I love sharing what I learn about using social media to reach more people for my church and this concept is one smart social media marketing tactic that most churches of any sizes can implement. When I first thought about using a photo booth as a tactic I didn’t think it would be the huge success that it was.
A few years ago we decided to start doing photo booths at our large outreach services such as Christmas, Easter, Mothers and Fathers Day. Initially because we were on a very tight budget we decided to upload the photos onto Flickr so that our church community could download their photos and print them out themselves.
At the time I thought about putting the photos onto Facebook as a tactic to reach their friends of friends, but we were just getting started and Flickr seemed like an easier first step.
For the last few large outreach opportunities we have switched to making the portraits available on Facebook and to be honest I’ve been blown away by the success of it. The reach and engagement was massive. Why? Because we used our greatest asset, our community to reach their Facebook friends by them tagging themselves. Not only do their friends love seeing family moments, they also engage with the photos which spreads our reach to their friends and networks too.
Here are the results:
- 2.4K unique users
- 4.0K unique interactions
- 198.9K impressions
Another reason why I love the photo booth concept is that usually churches present themselves in a very formal preachy way. This repositions our church in people’s minds. A family friendly place where their friends attend.
How to set up a photo booth and leverage social media
1. Get the gear
You don’t need a fancy set up, you can have a simple DSLR camera with a few props. Just make sure it is simple to shoot and their aren’t any shadows. Lots of light is needed. Ensure that your camera battery will last and that you have plenty of space on your cards. You may also connect it into LightRoom like our team does and displays it on the side of the booth so that people can see the shots as they go on a large monitor.
Your props can be simple costumes or hipster style props. Just google photo booth props and you will get the idea. My team and I just celebrated all our church’s volunteers at our volunteer launch and did the photo booth ourselves this time.
2. Build the volunteer team
My team consists of:
1) Photography team leader: He is the point person for me, he organises and co-ordinates the photo booth.
2) Photographer(s) We have a few awesome photographers, both amateur and professional who shoot for us. They come up with the concept for the booth.
3) A queue co-ordinator: People need to sign a photo release form so that we can put their image on our social network. Download this free photo release template that we created. You will need to check the legality in your legal jurisdiction.
4) A props person. Helps organise and provide the props for the group in advance to ensure the fastest turnover.
3. Create the atmosphere/theme
Your photo booth needs to ooze fun and atmosphere. People need to be able to relax, blow off some steam and have a bit of fun. It is what makes it such a good experience. That means having a great theme, getting the right props and creating a backdrop that supports it all.
4. Have a system
We have a system that the team all know. They manage the process and once all the photos are collated they are processed and uploaded into a Google Drive. Because the processing is done later it is one of the easiest ways to move the files around and view them privately.
If you have the time and people you can also have someone processing the photos as you go (Just swap the SD cards or if you have a wireless connection to your connection from your camera – bravo). This saves time and you can save the lower resolution photos to a thumb-drive to upload later.
5. Create a Facebook album
All I have to do is upload the photos from Google Drive into a Facebook Album. Once the album is created I upload them as I get the batches from the photographers. You can’t schedule posts for Albums in Facebook, but it doesn’t matter. The word just spreads and they are already looking for it and tag themselves. We do it in batches because of the sheer numbers that we have to process.
Pro tip: If there are key people who you already know go and tag them. Also email your whole staff and invite them to tag their friends. This accelerates the reach.
6. Watch the reach explode
It may be slow to start off, but once people start commenting and engaging with the antics in the photos (Because aren’t all photo booths fun right?) your reach will start to explode. I remember seeing a family from Egypt comment on a particular family. There were over 50 likes and comments. Huge reach of our brand into another part of the world. Amazing.
What tactics or tips do you have that will help supercharge someone’s social media? Got any questions about my photo booth or how we use social media? Comment below.