In the digital era, information bombards internet users from all sides. People have an unlimited amount of choice when it comes to content, so they become picky about what they consume. As a result, content marketing is evolving. Marketers have to look for new ways to capture the attention of their desired audience.

One of the most common content marketing obstacles is finding a way to hook and keep your audience engaged. While evergreen content is one way to build your reputation and can be useful for a great number of people, modern consumers crave original, unique, and current information. It’s no wonder time-sensitive content is getting more and more popular among social media users.

What is Time-sensitive Content?

Time-sensitive content, also known as ephemeral content, is any visual content with a short life span that lasts for up to 24 hours. Users with FOMO (fear of missing out) can’t afford to miss something interesting. Which is why, according to Tech Crunch, Facebook Stories has 150 million users, Snapchat has 191 million, Instagram Stories has 300 million, and WhatsApp Status has 450 million.

However, as marketers know, content creation is time-consuming. Wasting valuable time and money to invest in ephemeral content that will disappear within 24 hours is a hard sell. Here are four reasons to invest in time-sensitive content:

#1. Humanize Your Company

Authenticity is at the top of your customers’ minds. While the number of paid ads, sponsored posts, and celebrity endorsements is growing, 86% of people say authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands they support. Thus, companies should humanize their brands to earn customers’ trust and loyalty, and time-sensitive content can help you achieve that goal.

In most cases, ephemeral content happens “in the moment.” Whether you’re taking users behind the scenes or offering something unique, time-sensitive content creates a sense of belonging, so followers feel special and understand who you are. When you humanize your company, you give your followers a clear reason to trust you. Moreover, it’s a way to stand out from a crowd of competitors who fight for the same target audience.

#2. Convince Users to Take an Action

Because it’s only available for a limited period of time, ephemeral content compels followers to take action immediately. According to Autumn Green, a Brafton writer, ephemeral content affects buying decisions: “The fact that your images or videos disappear generates a sense of urgency, and people will feel excluded if they don’t tune in to what you have to say. What’s more, the interactive features (comments, likes and polls) give viewers a way to share their thoughts and ideas. Not only do they feel respected by your company, but they get even more engaged in the present moment,” wrote Green.

The key to success is to motivate action, and when you invest in time-sensitive content, you create a sense of urgency that gives your followers a reason to take an action immediately. The longevity of your content points at how much time users have to make the most out of your time-sensitive offer until it’s gone. As a result, you don’t have to wait much to see the results.

#3. Save Time on Content Creation

The popularity of apps like Snapchat, Periscope, and Meerkat motivates users to create content that is worthy of sharing without preserving. The number of smartphone users is growing annually, so people can take photos with no effort. For marketers, it’s also an opportunity to save time on content creation.

Content marketers can rejoice as creating time-sensitive content doesn’t require much time or effort. To post stories or go live, you need to use your phone and take a photo or video that can be uploaded immediately to your brand account. Moreover, people don’t like overly polished posts, so your content doesn’t have to look perfect. All in all, it means you can save time on content creation.

If you want to save time, you can also learn from big brands like Starbucks and Converse. These companies often post user-generated content in their stories. It’s a way to not only prove the quality of your product but increase brand loyalty as customers feel rewarded when brands mention them. Another idea is to use the Instagram reshare feature that helps to publish posts from the main feed to stories.

#4. Drive Engagement

No matter what your business is, social media presence is a must for a variety of reasons. As a result, marketers work in a competitive environment, and publishing posts isn’t enough to grab your audience’s attention. If you want to promote your product, you need to drive more engagement. To reach more people, you need to create unique and useful content. Here’s the deal: the more people like your content, the more potential customers you can reach. Thus, engagement plays a key role.

From ads to contests, there are many ways to drive engagement on social media. However, Neil Patel says engagement should be genuine: “When trying to improve engagement on social media sites, you can’t be pushy. Otherwise, your efforts will amount to nothing.  You may even generate negative results, and deter your target audience.” In other words, buying fake likes isn’t an option these days, and marketers should look for alternative ways to hook their followers. When you post ephemeral content, you put a time limit for your users to watch it, so they are more likely to take an action. As a result, it drives engagement.

So, do you want to make the most out of ephemeral content and bring your business to the next level? Start brainstorming about the kinds of stories you can tell and how you can provide your most engaged fans with insider access. The tools are there, and they’re free—you just have to put them to good use.