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Understanding the value of social media photo kiosks

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I'm sure you've heard that quote a million times, and if you've made it this far in life I'm sure you have an idea what it means. Right? Yes, it means while you think I look ridiculous wearing my Vibram 5 finger toe shoes, I think I should be on the cover of a fitness magazine. (Maybe not, but I loooove these shoes). Anyway, the same concept applies for what people are willing to pay for. Just like beauty, value is also in the eye of the beholder. People will only pay for things that they value.  If someone doesn't find value in what you are selling or the service you offer, they won't buy. It's why Eskimos don't buy ice (get it?). It's also why you'll buy a $5 bottle of water because it supposedly came from some remote water spring. It's also why you'll pay more for anything that your told is healthy for you. You value "clean water" sources and a healthy lifestyle, so you'll pay.  

Finding value in the event photo industry

Value is subjective and changes from person to person & business to business. Fortunately, in our industry of event photo professionals, there are constants. These constants are the type of clients we engage with and the types of events we do.

Social Events

On one spectrum we have events that are mainly "social" in nature. We'll call these social events. Social events include birthday parties, weddings, proms, office parties, etc. These events are strictly for the enjoyment of event guests with no additional motives or intent.  People planning social events won't typically see the value in purchasing social media sharing for their event guests. Why should they? They typically don't care that the photos can be instantly uploaded to social media, but they might think it's cool. They don't care that you can collect email addresses. They already know everyone who is invited. More than likely you are providing prints and the client planning the social events will feel that taking photos and providing prints is enough. Why would they pay you extra to give guests the ability to share? They won't. I'm not saying they never willbut typically social event clients won't see how spending that extra money will benefit them.

Marketing Events

On the other spectrum you have marketing events. Marketing event clients  procure your services as a tool to "amplify the reach" of their event. Examples are trade shows, festivals, etc. If their is a company behind it, and it's not a holiday or office party, you can define it as a marketing event. Clients running these type of events typically care about impressions, capturing data, and maximizing their online exposure. Which are all benefits you can provide your client by using social media photo kiosks like PicPic Social. *wink wink* Because these clients value the marketing potential more than the social event clients, you are better positioned to charge for the social media photo kiosk.  

So how much should I charge?

Charge according to the value you provide. Yikes! Don't look at me with those daggers in your eyes. Just keep reading.

Social event pricing

In my opinion, for social events you should include social media kiosks as an add on service at no charge -- as long as you are covering your costs. Preposterous you say? Not really. At social events, you gain more value than your client by having the social media kiosk there. Remember, social event clients don't typically care about getting photos instantly to social media, so there isn't any real value in it for then. The true value is in it for your own company. Here is why.
  • It's "free" marketing - I put free in quotes because there are costs associated with the software. However, everyone who shares a photo at the event is your billboard. When guests share to social media, you are increasing your online visibility and increasing your name recognition. Leasing a billboard for 1 month is an easy $1000 in some locations. Compare that to using PicPic Social Event Cloud at $49/month.
  • You should be building your e-mail list - If you're not doing email marketing now, you're missing out on a huge potential for more business. You should have your social media photo kiosk at every event so that everyone who uses it is added to your opt-in marketing list. As a business, having a list is very valuable. You can reach out to this list to remind them of what your company does and let them know of any specials you are running. If you do 12 events per year and capture 200 emails per event, that's 2400 email people on your email list.  Of this 2400, you should be able to book 1 person from your email list alone. These are low end numbers, so the more events you do, the more people you get on your list. The more people on your list, the more leads you have.
 

Marketing event pricing

The waters here get a little dicy so it's difficult to give numbers. But I will say, don't sell yourself short and make sure you cover your costs. You have costs associated with software, insurance, hardware, data coverage, staff, cost of living,  etc. All of this should be factored in when doing basic pricing for any service you provide. Companies spend thousands per month on social media marketing. Don't give it away for free (unless it's rolled into your pricing some how) and don't give it away for $100. Businesses understand social media marketing and the value behind it. Why else is Facebook valued at over a billion dollars? There are a lot of major players whose event photo company make mid six - seven figures per year. A few example are the The Bosco , Polite in Public, Picture MarketingMir Mir and a host of others. You may not be at their level, but understand these companies prices tend to start pricing at $3000 per event.

In conclusion

You might get burned the first few times pricing out social media but remember, you get more out of having social media kiosks at your social events. If your client doesn't see the value, bring the kiosk anyway and make the social media kiosk work for you. For corporate clients, you need to understand what your client values, so ask questions. To charge according to the value you provide, you'll also need to act as a consultant, so you need to know what your client is talking about when they start throwing marketing speak at you. The more you know the better so reading marketing blogs is a great way to familiarize yourself with the needs of your marketing clients.