Ask the Board – January 9, 2017 | PETER RIVERA


What should be kept in mind when implementing a social media component for your digital signage network?”

Ensuring that your solutions are not simply another form of mass-market advertising is one way to get more measurable and direct impact from an investment in digital signage. An easy way to create more personal connections is to ask those moving past your solution to participate in its value in the first place. Enter social media.

Firstly, not all social media is the same. Avoid the easy trap of just trying to get “likes” for some relatively meaningless metric that does not connect with the audience. What I mean by this is that if you are going after a younger audience, you should be considering Snapchat as the platform of choice. A business audience might be Linkedin, and Facebook is fine of course and dominant, but it’s a mass-market approach without much nuance (which might cast the net so wide that the work fails to capture anything meaningful at all). Research your audience and where they are today (keeping in mind it changes more often than you might think) and which social networks they actually use habitually. This will help you craft a winning social integration strategy.

Because your audience most likely is carrying technology in their pocket powerful enough to get them to Mars and back, use the signage as a beacon that leads to smartphone actions. Leverage built-in NFC, or simply SMS to get people to use their phones and interact with your brand. Normally this is possible if you give something away, the classic marketing value exchange (I sometimes feel like a broken record bringing it up but you can’t get something from consumers for nothing. If you want my phone number or “like,” give me something I value). Can they download something free right then and there? A song? A map? A discount? A Pokemon? The touch back to social media is that once you give something relevant away, you can then more easily ask them to share their interactions, content, or opinions with the world.

Another key idea would be to use your audience to generate authentic social content to enhance the experience. As people walk by ask them to contribute images or comments via Instagram or twitter feeds and leverage that in a meaningful way. You should reward positive contributors for doing this. Having some of the content being driven by our audience changes the game from motion billboard advertising alone to true engagement with the added benefit of an authentic localized flair. It will be important to have some kind of profanity filters or screening process for imagery because there are a lot of trolls out there to worry about. That said, I recommend leaning into this approach, as it’s the right call to have your efforts stand out from the pack. There is no more powerful force in marketing than the human ego itself and our desire to want to see our names up in lights (the ubiquitous selfie being prime evidence). People love to see their contributions (or visages) amplified.

Social media is also a great way to garner feedback from customers in the moment. Ensure you are using the right social network and channels to gather their input. As before you may need some semblance of filtering and screening if you show the inputs publicly, but the reward for doing this may be higher than straight on signage that lacks human touch and contribution.

Another way to leverage social media is to aggregate your social stats to create a sense of momentum and energy. Creatively glorify those social media numbers as part of promotions: “4034 people think we nailed it this week!” “14 customers received a free meal for posting a comment on Facebook today,” “10,465 4-stars ratings tells us were on the right track. Stop by today.” This communications approach can telegraph the value, scale, and real-time aspect of a given business.

With all these ideas there might now be an editorial component that was not there before, but why did you put that solution out there in the first place? To achieve results, engage, inspire. Social media integration is one of the surest ways to make that happen.

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VP, Chief Experience Officer

Advertising & Brand Council

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