6 min read

The Rise of Ephemeral Content:  Stories and Disappearing Posts

The Rise of Ephemeral Content: Stories and Disappearing Posts

In the landscape of social media, one trend has captured the attention of both individuals and businesses: ephemeral content.

This dynamic form of content, which appears for a limited time before vanishing, has gained significant popularity across various platforms. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter (now X), LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok, platforms are embracing ephemeral content as a powerful tool for engaging audiences and fostering real-time connections.

Understanding Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content is characterized by its fleeting nature, with posts and stories lasting only for a short duration, often 24 hours. This format allows users to share moments, updates, and insights without the pressure of creating polished, evergreen content. The appeal of ephemeral content lies in its authenticity, immediacy, and ability to create a sense of urgency among viewers.

Platforms Embracing Ephemeral Content

Every platform has dropped on this FOMO-inducing trend.

Facebook and Instagram Stories

On Facebook and Instagram, users can create stories that are showcased at the top of the news feed. These stories can contain a mix of images, short videos, stickers, text overlays, and interactive features like polls, questions, and quizzes. They appear as circular icons and can be swiped through to view the content. After 24 hours, these stories automatically disappear.

Engagement Statistics

  1. High Engagement Rate: Stories on both platforms tend to have higher engagement rates compared to regular feed posts. The ephemeral nature of Stories encourages users to check them regularly to avoid missing out.

  2. Swipe-Up Feature: Instagram Stories offered a "swipe-up" feature for accounts with over 10,000 followers, allowing them to add links to their Stories. This was an effective way for brands to drive traffic to their websites, landing pages, or blog posts directly from Stories.

  3. Interactive Stickers: Both platforms introduced various interactive stickers, like polls, quizzes, questions, and countdowns. These stickers boosted engagement and encouraged user interaction with content.

  4. Video Content Dominance: Video content performs exceptionally well in Stories. Short, visually engaging videos capture users' attention and drive higher completion rates.

  5. Stories in Explore: Instagram Stories also appeared in the Explore tab, increasing their discoverability and potentially reaching users who don't follow your account.

  6. Location and Hashtag Stickers: The use of location and hashtag stickers in Stories increased visibility to a wider audience. Users could click on these stickers to explore related content.

  7. Cross-Platform Sharing: Instagram Stories could also be shared on Facebook Stories, allowing for cross-platform exposure.

  8. Limited-time Offers: The temporary nature of Stories is ideal for promoting flash sales, limited-time offers, and time-sensitive events, encouraging quick action.

  9. Behind-the-Scenes Content: Sharing exclusive behind-the-scenes content or showcasing the human side of your brand fosters a stronger connection with your audience.

  10. Story Highlights: Both platforms introduced the option to save Stories as Highlights on your profile, extending their visibility beyond the 24-hour window.

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Twitter (X)

Twitter Fleets are a feature that allows users to share temporary and disappearing content on the Twitter platform. Similar to the Stories feature on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, Fleets are short-lived posts that are available for only 24 hours. They offer a more casual and spontaneous way of sharing content compared to traditional tweets.

Fleets appear in a bar at the top of the Twitter app, and users can tap on a user's profile picture to view their Fleets. Fleets can include text, photos, GIFs, and videos, and users can also add stickers and text overlays to enhance their content. Additionally, users can engage with Fleets by sending direct messages or reacting with emoji-based responses.

LinkedIn Stories

LinkedIn Stories, a feature that allowed users to share temporary and disappearing content on the LinkedIn platform, ended in September 2021. The feature was introduced in late 2020 as a way for LinkedIn users to share short-lived updates, insights, and professional moments in a more casual and engaging format.

Similar to Stories on other social media platforms, LinkedIn Stories allowed users to share photos and videos that would be visible to their connections for 24 hours. Users could add text, stickers, and other interactive elements to their Stories to make them more engaging.

However, despite its initial launch, LinkedIn decided to discontinue the Stories feature after just a year. The decision to end LinkedIn Stories was based on the platform's focus on other features and experiences that were deemed more valuable for its professional user base. While Stories were a popular feature on other platforms like Instagram and Facebook, they didn't seem to gain the same traction on LinkedIn, which is primarily used for professional networking and business-related content.

Pinterest Story Pins

Pinterest enters the ephemeral arena with Story Pins, enabling creators to tell visual stories with a mix of images, videos, and text.

As of my last update in September 2021, Story Pins on Pinterest were a relatively new feature introduced by the platform to provide users with a more immersive and interactive way to share content. Story Pins are distinct from traditional Pins on Pinterest, as they allow creators to combine multiple images, videos, and text to tell a story, share ideas, or provide inspiration. Story Pins appear in a slideshow format and provide a way for users to engage with content in a sequential and visually captivating manner.

