Major companies that are active on a number of social networks are setting a new trend. ‘Social Walls’ enable company staff and customers to keep up with brand activity across the social networks in real time.

Social Walls a Growing Trend for Highlighting Online Brand Action

Brands are stepping up their activities on social networks. Maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter and even Linkedin is potentially a good way for firms to get inside their customers’ heads. In order to make the most of their social network presence, companies such as Norauto, BNP Paribas (L'Atelier’s parent Group), Orangina and Citroën have now each decided to set up a single unifying platform to highlight their social network activity in real time. Some of these are aimed at company staff, others targeted at customers. Soft drinks company Orangina-Schweppes France has for example recently rolled out an ambitious project, creating an in-company dashboard. This platform draws together the various aspects of company life, shown on screens installed in various areas of the company’s headquarters, as Aline Bonnet, media strategy manager, explained to L’Atelier.

Brand platform, learning platform

The project was a challenge for the brand from a technological point of view and it took over a year to complete. “We had to decide on the right technology for our needs and then develop it as a real time facility,” explains Aline Bonnet. Social media content flows are relayed to the platform in real time. “The dashboard has a dual role: it highlights our brand presence on the social networks and also helps to educate our staff about what’s going on,” she underlines. Norauto, a company specialising in vehicle maintenance and equipment accessories, has also installed a physical wall at company headquarters built up of a number of screens which broadcast what is happening on the social networks in real time. Jérôme Dumont, head of communication at Norauto, sees this initiative as a way to “familiarise our staff with this new mode of expression and make customers’ views known right at the heart of the organisation.” The project, entitled ‘Social Experience’, is not entirely without risks for Norauto since the system does not allow for any modification of the content whatsoever. The brand simply decided that full transparency was the right way to go. “When someone passes through the entrance hall of the headquarters building, s/he has to be able to check that his/her message is up on the wall and that this isn’t simply a company self-promotion exercise,” stresses Aude Criqui, Norauto’s head of media relations.

Creating a long-lasting relationship with the customer

Social Walls are a new initiative and a new challenge for BNP Paribas, which has recently launched its own Social Wall drawing together content from both Twitter and Facebook and also from photo and visuals platforms Pinterest and Instagram. The wall can be seen by customers as well as staff. “Our primary aim is to demonstrate the consistency of what we are doing, highlighting all the events supported by our brand,” stresses BNP Paribas’ social media manager, Basile Segalen.  For example, the brand is a passionate supporter of both film – sponsoring various film festivals – and tennis, partnering with the French Open championships and many other tournaments and events.  This provides wonderful opportunities to cement customer loyalty and the BNP Paribas Group is therefore keen to exploit available digital content to the full. Car manufacturer Citroën has also created a real-time e-reputation showcase – the Citroën Social Club. In its flagship car showroom on the Champs-Elysées, the company has set up four screens showing a panorama of its life on the web. This is an opportunity to prove that Citroën is moving with the times and to illustrate its slogan: “Creative Technology.” As with the Norauto set-up, the screens broadcast unfiltered content, with the exception of any insulting remarks, which means that visitors can read anything and everything that is being said online about Citroën. “The Citroën showroom on the Champs-Elysées attracts five million visitors every year, and it’s very useful for the brand to enable interaction between the in-store public and the digital audience,” points out Gérald Coutant, of the French agency Jasper which set up the ‘Social Club’.

By Marion Auvray