree of friction.
Ephemeral content and its raw, unpolished photos showing real people in real situations can give your brand a face and humanize it. Being authentic, genuine, and spontaneous is at the core of effective marketing, and that’s exactly what you can achieve with this temporary content.
There’s no better way to win your audience over and promote your brand in a favorable light than by showing some behind-the-scenes photos and videos of your employees.
2.1 Some Examples
Large corporations can greatly benefit from creating Instagram stories featuring their employees having fun and doing regular, everyday things. It dispels the idea that big brands are faceless and profit-driven machinery.
Katy Perry promoted her album Witness by live-streaming her life over the course of 72 hours. Fans had a chance to see her cooking, having a therapy session, getting a massage, and doing all the stuff regular people do.
NASA also relies on ephemeral content to give their followers a peek behind the curtain. Both the agency itself and their astronauts share interesting stories and unstaged footage from space, thus engaging their followers. Live Q&A sessions are also a great tactic to encourage interaction between a brand and its target audience.
Although it’s true that ephemeral content doesn’t require expensive equipment and editing, its natural and unpretentious feel can’t be achieved without a carefully constructed strategy. That’s why it’s a good idea to consult digital marketing companies specializing in video production and have experts help you create quality videos for your Snapchat or Instagram story.
3. Within Your Reach
A study by Microsoft Corp. has shown that the average attention span dropped from 12 to 8 seconds. And that’s practically all the time you have to capture your customers’ attention. Although the results of this study have been disputed, we can’t deny that the shorter the video is, the more likely it is to be watched.
The ability to convey a message within a minute or two is exactly what makes ephemeral content so attractive and shareable. Also, it doesn’t take much effort to process and digest a short video. That’s why people are more willing to share these with their network.
They possess a certain sense of virality and can spread like wildfire among your followers and their friends, thus expanding your reach.
That already mentioned the fear of missing out combined with our inherent desire to always keep up with the latest trends, makes all of us perfect targets for ephemeral content. People love sharing interesting content with their friends and being the ones that sent them that cool photo or video before it vanished into thin air.
As it only takes a single click to share an Instagram story, brands can count on digital word-of-mouth marketing to boost their awareness and recognition.
4. Don’t Miss a Beat
One of the most important rules when it comes to leveraging ephemeral content for boosting brand awareness is consistency.
The very fact that your content won’t be accessible for a long time means that you have to create and post it regularly. Producing high-quality content on a regular basis can be a daunting task. But given that ephemeral content doesn’t take long to create and doesn’t require any editing, it’s possible to roll out a fresh Instagram story a couple of times a week. This way, it will be easy for you to establish a consistent social media presence and always be on your audience’s radar.
What’s even better, this approach allows you to engage your followers without too much effort while your permanent, more complex content is being produced.
In an attempt to engage their audiences, many brands push their social media posts too frequently and intensively. And they’ll do this even if they’re not aligned with their content strategy. Some permanent posts can stick out like a sore thumb. Needless to say, this can be counterproductive and potentially annoying. However, impermanent stories which vanish within 24 hours give you an opportunity post a video even if you don’t feel that it fits your marketing strategy or brand identity, without fear that it will damage your carefully curated Instagram profile.
Ephemeral content is a true game changer which can catapult your brand from obscurity to popularity.
You may also want to read: How To Use Snapchat For Business and Fun [Infographic]
Nina Ritz is a digital nomad and a blogger. Her main interests are web design and marketing. In her free time, when she’s away from the computer, she likes to do yoga and ride a bike. You can tweet her @NinaDRitz
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