By Jessica Gonzalez, founder and CEO of InCharged
Photo booths, selfie stations -- whatever you call them, they're here to stay. If your event doesn't have a designated area where your guests can snap and share photos, you're missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your brand visibility both online and off.
With the proper setup, not only will your guests have a blast taking photos, but they'll also be excited to share them with their network -- increasing your reach in the process. Here are some quick tips to make sure your guests are psyched to snap and share.
Make a sign.
The first step is also the easiest. Sometimes all your guests need is a reminder to snap a selfie. Hang a sign in a scenic spot. For bonus points, use a branded frame that includes your logo or hashtag.
Create a backdrop.
The ideal selfie station is central enough for guests to see, but not in the way of the natural flow of the space. Don't stick it right by the door, but try placing it close to an area where all guests will pass by, like next to the registration desk. If your event is at a naturally gorgeous spot, this step is easy: You just need to pick a good area to hang your signage (see above).
If your space isn't photogenic, a red carpet is a tried-and-true option to make your guests feel like they're on the A-list. Plus, it's another opportunity to place your (or your sponsor's) logo in a high-traffic area. If you're going for a bohemian vibe, try a flower wall, a row of balloons or even a custom backdrop printed with your theme, artwork or branding.
Not only do props make for fun photos, but they can also be a great icebreaker for guests who are a little more camera shy. Purchase novelty items from party stores, or ask if your photo booth provider offers them as an optional extra. With just a simple internet search, you can find just about anything -- from custom-printed sunglasses to themed items and witty signs. If you're feeling creative, you could even have your graphic design team whip up their own and have them printed on heavy-duty cardstock.
Make it easy to use.
The simplest option is to set the stage for your guests to use their own smartphones. But if you want to step it up a notch, renting a photo booth is more affordable than you may think. Some come with an operator who will stay onsite to make sure everything flows properly, and others are so simple you just have to plug them in and turn them on.
When making your choice, be sure to take your audience into consideration. Go with something that is foolproof, easy to use and that takes quality photos. Make sure your solution has a high-quality camera, an easy-to-use interface and proper lighting for a flattering and professional effect. The last thing you want is guests growing frustrated with your equipment or cringing at unflattering photos.
Offer built-in sharing options.
If you're going with a photo booth rental, consider choosing a model that has built-in sharing options. With a few clicks, your guests can have their photo uploaded to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter -- dramatically increasing your online footprint while also making it easy for guests to snag a digital copy.
Online visibility is important, but the novelty of old-school printed photos still hasn't worn off. Some photo booths have built-in printers with the ability to add a branded frame or additional artwork. Another high-tech option is a hashtag printer: These gadgets are configured to print any photo that is shared on Instagram with a hashtag of your choice -- so not only will guests get prints of photos from your photo booth, but they can also get prints of any photos they share at your event.
The bottom line? Creating a selfie station is all about making it fun and easy for your guests. Simple upgrades like signs or fun props can make all the difference, and technology can make the entire experience hassle-free.
Jessica Gonzalez is founder of InCharged, cellphone charging stations where consumers plug in their cellphone and sponsors can present non-obtrusive messaging.