The B2B Marketer’s Guide to Ephemeral Content

ephemeral contentThe social media landscape is constantly in a state of change—and although it can be difficult to keep up at times, modern marketers must make an effort to do so. Consider these statistics (source):

  • The average consumer spends over two hours on social media a day.
  • 67% of all Americans report getting their news from social media.
  • 81% of the US population has at least one social media profile.

These numbers indicate one thing— your prospects and customers regularly turn to social media to consume content. Therefore, if your content marketing strategy doesn’t mirror the evolution of social media, you risk a slow and steady decline in your social media reach and engagement.

Today we take a look at ephemeral content and the impact it’s had on B2B content marketing and social media.

What is ephemeral content?

The word ephemeral means short-lived or temporary—so, as you can guess, ephemeral content refers to visual content that disappears after a short period of time, typically 24 hours. Ephemeral content has become widely popular in recent years thanks to Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Stories.

Though ephemeral content has only been around for a few years, it’s far and away the fastest-growing form of social content. Snapchat’s audience has grown to over 300 million active users (source)—and the app was so successful that Instagram quickly decided to add its own ephemeral content feature.

What are the benefits of ephemeral content?

Despite the immense popularity of ephemeral content, many B2B marketers were hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. After all, why spend time planning and creating content only for it to disappear a day later?

But, we urge you to set aside your concerns about ephemeral content. Temporary videos and images offer a unique set of advantages that no other content types can replicate. Here are just a few examples:

1.     Reach a larger audience.

Ephemeral content isn’t just a trend—it’s quickly become one of the most popular ways to consume content online. In fact, in just one year, Instagram Stories acquired 250 million daily active users (source).

Marketers who leverage Instagram, Snapchat, and other forms of ephemeral content, can increase brand visibility and quickly expand their reach to new audiences. And, ephemeral content is particularly popular with younger generations, who B2B marketers often struggle to reach with traditional content initiatives.

2.     Boost immediate engagement.

Ephemeral content is effective because it takes advantage of the phenomenon known as FOMO (fear of missing out). In other words—because users known a piece of content will soon disappear, they’re likely to engage with it so they don’t miss out on something interesting.

Think about it this way—your followers can check out a blog post or an infographic whenever they get around to it. Often this means a reader forgets to go back and do so. But, because ephemeral content is often quick and easy to digest, your audience is more likely to engage with it when it appears in their feed.

In our fast-paced, digital world, quick content reigns supreme. As a result, ephemeral content garners more engagement, simply because people believe it won’t take as long to consume and it appears right alongside the other content they plan to consume.

Ephemeral content boosts engagement because it’s innately engaging— your audience must choose to engage with it in order to consume it.

3.     Increase content efficiency.

Ephemeral content consists of brief snapshots or short clips. These typically take less time to create than traditional content formats. Of course, you’ll still need to a develop a clear strategy and vision for your ephemeral content—but once you do so, you’ll be able to distribute a high volume of content over a short period of time.

And, because ephemeral content eventually vanishes, you don’t have to worry about overcrowding your social media feeds and distracting from your other content. It’s almost impossible to “overdo” ephemeral content.

5 Tips to Incorporate Ephemeral Content Into Your Marketing Strategy

Now that you understand the benefits of ephemeral content, let’s take a look at the different ways in which you can use ephemeral content to bolster your overall marketing strategy.

1.     Humanize your brand.

Because B2B products often lack the excitement of most B2C products, B2B marketers often struggle to appeal to their audience’s emotions. Yet, brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact as marketers who only sell business value (source).

Ephemeral content—because it’s often created and viewed on a cell phone—is innately appealing and personal. Let’s look at some examples of ephemeral content B2B marketers can use to humanize their B2B brand:

  • An office tour
  • Employee interviews
  • Special event promotion/coverage
  • Company outings
  • Company news

Using your preferred social media platform, you can use ephemeral content to humanize your brand and help your audience put a face to a name so to speak.

2.     Leverage user-generated content.

User-generated content (UGC)—or content created by prospects, customers, and followers—has proven to be a massively effective tactic. Fortunately, platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are a great outlet for UGC. Try one of these ideas to get started:

  • An interactive Q&A with your followers.
  • Repost stories, photos, or videos that feature your brand and products.
  • Incorporate testimonials, customer quotes, or customer interviews.

For more on the benefits of user-generated content, check out the following blog post: The Marketer’s Guide to User-Generated Content.

3.     Use Instagram stickers to interact with your audience.

Platforms that specialize in ephemeral content continue to add features that go beyond simply sharing quick photos or videos. For example, you can include a clickable “stickers” in an Instagram Story that viewers can interact with.

There are several types of stickers you can leverage to boost engagement. Include a poll within your Story to have your audience vote on a specific topic. Or, hold a live Q&A session by using the “Questions” sticker and allow your followers to ask you anything throughout the day. In addition to this functionality, you can also tag your location, different user handles, and even hashtags.

Don’t be afraid to get creative!

4.     Include a call-to-action.

Ephemeral content might only exist within certain platforms for a limited period of time—but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to drive traffic back to your website.

Both Snapchat and Instagram Stories allow you to include a link back to more content. Use this feature strategically, and your ephemeral content can generate a large amount of web traffic.

Let’s look at an example: You can share a sneak preview of a new product on your Instagram Story and allow viewers to “swipe up” to learn more. Your uninterested followers will simply click on to the next Story—while interested prospects will swipe up to your product page and ideally request a free trial of the product.

5.     Repurpose old content.

Believe it or not, ephemeral content doesn’t have to be created from scratch. With a few edits and tweaks, you can repurpose other content types like blog posts or infographics to fit the format of a Snapchat or Instagram Story. Not only will you get more out of your content—you’ll be able to utilize these platforms’ unique features to add an extra level of engagement.

For example—create an Instagram Story that sums up the most important points from a recent blog post. Add relevant visuals to make the content appealing and engaging. And, following up on our last point, you can include a link to the full blog post at the end of your Story.

Final Thoughts about Ephemeral Content

The popularity of ephemeral content is difficult to ignore. To engage with and expand your audience, you must meet your prospects on the platforms they’re regularly using. And, today, that means embracing ephemeral content.

We’ll leave you with one final word of advice: Ephemeral content is relatively low-risk due to its short time-frame—so experiment! Test your most creative ideas and don’t worry if one falls flat or fails to engage your audience. Eventually, you’ll discover the types of content your audience responds best to. And, soon ephemeral content will be an integral part of your overall content marketing strategy.

Contact ZoomInfo today to learn more about our B2B database and suite of marketing solutions.