Businesses have always relied heavily on word-of-mouth, and social media has taken that concept to a whole new level. Today, customers are constantly sharing photos and videos of their favorite purchases, essentially serving as entire grassroots marketing teams.
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? 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.
“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 succumb to that inclination. 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. A lot of them, let’s be honest, are probably a bi crummy! Take the time to select the best content for your digital signage, just as you would for something you’d print.
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.
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.