It seems like it was only yesterday when Facebook was just a vague platform designed by a young visionary, or when hundreds of artists still used Hi5 and Myspace to gain recognition.
Times sure have changed. Today we enjoy a wide variety of social media options such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube that have similar features but, at the same time, are different in essence. Each one of them adapts to the tastes and particularities of millions of users around the world, and have used social media to create a globalized world, where information can be exchanged immediately, in a matter of seconds.
One of the great advantages of social media is the simplicity and speed with which information can be exchanged, whether it’s a video, a photograph, or a blog post.
Each company can adapt a platform for the particularities of its clientele. At the onset of social media, we only had the option of creating a low-quality photo album or short videos to share with others. Now it is different, and, as users of social media options such as Instagram or Facebook, we can publish any amount of photos and videos in photos to our feeds, or in a space that has gradually gained ground, to position itself as the users’ favorite: “stories”.
Stories are a type of ephemeral content where users can share a photo or video that is available for the enjoyment of other users for a limited time, usually no more than 24 hours.
Why do users like it so much? Because, unlike the posts in a feed or a photo album, the sense of temporality of pictures or videos posted to stories motivates them to share more informal content more often. It requires less work and curation and there is much less pressure to produce perfect content when it will be gone a day later.
Snapchat was the first social media app to create 24-hour stories that have gained the popularity they enjoy today. Born in 2011, many digital marketing experts predicted its rapid disappearance. “Which user may like ephemeral content? None!” They concluded. But they were all wrong. Today, after eight years of continuous activity, Snapchat enjoys 200 million active users every day.
Users didn’t have to wait long until other social media companies began to offer the possibility of sharing stories that only last 24 hours. Among the social media options that offer the possibility of sharing ephemeral content, the following stand out:
Of all the options, Instagram has positioned itself as the most popular of all as a means of sharing ephemeral content. Today, Instagram stories are currently the most popular and widely used function of the app and users use Instagram Stories much more frequently than its counterparts, WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube.
Instagram stories have become a fun and innovative way to share information and interact with followers around the world.
Every day, hundreds of entrepreneurs and companies around the world use this resource, more than any other, to bring their brands closer to each person who decides to devote a little part of their time to visualize what the company has to offer.
If you follow big companies like Nike (@Nike), giant of the footwear and sportswear industry with more than 90 million followers on Instagram, you will see how it uses stories to share short messages from the athletes and company sponsors. They also share special offers for social media users, announce new releases, and share user-generated content.
It has been proven that the greater the feeling of closeness between a client and a brand, the greater the level of loyalty of the person to the brand, and the higher the level of consumption of the products and services sold by the company.
It is estimated that the phenomenon of stories and ephemeral content, contrary to losing relevance, will prevail as the number one resource in social media during 2020. Knowing that this medium will be the main means of communication of millions of people around the world, companies and entrepreneurs who aspire to get new customers, increase their income, and interact with thousands of users, need to create a strategy and social media marketing plan that allows them to take full advantage of this resource.
For a serious and responsible brand, the informality of stories and ephemeral content cannot serve as an excuse to share mediocre content that doesn’t have any professional attention and effort.
If your company has made use of ephemeral content in the past, we recommend looking over what’s worked well in the past and from there adapting them to create a new game plan that helps to achieve your brand’s goals.
The fascinating world of social media never ceases to amaze experts and users. More than a simple option, Instagram stories are today one of the main sources of interaction that humans use to communicate, share, and interact. It is up to each person to use the ephemeral content in the way they like the most, and for companies and entrepreneurs to understand its wide range of benefits as part of a digital marketing strategy.
Erik J. Olson is the Founder & CEO of Array Digital—a marketing agency that enables its clients to achieve their dreams, fulfill their missions, and impact more lives with their services.