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What Is Ephemeral Content?

ephemeral: (noun) something that lasts a very short time

Short-lived content isn’t worth it in the big picture of social media marketing, right? Wrong!

We’re here to highlight the importance of ephemeral content. Yes, we’re talking about content that doesn’t last for very long—maybe 24 hours tops. This kind of content can still have a major impact. Ephemeral content is considered everything from Snapchat to Instagram stories to TikTok lives—the stuff that one might miss if they’re not following and engaging with your brand on the regular. And that’s the whole point of ephemeral content…to elicit FOMO (fear of missing out) and to reward your loyal audience with exclusive, transient content that others might not get to see.

According to LinkedIn, ephemeral content cultivates a sense of “urgency and exclusivity.” Your audience “ know[s] that they have to act fast or they will miss out on something valuable or interesting. This can increase engagement, loyalty, and trust with your brand.” Whether you’re dropping deals, teasing new product launches, or showing personal behind-the-scenes videos, ephemeral content humanizes your brand and puts pressure on your audience to “be in the know.”

Ephemeral content can allow you to share ‘in the moment’ or ‘behind-the-scenes’ content that you might not want posted on your static feed for one reason or another. In a sense, ephemeral content gives you more freedom to explore ideas ‘beyond the grid’ and share the more human side of your brand.

What Does It Look Like? What Does It Do?

Here are some examples of ephemeral content:

  • An Instagram story showing “A Day in the Life” of your brand’s founder, another employee, or an intern.

  • A TikTok, Facebook, or Instagram Live video showcasing new products and how to use them in real-time.

  • A Snapchat series of a BTS (behind-the-scenes) look at how your products are made or what a typical service looks like.

In conjunction with creating ephemeral content, a brand can also look at the ephemeral content that their audience and other brands are producing. By utilizing social listening (following branded hashtags, tags, and conversations), you can learn about your audience, better cater your products and marketing to your consumers, and find UGC (user-generated content) to promote your brand.

Ephemeral content can do 3 major things (keyword: can):

  1. Increase engagement—Ephemeral content feels more personal and authentic than stuff that might appear on your grid, making viewers more likely to interact with what you’re sharing

  2. Expand reach—Sharing ephemeral content is a way to go viral fast and to pick up a host of new followers (and potential customers!).

  3. Boost sales—Time-sensitive promotions can be a great push to get customers to take the leap and make a purchase.

The key is to implement strategy into your ephemeral content—just as you would for any other component of social media marketing. Don’t write off its impact or post trivial or unplanned content. It’s time to view ephemeral content as another powerful segment of your digital plan.

5 Tips for Ephemeral Content

So, how can you make your ephemeral content great?

1. Make it interactive:

Use surveys and Q&As to encourage audience engagement. Pay attention to likes and respond to comments and DMs. Link the ability to “swipe up” or “click to shop” to directly connect viewers to your online store.

2. Have a purpose:

Some ephemeral content can be merely for

entertainment or information, but most should still have a strong CTA (call to action) that drives traffic to your website, encourages viewers to subscribe to your newsletter, or calls on people to participate in a poll or survey.

3. Post regularly:

If you only post once in a blue moon, people won’t care to follow your ephemeral content. But if you’ve always got exciting things to share (BTS, discounts and deals, new product announcements, etc.), people will want to keep checking in to see what you’re up to.

4. Plan ahead:

Just because ephemeral content disappears in a day doesn’t mean you can fly by the seat of your pants. Stories, lives, and snaps should be just as thought-out and strategized as your regular,

static content.

5. Tell a story:

Ephemeral content can often seem disconnected and random. In planning ahead, focus on creating a through-line/narrative, leading up to your call to action (shop, subscribe, follow, etc.).

Looking for more guidance in crafting your ephemeral content and working it into your larger social media strategy? Look no further! Schedule a call with Media À La Carte and let’s work together to form a holistic strategy that truly transforms your brand.


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