Business Today

Disappearing Act

Short-lived content is the new rage on social media.
Sonal Khetarpal   New Delhi     Print Edition: March 11, 2018
Disappearing Act

Brands are realising the importance of 'keeping it short'. Given social media users' reducing attention span, brands are taking to short-lived content - content that disappears within 24 hours. The popularity of Snapchat - the image messaging and multimedia mobile app - among the millennials and generation Z has inspired Instagram and Facebook to launch the 'Stories' feature wherein videos and photos disappear after 24 hours. And marketers are happily lapping it up.

The fleeting nature of content allows marketers to showcase behind-the-scenes brand activities that are not so relevant for its timeline or news feed but is an add-on to their digital strategy, says Ena Bansal, Chief Digital Strategist of women's fashion and lifestyle brand Vajor. For instance, when the company launched its Pune store, a 10-second video of the office led several of its followers to instinctively notice how the brand's website theme is similar to the office decor. Vajor's live video of the CSR initiative in which the company distributed blankets in the winter got several users to join them at their night trail. "Real-time communication from a brand provokes higher interest and connects with the audience better," she adds.

Vajor also uploads slice-of-life videos featuring customers using its products or sometimes just notes sent by customers stitched together in a photo album.

Srinivasa Rao, SVP, Marketing, Lifestyle International, says the biggest advantage of ephemeral content is its on-the-go nature that needs no elaborate preparation. "We use what we already have," says Rao. When fashion blogger Scherezade Shroff visited a Lifestyle store, she did a quick video on the new collection and that reached the followers directly.

What makes this type of content exciting? "Curiosity and the fear of missing out that lead to a higher level of engagement. It also makes the audience feel like they are getting exclusive access to the content," Bansal says. It is a great channel to announce flash sales because the short life of the story creates a sense of urgency, urging users to act fast.

Lifestyle, meanwhile, posts one story a day on Instagram and that drives thrice as much engagement as any conventional content would on social media. It is also a great platform to experiment as the feedback received is instant. Rao says that Lifestyle gets 100-150 comments on average on every such post which also helps them create their overall content strategy. The good part is that even if there are any negative comments, they don't remain online for long.



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