The Silver Screen and the Second Screen


As technology becomes more widespread, our attention spans are only getting shorter. The simple act of watching TV is punctuated by social media, online shopping, mobile games & more. Now over 84% of US tablet and smartphone users are on these devices while they watch TV, if they haven’t cut the cord all together. While this may seem like a hurdle for cable networks to overcome, it provides powerful opportunities to keep viewers engaged.

The Second Screen Done Right


Carefully crafting interactive apps and cultivating conversations on social media allows cable networks to keep viewers’ focus squarely on their shows, sometimes far beyond the half hour to hour that each episode airs. One show that excels using this strategy is AMC’s The Walking Dead. Their Story Sync app shares prediction polls, photos, trivia, quotes and looks back at previous episodes. Admittedly, though an avid viewer, I’ve never used the Story Sync app, though I consider downloading it during the reminder aired before each episode. On the other hand, I do stay connected to social media, particularly Twitter, while I watch The Walking Dead, tweeting my reactions and refreshing my feed to see comments from others. And I’m not alone; 391,210 tweets were posted as the mid-season premier aired in February.

Perhaps the most convincing evidence of the value of second screen activity comes from this year’s Academy Awards. In addition to the “Selfie Seen Around the World,” it’s been revealed that female viewers who used Twitter during the 2014 Oscars stayed tuned for 39% longer than those who did not tweet. Now rather than being a distraction, the second screen has become an extension of traditional media, allowing viewers to view exclusive content and express their thoughts long before the next day’s water cooler chats.

The Small Business Connection

Similar to second screen relationships cable networks are building with their viewers, you must develop strategies to connect with your customers digitally, even while they are in your physical store or location. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Dressing Room Reminders:

    Own a clothing store or boutique? Hang a sign in the dressing room reminding shoppers to post pictures of their favorite outfits to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget to provide your handle, page name, and hashtag so they’ll know how to tag you!

  • Selfie Stations:

    Set up a “Selfie Station” in your store where customers can talk interesting and branded selfies. I recently saw a fun example of this at Orange Leaf frozen yogurt. To promote their new Pistachio flavor, they created a character shaped like a pistachio named Mr. Mustachio. They then used window clings of a picture frame, glasses, and a moustache and invited guests to “Mustache Themselves.” Pictures that have been shared on social media are now integrated into their website for a full circle offline and online experience.

  • Table Tents and Menus:

    Subtle reminders can also be placed on table tents and at the bottom of menus at restaurants, simply displaying the logos and usernames for your social platforms hints to diners that they should tweet at you during their meal or Instagram a particularly delicious looking meal and make all their friends jealous!

The Silver Screen and the Second Screen
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The Silver Screen and the Second Screen
Cable networks are capitalizing on second screen experiences and so too should small businesses. Learn how to engage customers mobily in the moment.

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