May 6, 2019
Digital Signage Tips and Tricks

The Best Ways to Use Instagram With Your Digital Signage

The Best Ways to Use Instagram With Your Digital Signage 

The industry doesn’t matter in the least: Tourism, tech, fashion, publishing -- wherever there are happy, devoted consumers, there’s going to be social media action.

A few years back, the digital signage industry got a bit too excited about Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Basic coding made it possible to easily program social media feeds onto screens, live-broadcasting pics and hashtags for all to see. 

The problem is that social media is inherently designed for individual users. Instagram, for example, has a fresh, clean format -- when you’re looking at it by yourself on a phone. When you toss a bunch of Instagrams up on a much larger screen, things get muddy fast.

It’s a lesson that’s taken some time to learn in the digital space, but great design is non-negotiable. Think about your traditional clothing store. It’s lined with carefully-chosen printed materials of models wearing the latest pieces.

The storefront windows feature huge, static images in nicely-coordinated seasonal colors. It’s an intentional strategic process that’s been perfected over decades, so we shouldn’t be surprised that digital signage needed some time to catch up.

Do's and Don'ts of Integrating Instagram with Digital Signage

Social media is sticking around, so you should absolutely integrate it into your digital signage solution. But strategy is everything. When it’s overwhelming, it’s a mess -- but when you show off social media in a beautifully-designed way, your customers will enjoy the content as much as you do.

Do Keep It Clean

“Quality, not quantity” gets overused, but it’s a particularly important refrain when we’re determining how to capitalize on social media content. 

There’s just so much to choose from -- tweets and photos and posts, oh my! -- it’s tempting to let ‘em all scroll through in a jumbled collage and hope customers take the time to register it all.

Don’t Post Just Anything

All those huge printed materials we were just talking about? The models posed for hundreds, if not thousands, of photos during an hour-long shoot. Only the very best were chosen to be blown up for the storefront windows. 

Adopt that same process for your social media curation. There’s no reason to show every last photo. Take the time to select the best content for your digital signage, just as you would for something you’d print.

Do Think Outside of the Box

It’s also a great idea to think out-of-the-box. We’ve all seen tweets roll through in a line. Surely there’s a better way to showcase particularly awesome quotes. 

Justin Garrity, Sprinklr’s VP of User Research and Display, recalled layering tweets over a gorgeous professional food photography at a restaurant. Those images are much better than social media pics of a hamburger, but the tweets add a real-world personal touch.

Digital Signage, Artificial Intelligence, and User Generated Content

In all types of environments, digital screens are testing and showcasing the freshest innovations in software. Over at Sprinklr, the team is particularly excited about several new integrations that have upped their signage to the next level (and then some). 

Justin is constantly monitoring these solutions, deploying the software and making adjustments as needed until the final product is smarter, sleeker and stronger.

It’s not about repeatedly starting from scratch; rather about improving on already-awesome product. “You can retain your [existing] creative but also put in content that’s more dynamic,” Justin explained. These designs “change every day or once a week, making it really interesting to look at.”

One program that’s already transforming the marketing industry is a system that combs through social media to gauge consumer commentary. As people start buzzing about a new product online, the program tracks those responses. 

That real-world feedback enables the program to determine what’s really resonating with customers -- vital information for the company’s marketing team.

As Justin put it: Let’s say you have a new product in five colors. Before you roll out that product, you have to create marketing materials to display in the store. One color is going to have to take center stage, but it’s impossible to predict which one is going to be the biggest hit with shoppers. 

And once those sales numbers do come in months later, the products are no longer brand-new, and there’s not much incentive to create all-new marketing materials.

“Just like marketing teams have gotten used to doing variants for email ads, we are encouraging brands to do variants for in-store creative,” Justin said. “Use our listening platform to listen to social conversations in real-time, and apply positive sentiment analysis” to modify existing creative for the most successful long-term impact.

Social analytics are just the beginning. More and more programs in development will help boost the impact of digital signage, creating a customized experience that feels personal and relevant for the target audience.

See how cost effective digital signage can be, use our digital signage solution price estimator

Brand Ambassadors: How Do You Get Customers to Advocate Your Brand?

Brand advocates are easily the knights of the branding chess board. Versatile enough to reach the audiences regular marketing can’t; they’re well worth the time and effort. 

Armed with a following, advocates can create a tidal wave of buzz for a brand with a singular post. 

Consumers need a fellow shopper with an opinion that they can trust when making a purchasing decision. These days, a good review is worth double its weight in marketing gold. 

In fact, 90% of consumers believe internet recommendations are the most credible persuasion when purchasing a product or service.
Greg Forsythe, the Senior Director of Innovation and Brand Strategy at Deka Lash, has an acute understanding of what makes Instagram influencers “work.” It’s all about staying true -- or some version of true -- to the app’s original purpose.

Greg’s own daughter, he said, “knows [influencers’] personalities almost like they’re friends,” he explained. Yes, Instagram is no longer just for photo-sharing between friends, but users still want to feel that sense of friendship with the people they follow.
Greg noted that when pairing up with an influencer on Instagram, it’s often most effective to just let him or her do their thing. Influencers have an unbelievable understanding of what works on the app. 

