Emily Stonham
11th January 2019 - 9 mins read
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phemeral is defined by Cambridge dictionary as ‘lasting for a very short amount of time’.

There’s a few key types of ephemeral content that your business should consider experimenting with. The most popular form - and arguably the one that popularised temporary content - is Snapchat stories. You can also find stories on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook. There’s also a story function on WhatsApp, known as statuses.

Snapchat messages (snaps) also fall under this category, as do Instagram live videos. Snaps can only be viewed for a set amount of time, and Instagram live videos disappear from stories after 24 hours.

So, why should your business bother with making this style of content? After all, evergreen content is incredibly useful for marketing purposes so why stray away from that? In this blog, I’ve collected 7 key reasons why you should consider adding ephemeral content into your strategy.

 

Realism and authenticity

One of the main benefits of using ephemeral content is that it offers your customers a much more personal, authentic look at your brand. Using stories on Instagram, for example, makes it much easier to show viewers what your team gets up to throughout the day or to share a quick picture of the office dog having a nap.

I’ve written before about the importance of showing the human aspect of your business. Modern customers love seeing behind the scenes of their favourite brand, and they especially love having a relatable character/influencer to show them this. A good example of this is ASOS introducing their Insiders (a team of influencers working for the brand).

You could try using the story function on Instagram to show off a company event, or maybe demonstrate a new product that’s just arrived. It’s the perfect area to be slightly less formal than your main page, and your customers will thank you for it. Instagram stories have a number of handy functions for market research, too- it’s worth looking into polls, questions and sliders if you’re doing this.

 

Urgency

Another great reason to use temporary content is that it creates a real sense of urgency. Customers will often experience FOMO (fear of missing out) if there’s a timed offer shown on a story or live video, especially if it’s a brand they’re particularly fond of. This also applies to limited time offers shown on websites, like flash sales.

Fashion and beauty brands are particularly good with this. A brand that uses flash sales and promotions effectively is Disturbia, an alternative fashion company which creates unique, limited print run clothing. As a fan of this brand, I can confirm that it always seems to have a flash sale at the right time, which is not great news for my bank account.

Disturbia has found a great balance between having just enough flash offers to attract customers to come back to the website frequently, but not too many as to make them look fake. Over the last week, I've seen about 3 limited time offers on the website- enough to make a fan of the brand want to buy, but not too many to put them off.

Disturbia also has a good email marketing campaign, with quick sales and promos to encourage their readers to 'act fast' or 'not to miss out'. One of the key points that I believe has lead to them being successful here is the choices of urgent words used in their copy.

There’s a lot of fashion brands at the moment who have been caught out for having fake flash sales e.g. they’ll post ‘24 hours only!’ and replace the same offer 24 hours later with ‘48 hours only!’. It’s a popular tactic, especially with newer 'fast fashion' brands.

There’s even been a recent upset in the beauty community with a company called Kenza Cosmetics, who offered free brushes (spoiler- they weren’t free) for a limited amount of time. The limited amount of time seemed to go on for a very unlimited amount of time, and was immediately jumped on by Twitter and YouTube commenters. The scam ran a lot deeper than this, with famous YouTubers promoting products that mysteriously didn't turn up for months. Unfortunately, this type of scenario happens a lot online nowadays.

 

 

The main takeaway from this for brands looking to use temporary offers and flash sales is to find the right balance of offers and make sure they’re genuine. If your Facebook story says there’s 24 hours to use a discount code, make sure it’s actually 24 hours. You might get away with extending it a few times but customers will eventually pick up on the fact that your sales and offers go on for an inaccurate time. Eventually, this’ll lead to a distrust in your brand and a lack of engagement with offers. After all, if your 3 day offers normally go on for at least a week, why should they bother running to get their credit card?

 

Variation

A different reason to start using ephemeral content is that it can really liven up your social media strategy. If your brand has been consistently posting customer testimonials on Instagram at 3pm for the last 4 months, why not switch it up completely and do a livestream on your page unboxing your latest product? It can feel odd stepping outside of your usual comfort zone for content, but there’s only one way to find out whether it works or not.

Obviously, it’s important to do your research. If you want to use stories, make sure to check where the majority of your audience is. If your clients love using YouTube, there’s not much point just doing a brilliant story over on Facebook. If you want to go live, check out the times that your audience is online most frequently. The Instagram analytics section for business accounts is fantastic for this, as it can show you the relevant times for each day.

Social media is constantly changing and evolving, especially in regards to algorithms and content trends. If your page isn’t changing and growing with the platform, it’s likely that your engagement and lead generation will just die off over time. 

 

Speed and range

A great benefit of using temporary content is that it’s pretty quick to make. Due to the personal, informal vibe that most ephemeral pieces have, the amount of time that goes into creating it is significantly lower than creating evergreen content. Creating a behind the scenes Snap series would take a lot less time, effort and resources than creating a YouTube series with the same aim, for example. Live streaming is also relatively quick to set up, and is great to use for product launches or important events.

As lazy as it might sound, stories are a fantastic way to widen the range of your content marketing without distracting too much from your main pieces of content. In 2018, Instagram reported approximately 400 million daily story viewers. Snapchat followed behind with 191 million. Is this an audience that your business can afford to miss out on interacting with?

