Ephemeral content on social media is nothing new, but it is continuously giving way to new ideas while reshaping the way brands communicate with their audiences. It might appear paradoxical at first glance that a brand would incorporate content with a 24-hour lifespan into their social media marketing strategy. Why spend time creating something that’s not there to stay?
That’s because businesses small and large have realized the huge marketing potential that lies in the temporary format of Stories or live videos on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. There’s more than one reason for this, and quite a few things Shopify store owners can learn from large brands regarding ephemeral content creation.
1. Why Does Ephemeral Content Work so Well?
The main reason for this is undeniably the shortened attention span of the consumer. Ephemeral content is easily digestible, requires a minimal attention span and more importantly, it stands out in the deafening noise of permanent posts by perfectly playing on the widespread fear of missing out.
Yes, the FOMO is real on social networks and you’re not alone here. With a 24-hour window to view and engage, a sense of urgency is created – it’s going to disappear, so let’s dive in while it lasts, right? We don’t even give it a thought – we just tap and let the Story unfold. But that’s only a part of why ephemeral content is such a huge success.
Instagram Stories reign supreme among marketers, helping them widen their reach and engage their audiences. Standing in contrast to the overwhelmingly polished and curated nature of permanent social media posts, Stories give brands room for authenticity and building trusting relationships with their followers.
That being said, let’s look at how you can seize the opportunities that ephemeral content offers and use it to help you drive sales.
2. Show Sneak Peeks of New Products and Announce Offers
Whether on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook, Stories and live videos are great for building hype for new product releases and anything else you’ve got cooking.
Without revealing too much detail, you can have your users feel they’re in-the-know when they follow your Stories. Make “work in progress” photos or videos, or simply film yourself to clue them in.
Another great thing about this is that these types of posts help you maintain consistency on social media and stay in your audience’s radar without taking any effort to create, buying you time to structure the time-consuming permanent posts in the meanwhile.
This concept goes beyond sneak peeks, as ephemeral content is ideally used to grab your viewers’ attention to give them updates and announcements about contests, giveaways, special deals and offers – Instagram Stories is really where it’s at.
3. Show How Your Products are Used
Depending on your niche, you can use Stories to create tutorials and give valuable information about how your products are used. This tactic is especially used among skincare and makeup brands, but if your products don’t particularly call for a tutorial, you can still get creative and show them in action.
For example, clothing brands such as Forever 21 create Stories where they put together outfits and inspire viewers to try different combinations. This type of content is useful and engaging for audiences and that’s why it’s especially effective on Instagram, where you can save it to Highlights and categorize it once the 24 hours of glory has passed.
4. Direct Viewers to Your Shopify Store
Before using the power of ephemeral content, you need to cover all of your ecommerce bases, learn what Shopify is and how to optimize it properly. By doing this, you will ensure that the traffic you are getting conversions. There is no point in driving traffic to your store if you see no increase in revenue afterwards.
When showing photos of your products in action, you want to provide viewers with a link to get more information about them and bring them closer to checkout. Use Instagram’s Swipe-up feature on Stories to direct your audience to your Shopify store. So far, this feature has been extremely helpful to store owners (and anyone with a website, for that matter).
But the game has changed with the platform’s introduction of shoppable tags, which were once available only for a few select brands. This feature is widely available now and Shopify store owners can utilize shoppable tags in permanent posts.
Just the same, take a screenshot of your shoppable post once it’s up and upload it to your Story as an announcement.
5. Use Instagram Story Ads
This is the most obvious way to reach your target audiences. Facebook is also testing the option, while the idea of advertising on Snapchat remains off-putting.
Snapchat marketing is a whole other deal and this platform is valuable for showing authenticity and building a relationship with your audience – something that will definitely help grow your brand in the long run. For blatant advertising via Stories, brands turn to Instagram, but you want to be careful here as well.
Paid advertising on social media is a chapter of its own, and marketers integrate it seamlessly with other advanced marketing strategies in order to cultivate a consistent brand identity.
Essentially, your Instagram story ads are not a mere extension of your digital marketing efforts and need to be constructed with thorough research. On their own and without a strong social media presence, they’ll get you nowhere.
6. Show Social Proof
You’ll see brands sharing UGC that showcases or mentions their products all the time. Don’t overlook this – social proof is the best way to earn trust among new followers, nurture your leads, and drive sales. It’s especially important in e-commerce, where it adds more depth and realness to an exclusively online presence.
Always ask permission to feature a user’s post in your Story, tag them and thank them – it’s the polite thing to do and shows you value your audience. You’ll find that people are generally delighted to be featured in a brand’s profile, no matter how small.
Not only are you getting valuable UGC that ultimately helps drive sales, you’re establishing a strong community and encouraging your audience to participate in it actively.
7. Focus on Achieving the Right Balance
Lastly, let’s not forget the golden rule of social media marketing, and Instagram marketing especially: don’t promote all the time. Use ephemeral content to show authenticity and to show your brand’s values.
Talk about something other than your products, engage audiences with humor, ask for their opinions in polls, film yourself at industry-related events (or just plain fun events), clue viewers in on what’s going on behind the scenes.
Get a little personal in your stories every once in a while. When you pair the revenue-driving tactics we’ve talked about with all these other things, you’ll have struck a perfect balance – the balance much needed to grow your brand.
Author: Larry Reed
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