What is ephemeral content?
In simple terms, ephemeral content involves any form of online content, be that an image or video, that disappears within a certain time frame, which would usually be 24 hours. As so many social media users, particularly millennials, are acutely aware that information is constantly being stored online, ephemeral content acts as a response to this need for a change to the ways in which the content they currently consume is presented to them.
Many social media platforms have now implemented ephemeral content, specifically in the form of “Stories”. Snapchat was the first platform to introduce the so-called Story to its users and later Instagram and Facebook brought in the feature. These Stories all last 24 hours and provide users an outlet to post content that happens “in the moment”, almost rejecting the “Throwback Thursday” culture Instagram was originally known for.
We all know how B2C brands can thrive from this form of content marketing. But how can B2B companies actually use this? Compared to traditional video, ephemeral content is much easier and far less expensive to create. This is great news for B2B companies as they don’t require professional assistance when it comes to content creation.
However, you might be thinking: “isn’t Snapchat just a platform exclusively for teenagers?”. Well, with that mindset, you would be completely mistaken. In fact, 55% of Snapchat users are over 24, so B2B marketing can indeed work for ephemeral content; businesses just need to know how to leverage it.
Here are four and a half ways B2B marketers can do just that.
1. Make use of geo-filters:
Snapchat allows businesses and locations to create geo-filters for its users at a very low cost. Instagram also has a similar geo-filter feature, though it is slightly different to Snapchat’s in that it isn’t customizable. Although mainly used for B2C companies to engage their customers, there’s no reason why B2B companies can’t take advantage of this feature as well.
Simply go to Snapchat’s site and follow the simple steps to creating your own geo-filter. Once you have created one, it’s time to figure out where to activate it. The best places for businesses to activate geo-filters are at the events they attend or their own office locations. That way, when potential clients are at an event or visiting your office, they’ll be able to have a tailored and unique experience, engaging them with your social media profile without feeling as though the interactions they are having are too corporate or "salesy".
2. Apply the FOMO effect:
FOMO (fear of missing out) is something many of us experience, particularly on social media. When we know something will disappear after a certain amount of time, we often feel as though we need to view what has been posted immediately as a precautionary measure in order to avoid missing out.
B2B companies can take advantage of the FOMO effect using ephemeral content. By posting on your other social media outlets or emailing potential and existing customers informing them that you are giving away a promotional code to win a prize via Instagram Story, they know that they only have 24 hours to procure it. And it doesn’t have to be promotional content, although this is a great choice for increasing engagement and interactions among your audience. You can also tease them with sneak peaks of upcoming products or features you and your team have been perfecting. Which brings me on to the next tip…
3. Upload exclusive content:
The exclusivity factor of ephemeral content allows you to showcase what you are doing behind the scenes which provides your customers with something they wouldn’t normally get to see. This is particularly useful for B2B companies as it allows them to be vulnerable in front of their customers. While this can be a scary prospect for many B2B companies, as cliché as it sounds, it’s important to remember that your followers are humans. This means that they will appreciate human qualities communicated to them by the businesses they follow on social media. If they see that you are willing to show them what other businesses wouldn’t normally showcase to their audience, trust will be formed between them and your business or brand.
Take some inspiration from B2B companies, such as Cisco and IBM, who have hosted Snapchat “takeovers”, where staff post day-in-the-life style content. This is just one of many ways in which you can show your audience the behind the scenes of your business. Don’t be afraid to show off your hard work too!
4. Keep your brand alive:
Authenticity is important to customers, in both B2B and B2C industries. If you take all of these tips into account and make them unique to your brand, you are on to a winner. Ensuring that what you publish and upload ephemerally is authentic can be challenging, just like any form of content. But try to keep in mind your company’s mission statement and its values when publishing that content in order to maximize your authenticity and brand.
You can be authentic using ephemeral content in many ways. For example, you and your content marketing team can come up with unique ways to encourage viewers to “swipe up” in order to drive traffic to your site. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! A/B test and keep experimenting in order to find out what works best for your overall branding, and more importantly, your audience.
If you don’t have the time or manpower to upload regular ephemeral content, brands and businesses can also include Snap Ads. These are videos of up to ten seconds long that run between content on Snapchat. It means that you can create one ad without having to worry about posting regularly. Instagram also has a similar feature for ads that play in between their users’ posts, which you can read about here.
There are over 10 billion video views a day on Snapchat. Ephemeral content for B2B is worth the small investment and takes significantly less time and resources than professional video. So get creative and start making great ephemeral content for your B2B customers that’ll keep them coming back!
Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel:
“We’re building a photo app that doesn’t conform to unrealistic notions of beauty or perfection but rather creates a space to be funny, honest, or whatever else you might feel like at the moment you take and share a snap.”