Disappearing or ephemeral describes the most popular type of user generated content across social channels at present. It lasts for up to 24 hours and that is why it is described as being temporary. It signals a rise to the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) culture. It also signals a rise to a more common desire across users to keep control of their content, in particular their pictures and sometimes share with closer circles of followers. The most common places that we can see disappearing content is through Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories and Snapchat.
What are the benefits to the Third Sector for using disappearing content?
- Get immediate responses: followers can follow links and see up to date campaign asks. In addition to immediate responses to campaigns, the 24 hour window, gives you a short term window to assess your content, which helps you improve and gain insights into your content creation quickly.
- Discoverability: because Facebook and Instagram give priority to content in stories at the top of their feeds, your content is more likely to be engaged with than if you were posting directly into the general feeds. It also keeps your mission and brand at the forefront of followers' minds. When using stories on Instagram, adding location links, mentions and hashtags into your stories can drive traffic to more of your social media. However, only accounts with 10k followers or more can add website links into stories on Instagram at this point in time. Let's hope this opens up soon!
- Transparency: The expectation for content within stories on Facebook and Instagram is one that is unpolished and authentic. Whilst a specific content strategy for your disappearing content is advised, you don't need to worry about filters or spending a lot of time designing the output. People want to see the real organisation and hear your authentic story. Be free to be you but earth it in a content strategy!
- Tells your story: Compared to a single image placed on your profile or in general feeds, a visual story can be told, using a string of images or videos, including text and links. Using stories with the media available provides a much easier and dynamic experience for your followers.
What are the ways that the Third Sector can use disappearing content?
Whether you are using Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories or Snapchat, each one has different tools using text, image, video and links, graphics, gifs and emojis. It's worth exploring the tools with the channel that you use for a current following and monitoring your disappearing content before you branch out to new audiences. Also, setting up a quick way to assess the data that you get from pushing out disappearing content, alongside a content strategy for your disappearing content is a must. Then you will be able to see results.
Here are some content ideas:
- Go behind the scenes - showing the real operational side of your charity on a daily basis invites followers to see what it takes to deliver the mission to your beneficiaries. Also, it gives back in an inclusive way to anyone who has donated to your organisation. You can introduce employees, beneficiaries, supporters and other stakeholders. Remember, it doesn't have to be polished but it does have to be authentic.
- Run polls - ask your followers questions about them, about the content they'd like to see or about your impact. Create deeper relationships through interacting.
- Open the floor up - get your followers to ask you questions. Particularly amongst younger generations, using disappearing content to give a 24hr window for them to ask you about anything, is very popular. Opening the floor up around a theme or topic is one option but just having an open question time could be very interesting and a way to get to know your followers even more too.
- Livestream - capture attention immediately by checking in live. Whether this is at an event, talking to the camera or just showing what is going on. Take advantage of FOMO!
- Promote campaigns and events - definitely an immediate way of advertising.
- Share achievements - let those that follow you, celebrate with you. Maybe it is campaign targets or team goals, as well as, positive impact for beneficiaries.
- Point to updates - share information updates, new content and campaign releases or changes to your mission.
- Instructions - if you need to hand out any instructional information, why not lay out a story of mixed content of how to do something. For instance, as you monitor your user journey and the channel touch points with stakeholders, any new features can be further explained.