If you are a social media manager, you may be looking for a social wall solution. As a way to boost social interaction at an event, the social wall is unmatched as a method to engage and connect with event-goers.
Using curated, rotating displays that often focus on specific hashtags, a social wall encourages customers to share posts and essentially participate in your marketing. It is a great way to promote your brand as it sparks an emotional response with easily digestible, visual content that appeals to a wide range of users on multiple platforms.
Social walls: where to start
The problem is, there are more than just a few social wall products out there to choose between. Additionally, there are many things to think about before you make your choice on what type of product to purchase.
In a very basic sense, you will need to think about how the social wall will be displayed at the venue and then craft a creative campaign to use the social wall for. There may even be many use-cases you have not yet considered, so it is important to explore all the options before you move forward so that you can be sure you are getting a social wall that will suit your needs.
What is a social wall?
Simply put, a social wall is a display of social content, usually in the form of a live-updating feed of posts, photos, videos, and text. It can pull content from a range of different platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, and more.
It provides a way for your event attendees to interact with your brand in real-time and gives you a visual footprint for the event itself that has exponentially more reach than you would have on your own.
Case study: Twitter at SXSW in 2007
Case in point: it is widely believed that Twitter was launched at Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in 2007. In actuality, it was launched some months before, but it was the way it was presented to festival-goers is what made it blow up.
Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, among other tech startups, created a campaign that was, arguably, the first iteration of the social wall. They made a deal with the festival to set up multiple screens in a heavily-trafficked hallway that displayed user tweets. Festival-goers were then encouraged to text the words ‘join SXSW’ to 40404, and their tweets would show up on the screens.
Prior to this event, Twitter had a volume of about 20,000 tweets per day. Following the event, that number tripled to 60,000 and has grown exponentially since. This event, though it happened a good two months following the actual launch of Twitter, has widely been seen as the birth of the Twitter brand – largely due to the success of the social wall at SXSW.
The evolution of the social wall
Though the first use-cases of the social wall were at events, the potential applications have evolved and expanded considerably since then.
Some of the specific social wall use cases include:
Corporations with Social Media War Rooms are able to watch what is being shared about their company online. It also allows them to monitor competitor activity and provide immediate customer support.
Internal Communications and people operations teams use social walls to improve morale at the office by showing customer content, comments, and so on. This establishes a running narrative that all stakeholders can access at any time.
Influence buying decisions at retail
Social walls have been very effective in influencing buying decisions in brick and mortar stores by showing authentic user content on digital screens. This provides validation for the customer and encourages them to engage with the brand beyond the sale.
Digital-out-of-home (DOOH) campaigns
DOOH campaigns take the ads off of social platforms and deliver them to the consumer in a contextual setting, such as in a restaurant, subway station or other public places. From a social wall standpoint, this kind of campaign leverages user-generated content (UGC) delivered through digital signage in bus stations, train stations, airports, and on billboards.
Why use a social wall?
There are plenty of very good reasons to invest in a social wall:
Increase audience engagement
Social walls have proven themselves as a very effective way to capture the imagination of event-goers and engage an audience in real-time.
Create a community
Encouraging engagement with social walls is a much less invasive and sales-averse way of connecting with customers – people who might otherwise tune out to conventional advertising. Learn how Bottlerock Music Festival was able to create a sense of community with their social wall:
Reach a wider audience
The potential for your reach to grow is incredible. Think about each person who actively engages with your brand and then consider their following, and so on; this is influencer marketing you simply cannot buy.
Revenue through sponsors
Sponsorship creates a potential revenue stream based on your social wall activity. From logo placement to co-branding, sponsorship mitigates or removes the cost of your social wall and turns it into a revenue-generating initiative.
Social proof for the event or a product
In today’s digitally-savvy landscape, social proof is important in the effort to elevate brand status. People respond more positively to brands who are active on social media and who engage with their followers. This can be tailored to an event, to a product launch or to a contest – the possibilities are virtually endless. Learn how LA Fashion Week provided social proof of their event using conversations on social:
Provide real-time updates
Social walls are highly visible components at any event. It displays user-generated posts in real-time, providing immediate interest for whatever it is you are promoting and encouraging people to contribute their own opinions, photos, and insights.
