Instagram and Snapchat Stories add more value than you might initially suspect to your small business marketing efforts. Not only is it fast and visual, but it hosts a more intimate stream of marketing content. What does it mean for my brand if it’s just going to disappear in 24 hours? What’s the point? Read on and we’ll help you figure it out how to use ephemeral content for your small business.
Social media stories fall into the category of ephemeral content. Ephemeral content has a lifetime of 24 hours. For social media stories, the ephemeral content is not so much just one post, but a collection of pictures and videos. You can sequence numerous videos and photos as parts of it to craft a narrative, story, or collage of things that happened recently.
As soon as the first photo or video is posted to the collection, the clock starts ticking. When it’s time is up, the “story”, or collection of photos and videos, is gone forever. Well, it is gone from public view forever, but before your story expires you can save the content of your own story to your camera roll, just to have or to post later to your regular feed.
Ephemeral content first arrived in the form of Snapchat messaging, with videos and photos that last for just a few seconds after opening. It gained a lot of popularity because of its immediacy and the often whimsical ways people used it. Snapchat’s social ecosystem is mainly home to “local” individuals privately and directly sharing their daily musings.
In 2016 a Snapchat update included a new feature, “Stories,” which allowed users to post short videos and timed photos for their all of their Snapchat friends to see, not just a select few.
Instagram, which allows users to post edited or heavily stylized photos to their profile (feed), introduced their own take on Stories to the scene in response to Snapchat. Instagram Story features were intentionally set up to behave as a substream of content set apart from a normal profile (feed). This way users could engage others and post more often without having to clutter their profile.
The popularity of these features has dramatically altered the way in which audiences interact with businesses online. Stories opened the door so that you can share pictures or videos of your office workspace, your brewery, promotions your business is running, or the setup for an upcoming event, per instance–all this to boost audience engagement and build a stronger reputation. Small business out there today do not want to ignore the benefits of the social media story phenomenon.
The time-limited content of social media stories can be utilized in an array of effective ways for marketing on social media (with video especially). For brands online, stories offer value beyond “this is why to like us.” Read on to learn more about the benefits of social media stories and ephemeral content.
In addition to the story itself being short-lived, the individual pictures and videos within each story are also fleeting. When viewing a user’s Instagram Story, the pictures only show for a few seconds each, and videos are limited to 20 seconds.
The idea is to provide more digestible content. There is no limit on the number of photos or videos you can post to any given story, but the content cycles through quickly. This gives your audience members the ability to consume your story sequence without having to scroll through their or your feed and filter through a mixed assortment of posts, and without having to tap or swipe through an album. This fast-paced imagery this affords your followers a more seamless experience of your content, and a more efficient way of familiarizing with your business.
Small businesses can use images and videos in stories to get more content in front of the right people. One of the biggest plusses about social media stories is that your engagement with your followers remains unbroken. Since stories are treated as a separate channel from your profile or feed, you can continually share photos and videos with your followers throughout the day without clogging up your profile or news feed.
Although they keep certain content out of your profile, stories are not likely to distract users from your profile. Your story appears at the top of your followers’ newsfeeds, and the greater visibility can help attract more traffic to your Instagram profile.
Audiences expect transparency from brands on social media today. As you build your reputation, your business is expected to reflect its perception. Giving audiences more visibility into your company’s culture via social media stories helps garner trust and intimacy with them.
People on social media today want to feel like they are a part of the whole. Give them what they want to see with stories and share videos of what goes on inside of your business.
Instagram stories are the perfect way to show off the folks who work behind the scenes and make the magic happens in your business or share a live event.
What is more effective than video? Yet what content is more difficult to produce than video? Social media stories take the stress out of video marketing for small business. As long as you have a smartphone, you can easily post videos to your story.
Make it silly, make it a make it serious — whatever you do make it creative and don’t stress. It’s going to be gone in just 24 hours. Such a short life cycle allows you to experiment with it and track your failure or success. Watch other people’s stories and try new things.
While Instagram advertising is highly effective, it does cost money. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, do not require much to produce. They are meant to be a source of real and raw content for viewers, so there is no real need to worry about super impressive editing and quality. The idea is to show that your business has nothing to hide, that it’s fun, off the cuff, and different from the rest of the bunch.
While evergreen content has its benefits, relevant but short-lived content is not to be ignored. Audiences are impulsive and immediate. Social media content enables its users to be in on the latest conversations that are important to them. The ephemeral nature of stories allows you to get trending information and important updates out immediately, without attaching it to your brand’s feed or profile permanently. Stories allow you to separate your real-time content with your evergreen content, so they don’t interfere with each other’s consumption. Consider testing this out to see what it means for your business’ reputations and content stream.
Social media stories are a great way to announce special promotions, sales, or giveaways at your business. Flash sales and one-day-only specials are meant for ephemeral messaging marketing! Users don’t want to miss out on a sale before it disappears, so they will check your story frequently. They also know that the opportunity is missed once the story resets, so it encourages more immediate participation.
In addition, when you advertise promotions this way, your audience members don’t know how many views the post has or how many people have entered, which creates more intrigue and excitement. Not only is this a good way to increase your engagement on social media, but it also gets people right to your website (as long as the contest entry is there).
Ephemeral content is an up and coming, unique way to show your target audience what you and your business are all about. Let them see more of you, the real you, and enjoy the freedom you have to be more creative and casual.