Instagram is arguably the best platform to utilise stories on. On this platform, it’s a mix of your existing audience and prospects who view stories. You can use hashtags on Instagram stories to get your story added to a tag story, which is displayed whenever people search for that term. It’s a great way to keep your brand in people’s mind too, as stories on Instagram are displayed right at the top of a user’s screen with the most recent and relevant being displayed first.

 

 

 

Staying active pays off with Instagram stories overall, and you’ll be able to monitor this in your analytics tab. Of course, other platforms have their benefits too and it’s worth exploring all of your key options. Determine where your audience is, and figure out which style of ephemeral content will catch their eye most effectively.

 

Reactivity

A final benefit of using ephemeral content is that it allows you to be much more reactive online. When an important event happens, it allows you to quickly jump on your page and post a genuine, casual response instead of spending a day crafting an intricate, corporate one.

Using stories or livestreams to document how your team feels about something that’s happening live is a brilliant way to connect with your audience further. This is especially true for events, as it relates what you’re posting to your audience’s perspective as a consumer.

Obviously, this style of quick, informal post isn’t appropriate for every scenario (probably best not to post a snapchat vlog series in response to a media crisis) but it can be a great way to increase the relevance of your content.

 

Overall 

Ephemeral content is definitely worth looking into if you want to liven up your content strategy and add some variation to what you’re providing for your customers. It allows you to position your company as relevant, authentic and modern, while still encouraging customers to buy from and interact with you.

Here are a few pieces of content that you could try out;

 

  • An Instagram livestream at an industry event.
  • A behind the scenes Snapchat series, showing an average day in your office.
  • Whatsapp status updates, hinting at your next product launch or collection.
  • A series of Facebook stories answering common questions from your audience.
  • A ‘takeover’ day on your Instagram story, where a member of staff controls the page for a day. Great for Q&As, office tours and promoting your latest services.
  • Snapchat stories of anything fun your office is getting up to, like a charity event or coffee morning. Informal content like this is a great way to add a personal feel to your content and help your audience relate to what you’re saying more.

 

Not sure where to start with creating temporary content for your social platforms? Thirty Seven offer comprehensive social media services, ranging from post writing and design, to account management. Feel free to get in touch with us today at hello@thirtyseven.agency to find out more about how we could help you with this.

 

Marketing

7 campaigns that went viral for all the wrong reasons

Aimee Hudson 2nd October 2017 — 8 mins read
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big budget helps, great ideas are critical, but as some of the below companies found out some elements are simply outside of your control and can sometimes cause campaigns to go viral for all the wrong reasons…

 

Walkers Wave

In this campaign, fans were asked to tweet their selfies so they could feature in a short video clip in which Gary Lineker held a picture of their selfie and said “Thanks for joining the Walkers Wave and celebrating the UEFA Champions League Final.”

However, this backfired and went viral in a way Walkers probably wished it hadn’t.

The crisp producer set up an automated tweet system meaning all images were automatically submitted to show in the picture frame.

But, there was seemingly no screening or filtration process.

This meant that when members of the public started to tweet in images of people who are famous for committing crimes, the campaign quickly started to go downhill.

 

 

The campaign’s failure soon spread like wildfire through the Twittersphere and other media platforms due to the ease of sharing posts.

You can tell Walkers had good intentions and hoped the campaign would be original, convey emotions, spark interest and be easy to share.

Like any great campaign it did do this, just not in the intended way.

 

Pepsi’s advert featuring Kendall Jenner

Pepsi faced huge backlash to an advert featuring Kendall Jenner where she was seen giving police a can of Pepsi on the front line of a protest.

The advert was meant to portray a message of peace, unity and understanding but instead was criticised for trivialising social justice demonstrations.

In the advert Kendall is seen giving a police officer a can of Pepsi, he then smiles at a fellow officer as protestors cheered. 

Backlash from the advert suggested that if protestors were kinder and gave police a drink, there would be no need for social justice demonstrations.

The public mocked the campaign with key influencers like Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr’s daughter, tweeting a picture of her father with the caption:

 

 

Pepsi’s hope of creating a campaign relating to current political events obviously fell flat. It initially defended the advert saying it “reflects people from all walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony”.

However, the backlash continued to grow, and Jenner also faced criticisms with Eric Thomas, senior partner of Saga marketing posting on LinkedIn that “A Caucasian, blonde, classically beautiful, affluent, kid born into celebrity probably isn’t the person you need to represent struggle and civil unrest”.

Pepsi finally withdrew the advert and apologised with the following statement:

 

 

Southern Rail – Let’s Strike Back

It’s not just food and drink based campaigns that can go wrong as Southern Rail found out when its Twitter campaign was derailed.

The company’s campaign asked its customers to challenge a Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) strike on Twitter.

With the headline ‘Let’s Strike Back’, the company’s initial tweet asked customers to tell the union how the rail strikes make them feel with the hashtag #SouthernBackOnTrack

 

 

But perhaps not surprisingly given the operators reputation for late, cancelled and over-crowded trains, customers used the hashtag to lambast its service.