They know how to frame photos and write captions that engage their followers -- and, ultimately, convince those followers to take an interest in your product.

That all said, influencers are only part of the equation when it comes to optimizing your Instagram presence. Take some time to get to know all the features of the site. 

Did you know you can livestream, showing your followers in real-time how your product works? How about the Story feature -- do you know you can run polls and Q&As to really peak customer interest? To get conversations going about your brand, you need to be innovative and unique. It’s time to breakout the brand advocate.

3 Ways Digital Signage Can Help You Retain Your Advocates

Once the relationship is solidified, put together a program to thank, reward, and maintain your advocate. Don’t make this a campaign, campaigns don’t last; make this an ongoing program. Longevity is good for a relationship, after all. Have an entire plan for the program so that you can identify how you and your advocate will both get what you want for the entire length of the program.

1. Give ‘Em Publicity

An easy way to show appreciation is to display advocate-generated content on your digital signage. With Instagram and social media integrations, your advocates can become your models.

2. Keep It Exclusive

Interactive Kiosks are a fantastic way to keep your advocates engaged and coming back for more. Implement a reward system for exclusive offers that only advocates can access via the kiosks. Hashtags for reward points!

3. Contribute Together

Donate to charity on behalf of your advocates. Create an ‘Advocate of the Month (or Week)’ system that will honor a select member. Then your brand can donation in their name to a nonprofit organization. 

Their picture and donation can be displayed on your digital signage.

Obtaining, choosing, and keeping your advocates might seem intimidating. Keep the content around your brand dynamic and interesting, and you’ll start conversations that will lead to recommendations.  

The Dangerous Trend of Fake Sponsored Posts

The influencer game has become insanely lucrative. In fact, the top earners in the influencer world are making six figures -- it’s easy money. Even the median range social media influencers can pull the salary of a traditional job.
It’s no surprise that a lot of people are trying to fake their way in. And more importantly, it’s no surprise that those same people by and large succeed. 

Right now, two concepts are at play in the brand-influencer relationship:  all publicity is good publicity and there are no wrong ways to succeed at business

But when aspiring influencers fudge the numbers in an attempt to climb the ladder, businesses can easily become casualties of the quest.

Don’t Get Duped by Faux Influencers

It’s a real concern, and it’s getting worse. In fact, The Atlantic just published a piece on the rise of wannabe influencers who even go so far as to pretend they’ve already established corporate sponsorships to give the appearance of legitimacy.

Greg has developed a keen eye for spotting influencers that seem too good to be true. 

He ignores numbers and looks instead at engagement activity to determine whether an influencer really is, well, influencing. 

“If it’s consistent, it’s not just one hot post -- every time they put something up, [hundreds of] people like or share it, that person is an influencer,” he said.

The Best Influencers Organically Grow Their Bases

Contrary to popular belief, not all influencers are going to have burgeoning follower counts. A few bucks can artificially inflate follower counts to 5,000, 20,000, or even hundreds of thousands.

“But it doesn’t always mean anything,” Greg said. “They could have 500 followers but a really loyal following, and that person is more valuable to you as a company.”

As he considers influencers for partnerships for Deka Lash, Greg keeps his mind open. He weighs all types of personalities and what that could bring to the Deka Lash vibe. 

“Mommy and Me blogs, maybe a collegiate student that’s very active, there’s a number of ways to build a following,” he said.  

It’s Not About Bots, It’s About Waste

To be clear, avoiding partnerships with faux-influencers isn’t about the ethics or even the optics. Plain and simple, it’s about business strategy. A relationship with any influencer requires thought, time, energy and money. 

Those are four commodities that companies should never waste. When you devote those items to an influencer who doesn’t genuinely have the audience to attract new eyes to your product, it’s like plastering billboard ads inside an abandoned alley.

Separating fact from fiction is increasingly difficult in all aspects of social media (“fake news,” if you will), and when business becomes involved, the stakes are even higher. 

“Referrals are still the #1 source of marketing -- word of mouth,” Greg said. “[Social media] is really our best way to solicit that. You can hand out coupons … but the new way of building that word of mouth, referral, is through influencers.”

Keep this in mind: the entire world can love your brand, but they don’t all have to be your advocates. 

In fact, faux influencers can harm your reputation. Once you’ve engaged and engrossed potential advocates, you can start deciding who is worthy of being your brand cheerleader.

Chose a couple influential members (with organic followers) who can reach your targeted audience with the correct messages.

Ensure that when you partner with an influencer, it’s a relationship that will mutually benefit both of you: Pay attention to their previous posts. Read the comments. Notice any negative or politically incorrect content. Steer clear of those accounts. If you diligently vet these influencers, you’ll feel better their involvement in your brand’s reputation. 


[To see how a modern retailers use brand advocates to widen their client-base, watch episode three of our Business Impact Workshop with Dekalash.]