Key Features of Pinterest Story Pins

  1. Multiple Pages: Story Pins consist of multiple pages, each containing images, videos, and captions. Creators can use these pages to present a cohesive narrative or share step-by-step tutorials.

  2. Text and Captions: Creators can add text captions to each page to provide context, explain the content, or share additional information.

  3. Image and Video Combination: Story Pins allow a mix of images and videos, making it easy to demonstrate a process, showcase products, or share visually engaging content.

  4. Swipe Navigation: Users can navigate through the different pages of a Story Pin by swiping left or right on mobile devices. This interaction encourages users to engage with the entire story.

  5. Engagement and Interactivity: Users can engage with Story Pins by commenting, saving, and following creators directly from the pin. This encourages interaction and connection between creators and their audience.

  6. Collections: Creators can organize related Story Pins into collections, making it easier for users to discover and engage with content on specific topics.

  7. Discoverability: Story Pins can be discovered through the user's home feed, search results, and topic-specific feeds, increasing their visibility.

  8. Educational Content: Story Pins are particularly useful for sharing tutorials, recipes, DIY projects, travel guides, and other educational content that benefits from a step-by-step format.

  9. Longevity: Unlike ephemeral Stories on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, Pinterest Story Pins do not disappear after a set period. They remain on the platform and can continue to drive engagement and traffic over time.


Known for its short, engaging videos, TikTok has epitomized ephemeral content's potential for viral success.

TikTok Stories

  1. Duration: TikTok Stories are short videos or photo slideshows that users can share with their followers. These Stories are available for viewing for 24 hours from the time they are posted.

  2. Format: TikTok Stories are typically vertical videos, similar to the content format that dominates the platform. Creators can use video clips, images, captions, stickers, and other creative elements to engage their audience.

  3. Engagement: Viewers can engage with TikTok Stories by swiping through the content, tapping to view the next slide, or interacting with stickers and other elements in the video.

  4. Visibility: TikTok Stories appear at the top of the "Following" page, making them easily accessible to a user's followers. Users can tap on a profile picture to view a Story.

  5. Creativity: Creators can use TikTok Stories to share behind-the-scenes content, updates, quick tutorials, day-in-the-life snippets, challenges, and other engaging and timely content.

  6. Disappearance: After 24 hours, TikTok Stories automatically disappear from a user's profile and feed. This encourages viewers to engage with the content promptly.

TikTok's implementation of ephemeral content through Stories aligns with the platform's fast-paced and visually engaging nature. It allows creators to share real-time updates, capture fleeting moments, and connect with their audience on a more personal level. By leveraging the temporary nature of ephemeral content, TikTok users can create a sense of exclusivity and urgency, encouraging their followers to engage with their content in the moment.

Strategies for Effective Use of Short-Lived Social Content

There are powerful ways to use blink-and-it's-gone content on social media platforms.

  1. Authenticity Wins: Ephemeral content thrives on authenticity. Share candid moments, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and unfiltered experiences to connect with your audience on a personal level.

  2. Limited-Time Offers: Create a sense of urgency by using ephemeral content to share limited-time offers, promotions, or flash sales.

  3. Exclusive Insights: Give your audience a sneak peek into upcoming products, events, or projects to build anticipation and excitement.

  4. Interactive Elements: Use polls, quizzes, and question stickers to engage your audience and encourage them to interact with your content.

  5. Tutorials and How-Tos: Deliver quick tutorials, tips, and hacks that provide immediate value to your audience.

  6. Employee Takeovers: Let employees take over your account for a day to showcase the company culture from their perspective.

  7. User-Generated Content: Feature user-generated content in your ephemeral posts to highlight your community and build a sense of belonging.

  8. Live Q&A Sessions: Host live Q&A sessions where you address viewer questions and offer real-time insights.

  9. Day-in-the-Life: Provide a glimpse into a typical day at your company, showcasing various roles and departments.

  10. Event Coverage: Use ephemeral content to cover live events, conferences, or launches, giving followers an exclusive virtual pass.

Why Ephemeral Content Sticks Around

Ephemeral content's allure lies in its ability to capture the essence of a moment and foster genuine connections. Its temporary nature creates a sense of FOMO, driving engagement and repeat visits. By leveraging ephemeral content effectively, businesses can showcase their brand's personality, foster engagement, and build a loyal following.

In the fast-paced world of social media, embracing ephemeral content can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy. It allows you to create authentic connections, drive engagement, and keep your audience coming back for more.

Unlock the Potential of Ephemeral Content

As ephemeral content continues to rise in popularity, now is the time to leverage its potential. Craft content that resonates, engages, and showcases your brand's unique personality. Whether you're sharing behind-the-scenes moments, interactive elements, or exclusive insights, ephemeral content offers an exciting opportunity to connect with your audience in real-time. If you're seeking expert assistance in maximizing your ephemeral content strategy, consider partnering with Hire a Writer's team of social media specialists.

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