As portable photo booths have matured and begun to cross over from a nice to have to a must have at social events we are now looking for the next big thing. In the latter part of 2012 we saw a trend start among photo booth owners, social media kiosks. Yes as the markets have started to fill and become quite competitive. Some have even begin to hit saturation leaving photo booth owners looking for differentiation.
Social media kiosks have been filling this for some. You might be thinking to yourself what is a social media kiosk and where do I get one? Simply put they are a dedicated location setup to provide guests with the ability to share their photos on their social network profiles.
During the rise of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and others there has been an emphasis on media sharing and API’s (Application Programming Interface) to easily facilitate this. What? If you didn’t quite follow that last statement don’t fret as it is not the important part.
Having an easy way for your booth’s guests to share their photos is what is most important and thankfully for us a few have taken this bull by the horn.
Why does my photo booth need social media?
Social media apps make it easy for your clients/guests share fun photos with their friends and family. They want to share their photos from your photo booth with everyone. So make it easy for them to. If you do not they will resort to snapping photos of their prints from your photo booth with their phones (you know you've witnessed this before) and posting them that. This is bad for you as a business owner as you have just missed an opportunity to get in front of hundreds or even thousands of potential clients. So don't make them resort to this, give them an easy way to share your product with everyone they know. This is where social media kiosk can help.
As one prominent vendor states “Social Media Kiosk put your customer at the center of the experience to create an emotional connection with your brand.” Sounds scary, but in reality this is a good thing. You want your guests to remember you, how you made it easy for them to share the memory.
How do they work?
At the core social media kiosks aggregate photos, connect to social networks and provide users with a simple way to share the photos to their social profiles.
What are my options?
Today there are only two products currently that are primarily focused on the portable photo booth industry. These are Photo Booth Connected and Photo Party Upload. I will quickly touch on how each of these work as they take two very different approaches.
Photo Booth Connected
Photo Booth Connected (PBC) is a Windows based software that communicates with your photo booth computer over either a wireless or wired network. Two computers, the one in your photo booth and a second for the kiosk. This is the bare minimum setup. If you wish to use reprints from the kiosk you'll need another printer.
At a high level Photo Booth Connected monitors the shared directory on your photo booth computer (this is your output directory of photo booth software) and when a new image file is added it downloads it to the kiosk computer. From there it presents the photos to users where they can interact with them. You have full set of features that can be turned on and off in the software such as: Facebook integration (client & guest), Twitter, Email, SMS, updload to FTP or Smugmug.
It is recommended that you use a touch enabled all-in-one computer for the kiosk. You can find lots of great deals on Amazon.
For more information on Photo Booth Connected visit their website at www.photoboothconnected.com and watch for an upcoming review of the product here.
Photo Party Upload
Photo Party Upload (PPU) is also a Windows based software but works in a much different manner than (PBC). Photo Party Upload uses the popular iPad (you may have heard of it before) for sharing. A simple setup requires one computer (your photo booth's), an iPad and a wireless router (with Windows 7 you can make your PC a wireless hotspot here is a Lifehacker article on how to do it).
You are free to add as many iPads as you like. One nice thing about this setup is that you can make use of the printer in your photo booth when using PPU as a reprint station. You just need to make sure that you have your traffic flows worked out to keep the line moving.
It is advisable to have a stand or mount of sorts for your iPad(s). One of my favorites is the Thought Out Stabile one (pictured below).
Let's Wrap This Up
A couple quick notes in wrapping up. First, both products will work with any photo booth software on the market. Yes this includes Breeze, Photoboof and Sparkbooth. Second, if you use Macs you can still leverage both options by running Windows in a Virtual Machine using programs like Parallels or VMware's Fusion.
Hopefully you can now see that a social media kiosk can add a lot of value to your photo booth business and help to make a stronger connection between you and your booth's guests. Watching people laugh and be entertained as they interact with your kiosk cannot be beat. At the end of the day we are in the entertainment business.
Not too mention you can drop more money to your business's bottom line for a minimal investment. There is no reason you shouldn't be able to fetch $200 or more per gig with this add-on service. So that is it, let's get social in 2013!
What do you think about the trend of social media kiosk? Leave a comment or join this discussion in our photo booth forums.