These days, it’s hard to make the argument that social media doesn’t fit with your brand. And in the world of digital signage, retailers, corporations, hotels, and universities are using social media widgets to display eye-catching content that builds a following. It’s not always a slam dunk, though. Here’s what to think about before you let loose with the hashtags, tweets, and instagrams on your digital signage.
DO encourage interactive, user generated posts
The gratification of seeing your photo, video, or message on large, commercial signs never gets old. And that attention results in ROI in the form of more eyes on your brand or more time spent in your establishment. Whether they’re broadcast on a Times Square billboard or a temporary video wall at an event, user-generated social posts make for some of the most engaging signage content out there. What’s more, when you combine interactive elements with a well-crafted hashtag, the campaign has the potential to go viral online—extending your reach even beyond digital signage.
DON’T display social media without moderation or filtering
This one’s a no-brainer but worth mentioning to avoid a potentially disastrous result. Make sure your social media widget is set up to moderate or filter the content before it gets displayed on a huge outdoor led sign! Have you met the internet? It’s practically designed for people to troll well-meaning social media campaigns. Software moderation and, if necessary, manual review, can easily nip spam and profanity in the bud.
DO feature your own brand
While the brand presence in social media signage can often be subtle, it doesn’t have to be. Sharp imagery and video encourage passersby to stop and engage. A hashtag can connect the in-person digital display with a potential customer’s online experience.
Aside from user-generated content, simply displaying your own social media account content on your digital signage can have a huge impact by amplifying your message. You can automatically pull in content from other commercial accounts with hashtags or geographic/subject tags. In terms of content generation for digital displays, social media is the gift that keeps on giving.
DON’T forget who your audience is
Around 70% of Americans use social media. But not all platforms are created equal. Dramatically more people use Facebook. Twitter is the realm of younger, wealthier, and more educated brand enthusiasts. And while the digital divide is narrowing, you’re much less likely to reach people age 65 and older on social media. So before you plug in every social media widget, consider who you’re trying to reach. Brand enthusiasts? Twitter. Lifestyle trendsetters? Instagram. A broader demographic? Facebook. The closer the match between the social platform and your target audience, the more your social content will resonate on digital signage.
DO use social platforms to spice up functional signage
Adjacent to advertising is the world of DOOH signage used for functional purposes—wayfinding, news, and communication. While critical in airports, hotels, and universities, these kinds of commercial signs can sometimes be lacking in content that engages. So why not pull in social content? Feature what students or customers are talking about online. Show off your own social channels and easily populate functional signage with eye-catching photos. You can even use social media to respond to complaints or an emergency situation. It’s faster than any other means of mass communication, showing off your responsiveness. And however you use social content, it humanizes your brand.
DON’T let social clutter your message
Whether you use digital displays and signage for advertising, wayfinding, or functional communication, there’s always a design element. As with anything else, you don’t want to overdo it with social media widgets. Here’s what we’d consider a great layout. Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm. Consider the amount of space you have the and the amount of time the average viewer will have. If it’s a waiting room, maybe they’ll look at the display screen for a couple of minutes. If it’s a hallway or a billboard, perhaps it will get just five seconds of attention. The less time or space you have to work with, the simpler the social media elements should be.