Great Social Media Idea: Valentine's Photo Booth

Well... I just got home from watching my beloved Trailblazers lose a heartbreaker to the San Antonio Spurs, so I have neither the time nor the patience to sift through all the brilliant social media posts today by all you wonderful #hesm folks.

So what do I do when I don't feel like doing any perusing? Why, I write about myself! Because this is my blog, and I like being the center of attention sometimes. ("I'm the center of attention in the walls inside my head, and no one will ever know it if I keep my mouth shut tight...") Sigh. I used to love Guster.

So what is this idea of mine? Well... nothing all that original, alas, but darn it if it wasn't a huge hit on the old UP Facebook page: a Valentine's Photo Booth.

Several hundred students got their pictures taken, and when we posted them on Facebook they pretty much blew up immediately - pushing 100,000 photo views (for a page with 15K fans), thousands of likes and comments, hundreds of photo tags... and a reach several times the size of our page. All in all, a huge success. (As always, major credit belongs to UP's ace photographer, and the unfortunate person who has to share an office with me, Jeff Kennel. Also props to student worker extraordinaire Slaine Kelly.)

We pulled it off by setting up a white back drop in a high-traffic area in the main cafeteria for a few hours during lunch on Feb. 13, and we came prepared with a bunch of props... mainly hand-made by some fabulous students, but also some dollar store treasures too.

We promoted it a bit on social media the day before and during the shoot, but for the most part we just captured passers-by and relied on word-of-mouth. 

One key to our success in doing shoots like this is collecting the names of all the students who got their pics taken. That way, I can send an email to all of them once the photos are posted to let them know they are up and to encourage them to tag themselves and their friends. This is an often overlooked part of doing photo shoots - it's crucial to get names to you can let them know to find the pictures once they are posted.

I've always been a huge proponent of doing photo shoots like this - students have fun with it, and they love, love, love tagging themselves and their friends and sharing the photos once they are posted. Students love having their pictures taken by a professional photographer, and having the props makes it fun and breaks down the psychological barrier some people have when it comes to getting their pictures taken. (They don't like just standing in front of a white background, but give them something silly to hold? Game on.)

But more than anything, doing things like this regularly gives students the impression that things "happen" on campus - fun things that they want to be involved in and that aren't only academic. My ultimate hope is that students will think it is, for lack of a better word, cool that their school does stuff like this.

Something like this can easily be done for any holiday - just make the appropriate props and have at it. Promotion can be minimal, especially if you set up in a high traffic area, and it won't take long for you to get plenty of pictures. For this one, we got well over 100 pics in maybe 2-3 hours.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, students enjoyed it, and the metrics show that it was a hit... can't ask for much more with a social media promotion.

Finally, I leave you with a valentine from me to my faithful readers... much love to you all!

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