Most dealers' use of social media stops once a customer goes through the front door. But a New York-based company called Spectrio is developing a way for dealers to employ their efforts on Twitter, Facebook, and related sites inside the showroom.

Spectrio—direct descendent of a 30-year-old firm that produced marketing messages for when a phone-in customer was on hold—has created a system that enables dealers to show on big-screen TVs a mix of current news, entertainment features, vendors' video ads, local information, and dealers' social media messages. Spectrio has signed up Ridgefield (Conn.) Supply and Economy Lumber of Campbell, Calif., as customers through an arrangement with Lumbermens Merchandising Corporation, but CEO Aaron Kleinhandler stresses that any construction supply operation can subscribe.

Such systems have been technologically possible for several years, but only recently have costs for flat-panel screens, wiring, and information dropped to the point where they're feasible for small business, Kleinhandler says. Spectrio's programming generally costs between $75 and $150 a month. Some customers update their information weekly while others do it monthly, he says. The outside feeds are refreshed at least daily, and dealers' messaging can be varied by time of day—permitting a yard, for instance, to program ads for contractor products in the early morning and for DIY customers in the afternoon.

"A lot of companies spend money to get people into their doors, but not once they're in," Kleinhandler says. "This is an inexpensive way to create marketing."