A quick primer on best practices for social media and digital signage
Social media meets all the criteria of engaging content: It's modern. It's social. It's real-time. It's auto-updating. In this post, we'll give you some direction and best practices for social media integration with your digital signage system.
The easiest way to show any social media portal is to display the page in a content block on the screen. This works for Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram — virtually any social media site that's live on the Web.
Here are some important tips for webpage messages:
- Don't use a personal login. You'll want to create a specific login for a profile with no friends or contacts associated. This will keep you from getting notifications on the page.
- You'll want to use the auto-login feature ("keep me logged in"), so the player can always access the live page.
- You can crop your webpage message to just show your news feeds. This helps to keep ads off of your screens.
- When you crop, make sure you include your cover photo and profile picture for branding. (We suggest you use your logo for your profile picture.) This ensures that viewers know whose social media page they're seeing on screen.
- As always, you need to ensure that the aspect ratio of your cropped webpage matches that of your content block, so you don't get any stretching or squishing of the image.
If you don't want to show your social media as a webpage message, you can pull posts from that page into a custom message template with a module in your CMS. This lets you control how the posts show up on screen, and gives you more flexibility to match your current layouts and content blocks.
YouTube, Instagram and Twitter have great APIs developers can use to build custom HTML5 modules to show your video playlist, tweets and photos. The modules should be auto-updating, so once you schedule them, you don't have to do anything else. They'll continue to pull in the latest posts at predetermined intervals.
We highly recommend using a custom module if you want to show social media on interactive screens. If you let people use all of the active links on a social media webpage on your touchscreen, your viewers can surf through hashtags and links and get lost far away from your own page. If you use a custom module, you can limit which areas of the screen are interactive.
One question we get asked a lot is if there's any way to guard against offensive content getting onto the screens. Your digital signage system is just pulling in whatever hits your social media site, so you need to start there. As in all organizational communications, you need to have published policies in place so people know what is and isn't acceptable to post.
Sean Matthews Matthews, the president of software provider Visix and a veteran of the visual communications industry, is credited with a comprehensive corporate reorganization of the company and shepherding in a suite of new digital signage products. www