When helping to organise a friends Wedding, the now CTO of Eventstagram was tasked with finding a way to store and display wedding photos during the party. The immediate thoughts were that Instagram must be the best way to share photos at an event, but after an extensive search we found there were no current ways to display live photos on a big screen at event.
It didn’t take long for Ollie and I to research the market in more detail, analyse any current competitors and devise our lean business plan for a solution to fill this gap and provide a live photo display for events of all shapes and sizes.
With over 3 billion photos shared and an estimated 820 million daily active users, Instagram is by far and away the most popular method to share images. In addition it boasts a workable API and of course some fantastic looking photos with their highly recognisable filters.
We also knew that by using Instagram, which not only has become it’s own social network but also links directly to twitter and facebook, we could provide corporate events with the opportunity to build their social media impact during their event.
So, our answer was to build a web application that used Instagram hashtags to display slideshows of the photos guests were taking in real time on a TV or projector screen at the event. We wanted to make sure our web application was simple to use. We wanted to make it accessible to small events but also applicable to the largest corporate events in the world. And from there Eventstagram was born – a live photo display tool for events.
How We Did It
We are now 3 months since the official launch of Eventstagram, and are seeking some seed investment. We have taken some early revenue, been featured in a number of industry press and made some high profile customers very happy. So here are a few tips on how we got to this stage.
1. Set Out Our Strategy
We decided we wanted to focus on Eventstagram on three key aspects and by doing this we knew we would be able to fill the current hole in the events market and drive a successful business:
1. Looks. Our live photo slideshows will always look more beautiful, more consistent and more professional than any other alternatives.
2. Brains. We don’t want to just be a pretty face. We want to continue innovating, and finding new features. We have added the ability to customise slideshow templates, have plans to integrate other photo sharing methods and have add on products such as analytic dashboards, photo books and web widgets in the pipeline.
3. Personality. Our service is really important to us. We treat each customer separately and work closely with them to create unique live feeds specifically for their event.
2. Build The Right Product
Once we established this vision it was down to building Eventstagram. We are big believers in the lean startup movement and launched our first product in it’s most basic form in order to gauge customer reaction. We feel this is important for all start ups. Not only does it allow you to assess your assumptions regarding the marketplace before you invest heavily into it, it also means you can adapt your product on the basis of real feedback and demand for your product.
So our first site was live by the end of September 2012 with an initial prototype that allowed users to create a free photo slideshow. Between then and now we have reassessed our offering a number of times through customer feedback, web analytics and some of our own gut feel.
Eventually we have ended up with a product range that starts with a free Bronze package offering a 6 hour Instagram slideshow with 500 photos. Also live and available to purchase is a $50 Silver package aimed at Wedding and Party organisers. It provides 6 hours playback time, the ability to ban photos after they are shown and tag a maximum of 1,000 photos.
In addition we also have available custom packages for larger events. True to our personality we work closely with each of our customers to develop them a specific photo slideshow that allows them to display their guests Instagram photos in the exact way they would like, with any added features they require.
3. In The Right Places
From the moment we first researched the events industry we knew our market was huge. Eventstagram can be used at weddings, parties, sports stadiums, restaurants, bars, night clubs, theme parks, tourist attractions, balls, concerts, festivals, trade shows, exhibitions and conferences to name a few! As we couldn’t effectively target all of these markets at once we focused on getting Eventstagram’s photo slideshows in the right places from the start. We believed this would allow us to establish our brand and entice future customers through exposure at these large events.
We therefore begun directly approaching key clientele. This has proved successful with clients such as Elle Magazine, Gloucester Rugby Club, The Gadget Show Live, LA Auto Show and Clockenflap Festival Hong Kong all coming on board in the first few months of business. With these high profile customers on our roster we have found an element of word of mouth has already attracted similar clients, as well as increasing our impact when talking to new contacts.
In terms of marketing the product we also focused on being in the right places. We gained some early traction from a number of articles in events press and have continued to work on the PR side of marketing the business as we have seen this as a vital method for increasing traffic to the site.
By the end of January we hope to launch our Gold package, targeted at corporate event managers, and which vitally allows them to customise the template of the photo slideshow. Our online editor will enable users to change background colours and images, add logos and edit fonts. It will mean that events can integrate a live photo slideshow into their overall branding, play the feed for up to 24 hours and moderate the images by approving them before they are shown.
But we certainly don’t want to stop here. Our product is ever expanding.
One of our biggest features will be a social analytic dashboard for larger brands and events. This dashboard will detail the outreach of each photo, allow event managers to interact directly with users and show events their most influential guests. But we also have many other ideas including photo book printing for weddings, web widgets of the live slideshows for corporate events, automatic commenting and photo downloads.
In terms of our customer base that is also increasing. We have had some high profile sign ups already in 2013 and we are looking to grow throughout the year with more and more events focusing on the need to provide interactive content for their guests, and generate more of an impact on social media.