Make True 360º Pano Photos With Just Your Smartphone

Make True 360º Pano Photos With Just Your Smartphone

Google Street View has a long history dating back to 2007 when it launched in the United States on May 25 using Immersive Media technology. In 2010 Google invited businesses to take part in the action and made available indoor views of businesses. In fact, Google invited users to contribute panoramas of their own using gadgets loaded with Android 4.2 (otherwise known as Jelly Bean). Google highlighted user-contributed panoramas with blue circle icons on Google Maps. All of that plus some meant nothing to most business though until about a year ago when Google released the free Photo Sphere app now known as Street View app. The app allows you to easily take 360º Google Street View images with just your built-in smartphone camera and then post them on public Google Maps archives.

Until now though there have been no social media platforms taking advantage of this incredible tool. That is until Facebook publicly introduced their 360 photo capability on June 9, 2016.

Immediately businesses, social media marketers and consumers alike began posting panoramic photos of everything from catching big waves in Tahiti to flying with the Blue Angels to a backstage tour of Walt Disney World Studios, using minimal “equipment” but delivering in a quasi-VR wide-screen effect. At the time though what seemed to go unnoticed is that this new Facebook feature also accepted Google Street View images created using the aforementioned app.

So sure you can purchase expensive gear like the Ricoh Theta, Samsung Gear 360, or the GoPro Omni, but it is really the photo-stitching tool of Street View that utilizes your smartphone camera and creates an amazing result with little effort.

Pano Shots

Once I had downloaded the Street View app for my iPhone 6 I was able to quickly give access to both my camera and my photo album and instantly begin taking panoramic photos. To capture a 360º image of my house and yard I spent just at three minutes rotating in a circle (looking rather silly I imagine), aligning my phone’s camera with the app’s 360˚ markers, and creating the panorama I wanted to show the world.

Pano Pic 2

The app only takes 2-3 minutes to stitch the images together and once it does, it automatically saves the image to your phone’s photo album for posting on Facebook. NOTE: You need to have your settings so they allow Street Views to access both your camera and your photos. You also need to have the most recent version of the Facebook app. As one would imagine the app also works best in wide open spaces where you can turn 360º without your point-of-view changing.

SEE THE FINAL 360º PANORAMA PICTURE ON FACEBOOK

The question remains though. What does this have to do with a social media strategy or furthering your businesses brand? It is no secret that Facebook has long been the top choice of social media for business. It provides a number of ways for brands to engage their target market, build advocates, promote products, and reach a wider audience. 360º pano pics allow businesses to deliver a “behind the scenes” cinematic experience. The photos directly place your target audience in the center of the action.
Imagine you are a tiny house builder and have just completed a new model you are most proud of. You can capture the interior of the home with 360º and post it on Facebook to be seen by your followers as well as shared by countless others. If you are a clothing boutique you can engage potential customers by giving them a sense of the style and ambiance your shop has to offer them. It is virtual reality in a consumable state. Brands that are looking to expand their social media marketing in Portland can deepen the connection and marketing communications with their audience in Bangor by mixing content that on one hand tells compelling stories while then presenting stunning 360º visual. It is the ultimate backstage pass!
What are you waiting for? Right now it is essentially an untapped form of marketing to a number of businesses. Grab your smartphone, download the Street View app, and start creating some incredible content. If you want to consult with me on how you can include 360º pano photos as well as other forms of content into your current marketing strategy, contact me directly.