Evergreen content has been king for many years. But now it’s time to share the throne with that extremely popular newcomer, expiring content.
When Bill Gates wrote “Content is King” in 1996, he described the future of content marketing for decades. However, nobody could predict the disruptive content innovation that arrived in October 2013 with Snapchat Stories.
Expiring content already existed within direct messaging and a few other applications, but Snapchat Stories made expiring content go viral on social media. At that time, Snapchat users were sharing nearly 400 million snaps per day.1 Stories allowed users to share collections of images + videos that can be viewed for only 24 hours. Instagram and Facebook followed suit with expiring social stories soon thereafter. In June of this year, only months after it launched, Instagram Stories had 250 million daily active users.2
Why Ephemeral Content?
Expiring, ephemeral content flies in the face of the wisdom of evergreen content. Evergreen content is efficient. It gives marketers greater reach as content is recycled across numerous channels, and it requires less content creation by retaining its relevance for months or years. What changed?
Perhaps the concept of relevance changed. Social media evolves in parallel with today’s expectations for fresh, instantaneous relevance. Evergreen content was an attempt to keep content from becoming stale and outdated. Expiring content reflects an entirely new context for freshness and relevance.
The other big change is the evolution of personalization within storytelling. If your social media content consists solely of images of your product with a link to purchase then you’re missing the mark. What’s the most exciting and compelling story behind the creation of your product? What value are you giving back to your audience and your customers? Tell that story.
Which Content Should I Create?
For B2C businesses in particular, the short answer is “both.” High-quality evergreen content should always be an important part of your overall content strategy. But it’s time to expand your social media strategy to include this exciting new channel for engagement.
I’ve included a short guide to the value of expiring content within social media marketing, particularly through Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and WhatsApp. As the expiring content trend grows it’s already entering other avenues such as expiring blog posts, special offers, and other site content. Where do you see this trend going next? Drop us a line on Facebook, Instagram, or any of other channels.
How to Tap into the Value of Expiring Content
· Make it personal! If you’ve never done this before, seek out the most interesting angle you can find within the entire scope of your business. Show the plot, the progression, the storyline instead of only the final product.
· Generate urgency and exclusivity through your stories. Once a story disappears it’s gone forever. Reference what your audience may have missed in previous stories. Differentiate the personalized exclusivity of your expiring content from your regular social media content.
· Obey the new law of relevance. Stories are guaranteed to be fresh. You can’t even easily select a photo that’s over 24 hours old to post into a story.
· Create specific content for each channel. I know this requires more work. Even if it’s the same storyline you’re telling, create it on each channel specifically for that audience. Use the unique filters, stickers, and features of each channel. It’s like telling an inside joke that only your clique will understand. Additional features appear almost daily such as the new polls feature on Instagram.
· Remember the balance of give, give, give, ask. Reward your audience for viewing your stories with exclusive special offers. As always, respond immediately to Story comments, and engage with the community of other storytellers.
· Measure the ROI of your expiring content through unique discount codes, trackable geo-filters in Snapchat, and unique audience engagement insights. Unlike regular social media content, Stories give marketers an important report of who views your stories. Use this report to assess overall engagement, connect with new audiences, identify drop-off rates if you post longer stories, and discover other important metrics.