My first encounter of social media integrated with digital signage was from what many in the industry would consider a pioneer on the practice, LocaModa's founder (now MonsterMedia's) Stephen Randall. Some time ago we collaborated on a Digital Signage Today webinar where he spoke with authority and poise on the subject. Little did I know that years later our agency, and I presume others as well, would maintain an intense focus on social conversation and its relevant implementation across digital signage installations and networks.
What Randall foresaw, and what the broader digital signage industry must address, is how social conversation and the ever-expanding array of social platforms and the complex data they serve can be harnessed by brands to effectively reach people.
Today, brands across verticals are employing strategies that leverage social with digital signage technology to drive business value, sales and equity.
Here are three primary use cases for social technology and data that we are seeing, coinciding with the three types of software solutions presently on the market — social publishing, listening and analytics platforms:
1) To Engage: End-users can leverage social media publishing tools as part of an engagement strategy to converse with segmented audiences, creating and nurturing richer relationships that build positive brand perception, create advocates and drive conversion.
2) To Monitor: They also can leverage social media listening tools to monitor social conversation and thereby gain a deeper understanding of people's preferences, behaviors and beliefs. Monitoring is helping to determine audience reaction to branded messaging or products, public opinion and polling, geographical concentration of conversation, trending, and many other types of relevant data monitoring.
3) To Analyze and Act: Finally, brands can leverage social media analytics software to visualize big data to gain insight into viable social trends, key influencers, social platform targeting and more with the goal of informing and refining business decisions, practices and communication efforts.
I realize this is a lot to get one's head around without a good deal of exposure to the social media scene. That's okay, it's complex and many of us are still attempting to get our heads around it. The bottom line is this: Companies of all types have a keen interest in social media — how to focus it to meet their business goals and leverage it with digital signage to influence people.
The key in my mind for the digital signage industry is conceptualizing how social platforms, and particularly the data they serve, can be strategically integrated into display solutions to tailor relevant content for specific audiences, industries and use cases and thereby drive business results. Here are some "social signage" use cases we're seeing today:
•Retail is presenting social conversation across video walls to generate brand buzz, brand and product preference, and ultimately sales
• Oil and gas is developing social command centers to analyze public, corporate, even government opinion on a range of energy topics to refine business decisions and policies
• Sports and entertainment venues are creating in-venue destinations to enhance the fan experience and create new sponsorship and revenue opportunities.
• Corporations are developing social listening destinations in briefing centers to demonstrate how they monitor and map trending topics associated with their brand, analyze marketing campaign effectiveness and more.
Social signage offers a significant growth opportunity for our industry and the brands we serve. I'd encourage you to take a deeper look at it. Having the strategic, creative and technological expertise may soon be an important contributory to the vitality, relevancy and growth of your digital signage organization.
Jeff Dumo is a partner/VP of marketing and sales at San Jose, Calif.-based Array Interactive, where he and his team provide program strategy, content strategy and creation, custom applications and products to brands such as Adobe, Cisco, U.S. Army, San Francisco Giants, NASA and ExxonMobil.