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Digital signage has given companies and businesses so much more flexibility when it comes to creating advertisements.  Before the digital age, a sign didn’t have the potential to be anything more than words set to a picture.  Of course, those signs still possessed the ability to extend the reach of a business.  It’s just that digital signage allows an advertisement to do and say more than ever before.

The biggest difference is in terms of interactivity.  Businesses can now engage customers without needing an employee present.  There are many ways to go about interacting with potential customers.  Here are five great uses for digital signage:

1. Social media

Smart phones are quickly becoming the most important tool for both consumers and businesses.  They allow people to communicate in every way imaginable, and some applications allow them to be used as a sort of virtual wallet.  An increasing number of people are using social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, among others. Although these websites are meant to connect people with friends, companies have begun using them to interact with customers.

Digital signage can be used to display a business’ social networking information.  Many people love it when their favorite companies reach out to them on social networks; it creates a connection and a feeling that each individual is important to the company.  Interacting with customers on social networks is essentially free advertising, and acts as an extension of your digital signage.  If a company prominently displays its social networks, or even uses unique hashtags, customers will respond and interact.

2. Text messaging and email

At a glance, text messaging and email might sound similar to social media.  In a way, that’s true; cell phones and communication are still the main factors.  However, there are plenty of people who do not use social networks.  In order to reach as many people as possible, it is important to consider other options.

Much like with social media, a company can easily reach customers through its digital signage. For example, it can be  used to prompt customers to email or text the company to receive special offers or discounts. This allows businesses to draw customers in without spending money on advertisements.  Communicating with customers this way turns cell phones  or other mobile devices into extensions of digital signage.

3. Content from customers

One great thing about digital signage is the ability to display multiple images on one screen.  An interesting way to engage customers is to allow them to submit either photographs or kind words and display them around your business.  Photographs or statements demonstrating the usefulness of your product could act as free and honest advertisements.

Appearing on a television screen can be a small thrill for most people, and it can make them feel like an important part of your business.

4. Games and contests

Digital signage can also be used for fun and games.  Touch screens are extremely interactive and easy to use.  Having a few games for customers to play is a good way to ensure they enjoy their time at your place of business.  Games are particularly good for children, who might otherwise become bored or unruly.  Using screens to display a contest is another simple, yet effective idea.  If shoppers know they have a chance to win something, they might be willing to stick around longer than usual.

5. Suggestions

Digital signage can be used to suggest special offers or other pertinent information to potential customers.  The advantage of using digital signage to make these suggestions is that there is no voice attached to it.  Often times, customers can be wary of suggestions from employees; there always seems to be a “catch.”  With digital signage, recommendations can seem more innocent.  If the customer doesn’t feel pressured into making a decision, he/she is more likely to respond positively.