Did you know that as of late 2017, Instagram Stories had more than 300 million daily active users?
The way that your customers get their news or information is changing, and unless your content can get their attention quickly, they'll tune out and move on.
How can you do that?
Ephemeral content is a quick way to capture your audience's attention, giving them something they must either view now or never see. The fleeting nature of ephemeral content gives us a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) so that we just have to see the content, whatever it is, or never know what we're missing.
Read on to learn how to get started with ephemeral content and some ways that you can use it to start marketing your business today!
What is Ephemeral Content?
Ephemeral content is any non-permanent photo or video content that a user can upload to a dedicated, "ephemeral content only" news feed that disappears after 24 hours.
As of now, there are three social media platforms that allow users to create such content: Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories and Facebook Stories.
Snapchat was the pioneer for ephemeral content, creating a messaging platform that gets rid of messages as soon as your recipient views the message, and of course, Snapchat Stories.
But, eventually, both Instagram and Facebook got in on the ephemeral content trend too.
All three work relatively the same way and allow users to share a temporary photo or video to their followers' Stories feed (or, row), with the option to add text or a filter or camera effect to their post.
Should Your Business Use Ephemeral Content?
If most of your followers are Millennials, Gen X or older, ephemeral content probably isn't the best way to reach them. However, consumers of the new generation, Generation Z, are coming of age and they love ephemeral content.
And, since Gen-Zers command $44 billion in buying power and they have an average attention span of eight seconds, it's crucial to your business's success to prioritize ephemeral content as a part of your digital marketing strategy moving forward.
Which ephemeral content platform is right for your business?
Because of their similarities, it can be confusing to understand which one of the three Stories is the best to use. But, since every business has a unique audience and social media presence for each, this answer can be subjective and depend on your business.
In other words, using Snapchat Stories could work better for you than using Facebook Stories, or vice versa. However, there are some differences that set each apart that you should know before getting started:
- Facebook has the largest audience and can bring many users to your Page
- Snapchat performs the best with Generation Z
- One in five organic Instagram Stories from businesses receive a direct message from followers
Regardless, if you have a strong following on more than one social media platform (or all three), this is a great opportunity to connect with many of your followers and you shouldn't limit yourself to using only one.
How to Get Started With Ephemeral Content
As we mentioned, uploading ephemeral content to any of these three platforms will be very similar. Unless specified, this walkthrough is assumed for mobile-use and can be applied to Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat.
But, before we begin, here's how to add a Story to all three:
Snapchat Stories: When you take a picture or video, you can add it through the "Send To" screen or by clicking on your profile at the top left of your screen.
Facebook Stories: Swipe right anywhere on your newsfeed to access your camera. After adding everything, select "Next," then "Your Story."
Instagram Stories: Select the camera icon at the top left to access your camera. Once finished adding the image or video, tap "Your Story" at the bottom left.
1. Decide what you're going to post.
Before you decide what to share, you need to think about what, exactly you want to share with your customers.
Are you having a sale? Are you announcing a new product? And, will you be posting a video or image?
Start by deciding what your customers would love to see. Here are some suggestions of what to post:
- A shortened commercial/ad
- Any updates (such as holiday hours) to your business hours
- Before/after demonstrations of your services
- New products (for instance, new shirts if you're a clothing company)
- Before/after images of services (for instance, salon services, roofing repairs, etc.)
2. Make sure your content is attention-grabbing.
This will be your most important step. You can share ephemeral content (or any content, for that matter) with your viewers at any time, but what good is your content if it can't grasp and hold your customers' attention?
You want your content to be beneficial and entertaining to your customers. Sure, you'll want to keep everything professional (we'll get into that later), but don't be afraid to have fun with your posts.
One of the ways that you can do so is by adding emojis or stickers to your Stories by selecting the square box with a smiley at the top of your Facebook or Instagram Story post, or by selecting the box icon at the top right of your Snapchat image.
For example, suppose you own an ice cream parlor and you have to decide between two ideas for your newest flavor. Well, you can add an interactive poll sticker to Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories to figure out which will sell better with your customers.
Using extra options such as Polls is not only fun for your customers, but they can also provide helpful information for you!
And, don't forget to make your posts easy to view and short. That means using only high-quality images with readable text, and video content that is short with a clear call-to-action.
3. Tag your store's location frequently in your Stories.
With Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories, you can add your store's location to your posts through geotags or hashtags. These tags are great ways for customers to both find your business and share your location with other potential customers.
To add a geotag of your business on either social media platform, you'll have to create a new location of your business on Facebook first.
Before you add to your Story on mobile, tap or click on the box at the top with a smiley face. A menu will appear with a rectangle that says "Location" that shows a list of your nearest locations to choose from.
After you select your store, a new rectangular sticker will appear with your store's name over your photo or video which you can move or resize.
Snapchat Stories, on the other hand, are much different when it comes to locations. Instead of location stickers, Snapchat uses geofilters which serve as an overlay graphic that you place over your image or video with your location or store name.
Businesses must first submit a request for a business geofilter for their store. Once it's approved, before you add to your Story, you'll be able to swipe across your image or video to find and add your geofilter to your post.
4. Keep your content professional.
As we mentioned, ephemeral content is meant to be fun and your posts should get your followers talking about your brand.
But, you must remember that you're representing your business online and it's very important that you don't post anything that could turn customers away. Stay away from posting anything that's inappropriate, controversial or could make your followers uncomfortable.
Lastly, if you're sharing any live video to your Story, make sure anybody being filmed is aware that they're being recorded. You don't want to have anybody caught off guard and possibly say anything you wouldn't want your customers to hear.
You are now ready to get started with ephemeral content. Start sharing your store's latest updates today and see the difference it can make in your business's engagement!