A recent survey by GetApp of small to medium-sized business owners revealed that social media has the biggest impact on the digital presence of their businesses.
Mobile site came in second with more than 28% of the respondents saying it has the biggest impact on their online presence.
Interestingly, digital signage was considered almost as effective as mobile apps with 5.8% of respondents saying it has the biggest impact, compared to 7.6% selecting mobile apps.
Only 2.2% of those polled believed that NFC solutions such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay had a significant impact on their digital presence.
Why Social Media is so Important
eMarketer estimates that as of 2015, there were 190.5 million US smartphone users in 2015. This represented 73.4% of internet users and 59.3% of the population.
In 3 years, the smartphone audience will reach 236.8 million. That’s 85.5% of internet users and 71.4% of total consumers in the country.
As smartphone use increases, so does smartphone attachment. A 2015 Gallup poll found that 46% of American smartphone users have what might be called smartphone amnesia, agreeing with the statement “I can’t imagine my life without my smartphone.”
And all that usage/attachment isn’t cat videos and selfies; 71% of internet users on smartphones say they use social networks more than any other feature.
These staggering numbers show how important social media is becoming. It is now playing almost as large a role in purchasing decisions as does TV, especially for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
According to the Social Media Examiner’s seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92% of marketers working with small businesses (between two and 10 employees) agree or strongly agree that social media is crucial to their marketing efforts. It is an important marketing technique for SMBs who do not have the resources to produce massive volumes of content like large corporations do. It enables small businesses to expand brand awareness, increase website traffic and build a community of loyal followers:
Digital Signage and Social Media for Small Businesses
Digital signage and social media is a powerful combination. Individually they impact business operations and outcomes in their own significant ways but together, they pack a mean punch:
1. Drive Rich Engagement
Businesses seeking long-term market share need to create memorable and emotional experiences for their customers. Such experiences drive customer satisfaction and loyalty more than discounts and price cuts would.
Displaying social media feeds on digital signage screens can help build these experiences.
For example, businesses can ask their followers to post or tweet about their visit. Social media posts like that, can be displayed on screens in the store. Knowing there’s a chance that their feedback will end up on the big screen, customers will be extra incentivized to post about their experience with the business. Such intimate interactions with customers leave a lasting impression, something that a regular discount would fall short on.
Part of the appeal of digital signage and social media is their instantaneous ability to share information. Businesses can capitalize on this to drive engagement and reduce perceived wait times while customers are waiting in line. An example is displaying messages on digital signage screens asking customers to share “how they have fun while waiting in line.” By using a given hashtag, customers’ Facebook or Twitter posts will show instantly on the screens. Such real-time engagements build excitement and also distract your customers as they wait in line.
Social media also drives engagement by creating an opportunity to develop depth by moving beyond the brand. Small business owners can promote their businesses by associating their brand with a lifestyle and discussing and promoting that lifestyle. Starting and participating in conversations about the lifestyle is a subtle way of promoting your business without being too salesy and turning off customers.
2. Personalize Promotions
Consumers today are getting hit with ads and promotions from every corner. They’re responding by filtering out this “white noise.” This means your customers might not notice your promotions or offers. Social media can increase participation in promotions by making them more personal and visible.
To get attention from customers, businesses need to show them attention first. When clients post about their use of a discount code, business owners can show the post alongside the discount on a digital signage screen. Customers will love the attention and their peers will more likely take advantage of the discounts they are posing next to.
3. Fresh Content for your Audience
For digital signage to be effective, the content on the screens needs to be fresh, relevant and engaging. Social media satisfies all these requirements.
Posts from your social media accounts and your followers are a source of fresh, automated content with minimal effort from you or your followers. This is an important consideration considering that constantly producing new digital signage content can be costly and exhausting.
4. Platform for Feedback
Social media offers an opportunity for conversation by facilitating dialogue between users and operators.
When your customer posts or tweets about your business, you have the opportunity to respond even with a simple Thank You. When they post a negative comment, you have the opportunity to address their concerns and turn their experience around.
Responding to customer posts publicly shows that you value and respect them and they will reciprocate by providing genuine feedback. Further rewarding your customers by displaying these conversations on a digital signage screen. This will build trust with your followers and turn them into brand advocates.
Digital signage can also be used to promote other digital assets, in addition to displaying social media. For example, screens can be used to inform customers about and encourage them to use mobile apps or NFCs (Apple Pay and Samsung Pay). QR codes or SMS info can also be displayed to direct customers to a mobile site.
Overall, digital signage is a fast-growing marketing tool that easily complements existing marketing and brand building techniques. When leveraged effectively with social media, it sets the stage for better customer engagement, and eventually more sales.
We live in a digital world. Why would any company want to miss out on an opportunity to facilitate interaction with their brand?