 

 

Quickly, Southern Rail lost control of the campaign with the public creating their own, more popular hashtags including #SouthernFail.

Soon, national media picked up on the Twitter storm generating more unfavourable headlines and comments for the company.

The company initially refused to apologise for the campaign or the poor services customers had received, saying its ‘aim was to get the debate going’.

However, a month later the deputy chief operating officer of Govia Thamesline Railway, the parent company of Southern Rail, said the tweets were a “mistake.”

It’s clear to see there was little debate around the topic but more a way of customers to vent their disappointment and even anger at the brand.

 

Amazon: The Man in the High Castle

Back in 2015, Amazon’s new show ‘The Man in the High Castle’ depicted a dystopian life in which Nazi Germany and Japan have control over the US after winning World War Two.

To promote the show, Amazon decided to advertise across New York City.

The company wrapped the subway seats, walls and ceilings of one train in a version of the American flag, replacing the stars with a German eagle and iron cross. They even created a stylised flag for the ‘new Japan’.

The campaign also involved having 260 posters across the subway station.

The advertisements were due to run for 2-3 weeks until early December but were pulled hours after New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Amazon to do so.

Bill de Blasio stated that the advertisements were “irresponsible and offensive to Word War II and Holocaust survivors, their families, and countless other New Yorkers”.

The lesson learnt: Historical events are still sensitive even in a dystopian world.

 

Coca-Cola – GIF the Feeling

When Coca-Cola changed its tagline from ‘Open Happiness’ to ‘Taste the Feeling’, it decided to celebrate the launch with the campaign ‘GIF the Feeling’.

The idea was that the public would be able to superimpose their sentiments on a pre-created GIF.

Coca-Cola was smart and had thousands of words filtered so they couldn’t be included in the campaign including hell, fat, homosexuality, diabetes, all swear words, business, sex, drugs and more.

However the public, as menacing as they are, decided to get creative and create GIFs with the words which had not been filtered, including diarrhoea, capitalism, Benghazi and more.

It was soon clear to see Coca-Cola had lost control and the public had hijacked the campaign.

In a statement, Coca-Cola said: “Our intention was to invite consumers to share their feelings in a positive and uplifting way as they discover our new campaign. It is unfortunate that some people have chosen to use our campaign materials to do just the opposite” … “Their comments do not reflect the views of The Coca-Cola Company”.

 

Protein World - Beach Body Ready

The supplement company’s weight loss advert featured a model in a bikini with the phrase ‘Are you beach body ready?’

It was displayed all over the UK and faced huge backlash for ‘body shaming’.

Watchdog reported the campaign received almost 400 complaints. Additionally, a protest was held in London’s Hyde Park and a Change.org petition gained more than 70,000 signatures.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated it had received a range of complaints on issues including the ‘very slim, toned’ model which suggested that all other body shapes are inferior.

Protein World remained defensive and unapologetic during the backlash. It even invited the public to consider if they were in the shape they wanted to be and claimed that the campaign doesn’t imply everyone should look like the model.

After much debate over the wording the ASA initially deemed the advert did not breach any UK advertising rules relating to harm and offence or responsible advertising.

Many of the public were upset with this result and continued to campaign against the ‘beach body’ image.

However, after some further consideration ASA decided to ban the advert and ordered it to be removed.

Protein World continued to advertise with similar campaigns like ‘Think Small’.

 

Bud Light – Up For Whatever

In an effort to get everyone together for a good time, Budweiser launched its campaign ‘Up For Whatever’.

The beer company produced bottles with the following line printed on them, “The perfect beer for removing ‘No’ from your vocabulary for the night’.

This led to heavy criticism on social media with critics claiming it undermined the anti-rape “no means no” campaign in an effort to stop sexual assault.

It upset many consumers who claimed the beer’s messaging didn’t recognise that alcohol frequently plays a part in rape cases.

The initial release of the new bottles was supposedly designed to ‘inspire spontaneous fun’.

Soon after, Budweiser admitted it had ‘missed the mark’. It said: “We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behaviour”.

However, a longer statement was issued by owner Alexander Lambrecht who said: “The Bud Up For Whatever campaign, now in its second year, has inspired millions of consumers to engage with our brand in a positive and light-hearted way. In the spirit, we created more than 140 different scroll messages intended to encourage spontaneous fun. It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it.”

 

 

While all these campaigns certainly succeeded in becoming part of the conversation, it came at the cost of damage to the reputation of the brands involved. And they show how a few simple errors, or a poorly thought out idea, can quickly turn something with good intentions into something hugely negative. Going viral is clearly not always a good thing.

At Thirty Seven, we offer content marketing services and ensure your campaigns reach the right audiences at the right times. Our journalist led approach ensures our content is interesting, engaging and informative so you gain brand awareness and engagement for all the right reasons.

Adam Fisher
6th July 2018 - 3 mins read

Every company wants to be an authority in their sector - those that engage the media usually are

Media First designs and delivers bespoke media and communications courses that use current working journalists, along with PR and communications professionals, to help you get the most from your communications plan.