It’s bound to happen sooner or later: somewhere, someone in your company is going to pose the question of whether or not to put the blue F, the blue bird & the blue in on your outdoor signage. It is certainly the trendy thing to do. You can’t flip a channel without three commercials flashing the icons indicating they have an active presence on social media. More and more, they flash a #hashtag (social media joke) in attempts to trigger a keyword as a keypoint in a conversation.
Is it the proper thing to do?
Such a question doesn’t have a definitive “yes” or “no” answer. There are many determining factors that go into whether or not to plop the icons on your signage. For us, at this time, we do not have the icons on our outdoor signage - yet. Not saying that we wouldn’t, but to say we do not have them.
Below is a list of questions to ask yourself before deciding to put the social media iconography, links and hashtags on your store signs.
If your first answer to the question is, “yeah, we have ‘the Twitter,’” you might want to reconsider putting the social media references on your sign. The only thing more distracting than too many call-to-actions on a sign is a call-to-action that goes to inactive pages. Social media users don’t like being sent to pages that aren’t active. It is a waste of time. Taking the 30 minutes to set up the accounts one day does not make a company active in social media.
Now, if you are engaged in social media: post updates, reply to customers, share others stuff with some semblance of frequency, then putting social media icons on your store sign becomes a better idea.
Not every market niche is active in social media. We know it sounds like heresy, but it’s true. For example, an accounting office who wants to give off a distinguished presence might not want an illuminated Google Plus G next to their polished backlit channel signs. They might decide instead to give such declarations on the website and brochures.
An off hours medical clinic might not want to put too many call-to-actions on their sign outside of their office hours, phone numbers and where to park so as to make it easier for patients in emergency situations to get where they need to go. Someone needing stitches might not have enough healthy opposable thumbs at the time to check into FourSquare via Instagram to syndicate pictures of the occasion until after they having first checked into the office and given their insurance information.
Does your sign have a digital message board? Or does it have a way to update the message? A business might find it more worth their time to put their social media presence on their message board. Once they get used to it, they might use it to announce coupon codes as hashtags.
If you run a restaurant, you should want to encourage individuals to locate you on Yelp! or Google Plus Local to leave a review or read the reviews of others. More visitor activity on those pages lead to better search rankings in those spaces. The same goes for other B2C stores. Customers find businesses on Yelp! using keyword searches. Customers can do that with Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus as well, though those platforms also have pretty URLs available as well.
If you have an active website that is branded throughout your marketing efforts, individuals can find your social media links on your site as well - provided you have placed them there. If you have brochures, you can put the your social media addresses as well the icons in your contact section. Customers can find your social media presence in other areas of your marketing efforts provided the process is solid. Better than that, provided your social media community manager is solid.
In the end, do you want to funnel them to your store or on social media? If you have space on your sign to sneak them in so folks can search, then you are fortunate. If you don’t have as much place, you probably shouldn’t sacrifice your branding and CTA to show the Twitter bird. In the end, your signage should promote your business, not Facebook.
As you can see, there’s no one-answer-fits-all. But we hope these help you put some serious consideration into what you decide to do. And if you have any questions, contact us. We’ll help you out.
photo credit: mkhmarketing.wordpress.com