Creating transient content may seem like a poor use of resources, but Snapchat’s introduction of stories has really resonated on social media.
This feature lets users share photos with their friends as part of their story for just 24 hours, allowing them to share their current experiences—such as an evening out, a holiday or a day trip—without leaving a permanent online footprint. You could of course delete shared photos manually, but few people go to such lengths.
Users are clearly more eager to consume content when they know it is ephemeral – i.e., it won’t be around forever – and the popularity of Snapchat‘s original feature has led to Facebook and Instagram implementing their own versions. The important task for content marketing is how to best use ephemeral content as part of a content marketing strategy.
You will still, of course, need your website news feed, how-tos, informative articles and other evergreen content for your persistent online presence, but ephemeral content offers a new way to spice things up for consumers.
When should you use ephemeral content?
People often say you can have too much of a good thing, and ephemeral content is no exception. Ephemeral content is special because it’s by nature limited in an online world of seemingly limitless content, but overdoing it will negate this benefit, so posting sparingly at the most popular times will generally yield the best results.
Of course, the form your ephemeral content takes will require some creativity on your part, because it will need to intrigue people. A time-limited promotion or snap competition might be a viable option for some brands, but you could also stretch to behind-the-scenes reports, question-and-answer sessions with your customers or sneak previews of upcoming products.
Once you’ve discovered what your audience wants most, a light-hearted, maybe even humorous, approach can help humanize your brand and endear it to people, building valuable trust in the process.