I’m here to confirm: the black hole effect of Instagram didn’t magically go away in 2018. Spending my evenings reading was top priority for me in 2018, yet I continually find myself coming out of a 30 minute, Instagram Stories-induced trance.

In short: I (and I’m guessing some of you, too) are living proof that short-lived content like Instagram Stories and Snapchat makes for compelling—addictive, even—content. It’s not going away; the opposite is true.

The platforms—Instagram, Snap, and of course Facebook, which has to gobble up every other platform’s good ideas, water them down, and slap them up as a Facebook feature, because apparently we can’t leave a good thing alone—are really placing value on short-term, disappearing content.

And users don’t expect that content to be perfectly polished—but there should be a strategy in place for posting it. Just like with images that stay permanently on a brand’s feed, brand guidelines should influence this short-lived content, even for content that’s disappearing in a day.

That kind of content moves fast, so it’s not realistic or necessary to put together a full-on SMCC for two weeks of short-term content. But for any brand, whether it is a seasoned Snapchat pro or a newb to the game, it’s important to post content that aligns with brand guidelines and look and feel.

So if you’re determined this year to improve your brand’s live social media game, there are a few things you can do:

Understand that it’s OK to post content that’s not brand new. Sure, Insta Stories, Snap, etc. are supposed to be of-the-moment. But Instagram changed the app to allow users to upload any photo or video, not just those taken in the last 24 hours. Similarly, Snapchat users can use the Memories feature to upload older content. So you can use content you shot last week without the hassle.

Help your post be seen. If you can geo-tag, do it. That helps your video get in front of people looking at videos from a certain location, even if they don’t follow you.

Make it fun. Build posts with lots of captions layered in, use the stickers, be weird. The great thing about this short-lived content is that, while it should be on-brand, it isn’t permanent to your channel (unless you want it to be — Instagram allows you to save your fave stories into the Highlight reel). So you can be a little funkier than you would be on your feed.

Sprocket Communications is a Denver PR and Social Media firm.

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