Ephemeral Marketing, What it is and Why Your Brand Needs it

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If the words Snapchat or Insta Stories remind you only of fun online trends that kids are into these days, then it’s time to pivot and keep up with the times.

These services are the perfect platform for ephemeral content marketing which turned out to be among the biggest content marketing and social media trends last year.

As the name suggests, ephemeral content is content that doesn’t last, content that has a very short lifespan.

It was started by Snapchat, which allowed users to post an image or video content that disappears in mere seconds or as long as 24 hours.

The strategy was quickly incorporated by Instagram and Facebook as well, becoming one of the most popular forms of expression on social media. These short-lived posts were initially popular mainly among young people, who saw them as a breath of fresh air from the digital footprint of permanent posts.

But ephemeral content quickly became a creative and versatile content marketing strategy for businesses. Here’s why:

What makes ephemeral content so effective?

Ephemeral content marketing goes against the principles of traditional marketing, which say that content has to last.

According to the traditional mindset, a content marketing campaign based on Instagram stories and Snaps that go away within 24 hours may sound like a recipe for disaster, but in the modern online world, it’s completely the opposite.

Disappearing posts are extremely popular among millennials, who choose it as their preferred way of expression. Not only do they reign supreme in terms of communicating with friends and family, but also in terms of brand interaction.

According to some research, millennials distrust traditional marketing, are less likely to click on ads and prefer more authentic content. What’s more, the short-lived nature of ephemeral posts, which would normally be interpreted as a weakness, becomes a strength thanks to the FOMO factor – fear of missing out.

Because followers know that the post will disappear shortly, they’re all the more interested to watch it.

How do big brands use ephemeral marketing?

In spite of their short lifespans, ephemeral posts can be used in many creative ways.

Let’s take a look at how a few big brands use them:

  • MTV and NBA use Snapchat and Instagram stories to post exclusively behind the scenes photos and videos before big events.
  • McDonald's used Snapchat to recruit new team members.
  • Taco Bell announced a new product via Snapchat.
  • BarkBox posted an adorable video of a puppy interview on Instagram Stories to promote their dog supplies subscription service.
  • E! News regularly does celebrity Instagram takeovers where a famous actor or singer posts Instagram stories on their account on the day of a big event (i.e. Mark Ruffalo on the Avengers: Age of Ultron premiere).
  • The World Wildlife Foundation started a touching Snapchat campaign where they posted pictures of endangered animals with the message, “Don’t let this be my #LastSelfie.”

Tips for a successful ephemeral content marketing campaign

A streamlined approach to marketing is required if you are going to succeed in this medium. If you feel that you could benefit from more search marketing training, that would also be a good place to begin.

Learning from the experts and taking advantage of available training is going to help you avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Beyond that, the content creation itself needs to be authentic; it needs to build hype and it needs to be highly relevant ot your target audience.

Be authentic.

The entire charm of a snap or Insta story lies in its authenticity and spontaneous nature, so don’t try to be formal or perfect. Be creative, have fun and be real.

This way, your audience will engage with the human element in your business and connect with you emotionally.

Interact. Use the poll feature in Instagram stories to ask for your customer’s opinion and make their voices heard.

Stay fresh and constant. Don’t post once on Snapchat and then forget about your account. Add fresh content regularly and your followers will feel motivated to check your posts every time.

Build hype.

Use ephemeral posts to build hype before an important event or product launch. This strategy almost always creates buzz and, unlike outdoor “coming soon” billboards, snaps are actually free.

Image via Pixabay CC0 License

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