Lastly, but certainly not least, a social wall platform will deliver detailed analytics of all user activity, helping you establish ROI and tweak your future marketing campaigns.
Creative social wall ideas
Social walls are all about inspiring your audience. Taking a creative approach will help you stand out and linger in the imaginations of your users.
Some of the ways you could use a social wall to enhance your event include:
Partnering with sponsors on your social wall will help to generate revenue but it can also help you promote your hashtag and campaign. Your sponsored posts can also be designed to encourage the type of content you want your users to post and share.
A social wall is a great way to create a buzz about your event’s speakers, but it can also be a way to engage people who are not physically at the event by giving them access to the live stream of your speakers’ segment.
Social walls are perfect for running event contests and as we all know – everybody wants to win! Your social wall encourages engagement and creates a buzz, and you can even control the platforms from which the contest is run. Build excitement by featuring your contest winners’ accounts and content on your social wall.
Finding out what your customers are looking for, their likes, dislikes, and wishes for the future is priceless. Running a poll or survey on your social wall delivers these insights and boosts participation.
Answering your audience’s questions in real-time is a great way to ramp up the excitement. You can use it to pose questions for your featured speaker or to stimulate discussion on a topic.
Display speaker’s content
Connecting your speaker’s tweets to your social wall will ensure your attendees never miss a beat. Your speakers will love it too, because their posts will be exposed to thousands of event-goers, helping them gain more followers.
Run industry-specific news
Connect to other influencer’s feeds to provide your audience with interesting, topical, and curated content that they will love.
What to consider when choosing a social wall platform
So, now that you know what to do with your social wall, it’s time to think about the platform you will use to make it all happen. Since there are so many social wall platforms to choose from, it always helps to start your search by defining exactly what you need to accomplish.
Look for trusted companies that have been around for longer than three years. It’s simply not worth it to pinch pennies on a social wall only to have it fail to deliver the goods on the day of your event. Where is the company headquartered? Different time zones may impact support response times. Do they offer upgraded support packages? What are other customers saying about them on review sites like G2crowd? Have other marketers on your team used the software before? What has their experience been?
The price of your social wall platform should fit your event’s budget and it should be able to scale if you need it to. Other things to consider include: does the social wall provider charge per-screen, per event or per post? These issues matter, because depending on the number of screens, events or posts you are running, it may impact your budget. You might need your social wall to run all year, in which case you need to find out about long-term pricing options.
Will you need to handle both web and event use-cases? Do you want to use the content on a website or microsite? Will this be a solution that others on your marketing team will be able to use for other use-cases? If so, you could spread the cost out across multiple teams in order to reduce the impact on your budget.
The look of your social wall is very important, both to your brand aesthetic and to your customer. Choose a platform that looks professional and modern. Compare the theme and template options each provider offers by signing up for a trial. The look of your social wall makes a huge impression with eventgoers about the quality of the event.
You should be able to create consistent branding for your event, so it’s important to ensure that the social wall platform you choose will allow you to add your own logo and unique branding.
How does your content get to the screen? Are you a Mac user or do you use PCs? Your social wall platform should be compatible with the hardware at the event venue or with the digital signage software installed on the screens. Ask the venue technicians for these details so that you can make sure the platform you use is compatible. Some platforms have established partnerships with event and signage companies to increase their compatibility.
TINT social wall platform
Now that we’ve detailed all the issues you should consider when choosing a social wall platform, let’s look at the TINT platform itself.
TINT offers a customizable platform and pricing to suit your individual needs. A multi-faceted digital marketing platform, TINT offers a range of plans and engagement options for both project-based and long-term use. Leverage up to 25 feeds and customize themes to your branding. One of TINT’s big differentiators is that they allow you to redistribute your content back to your website or to your digital ads across the web.
Even though it may seem like an easy problem to solve, the world of social walls is incredibly complex.
If you would like to learn more about the best social wall for your business, get in touch today.