Hi, I'm Kristy. As the manager of the Visual Communication Management (VCM) team at Four Winds Interactive, my team and I focus on working with customers over the long term to help them achieve success with their digital signage. Having seen many successes with the partnership between VCMs and customers, I’ve picked up a few things over the years that I’d like to share with you. For this post though, let’s stick with some tips on driving end-user engagement.
Whether you’re communicating with employees, guests, or customers, engagement is critical to the long-term success of any digital signage network. Engagement is defined not only as people consuming and using information from digital signage but also as people actively adding content to signs, interacting with them, and using them to create an environment that enables connection with others. Unless your content is interesting and relevant, it's very easy for people to stop looking. Once you lose eyes on your signs, it's incredibly hard to get them back. Engagement is all about giving your audience reasons to keep looking every time they pass by your signs. Want to see what I mean? Take a look at this video to see how one of our clients keeps their employees engaged and checking back to see what’s on the screens.
There are several different strategies around creating and maintaining engagement, many of which are based on the specific audience you are communicating with and how they can interact with your signs and content. Take a moment to rethink what ‘interact’ means—this subject is much wider than simply touching screens. Thinking more broadly, interactivity is about giving people a way to connect with others and be part of a larger conversation.
Integrate with Social Media
Using social media is a great example. Most people get excited about seeing themselves on digital signs. This is as true in the corporate environment as it is in hospitality or retail. Corporate signs can display company events, weekend activities or company posts, plus basically anything else you can dream up. In hospitality, travelers can share pictures of their adventures, recommendations for local attractions, reviews of restaurants, and so much more. And then you’ve got retail—customers can use social media to directly interact with the brands they like, as well as the store in countless ways. Considering how often people check their social media accounts or post about their day, leveraging social media on your displays is a great way to invite interactivity and drive engagement.
Display Relevant Content
Think about who is viewing your signs and what’s important to them. It’s important to realize that good content is just as much about what people want to see as it is about what you want to show them. A simple but often overlooked key to building and maintaining engagement is to plan a mix of content that is useful and fun—and continue to schedule content throughout the day to make it as meaningful as possible.
In corporate offices, a great example of this is displaying key performance metrics, but the real win is to personalize those to specific teams. If we think critically about it, accounting doesn’t need (or want) to see sales metrics—nor does your entire sales team need to see what is valuable to accounting. If your business has teams with different regions, verticals and goals, a wise move would be to display the things that impact those teams. While providing data to your teams improves productivity, only showing that information is not conducive to creating a good working environment.
Think about what people within your business need and want to see at different points in their days, then give it to them in the easiest possible way to digest. Time your content thoughtfully and give people the information they need at the time they need it. Welcome your workforce to the office with company culture focused content, then shift to metrics and goals later. As the day moves on, data on how people are tracking towards their goals becomes useful, and welcome. Then, end the day with messaging about how the work of contributes to the larger goals of the company.
Similarly, planning content for a superior guest experience at a hotel or conference center must take into consideration the time of day and what people will be looking for. Days can start with the location of nearby coffee shops, directions to the gym, workout tips, or information about breakfast. Guidance on where to go and what’s happening next is useful as the day goes on, followed by relevant dining and entertainment suggestions in the evening. These context-relevant pieces of information add value to your guests’ experience, and potentially generate revenue for your business by connecting wants with your services.
Simplify Content Contribution
Generally speaking, an easy way to get people excited about signs is allowing them to contribute content. As with social media, people will look at signs more to see the content they’ve submitted. Some of the most popular signs in corporate networks are the ones that show employees’ pets, kids, hobbies, etc. Celebrating people on digital signage is another excellent way to drive engagement. By creating a simple contribution process, you can empower anyone to share content with the rest of the company. Additionally, displaying birthdays, work anniversaries, certifications, and peer recognition encourage engagement and provide tangible ways to recognize coworkers—and showcasing those things is incredibly easy to do.
Using FWI Cloud for contribution is a quick and simple way to add content and may be made available to a variety of contributors. Content may be added in a few simple steps from a computer, tablet or mobile phone and may involve approvals and permissions for governance, if desired. Additionally, content may be easily managed in FWI Cloud, again from a variety of devices. Plus, you can update your signs from anywhere, eliminating the need to make notes and return to your desk to make changes.
Another option is integrating with your company’s systems. Direct integration allows content to update, play, and expire, all automatically, keeping your signs fresh with relevant information. Similarly, visitor announcements, whether for an individual or a group, can create a memorable experience for any conference or event—and those can just as easily be programmed ahead of time.
Consider Layout and Design
If everything on your signs looks the same, it will be hard to keep your audience’s attention. Along with the kinds of content you choose to publish, the way that information is displayed is a key element in driving audience engagement. Vary the design, colors, and layout of your signs. Use different color schemes and layouts to indicate the type of content being displayed.
One of our larger corporate customers has found success by using a similar look for their content while indicating the subject of the specific content using color. Blue indicates important company information, green for productivity and metrics, yellow for sales information and purple for fun, employee-engagement content. Their overall template is adjusted periodically to keep the look fresh over time. This strategy keeps the content engaging, with updates, additions and new looks designed to capture and maintain employee attention.
Driving engagement in your digital signage network requires planning and attention. This effort pays off significantly when your signs have the desired impact and you see increased productivity, engagement, sentiment or revenue. Creating an overall plan that ensures a constant flow of new content as well as periodic refreshes will maximize the investment you’ve made in your FWI digital signage network and create a path for success now and into the future.
I know this a lot of information to take in, so if you’re interested in learning more, or just have questions about how to maintain user engagement, fill out this form and one of my teammates will reach out. Or, if you’re interested in seeing how FWI’s VCM team implemented some of those best practices to help Pax8—a fast-growing tech company—engage their employees and drive productivity, watch this short video.