Today Columbus, OH-based startup VenueSeen launched its new Instagram campaign management platform, VenueSeen Campaigns, which gives brands the ability to run hashtag-driven campaigns on the photo-sharing platform. VenueSeen is a product of FlyMuch, and launched in April to give brands insights into photos posted by customers at their retail locations, and added Instagram integration in June. Today’s campaign platform allows companies to create branded microsites featuring photos taken by customers, with the ability to collect and export customer data.
“We kept hearing the question, ‘so what?’ in regards to social media, how do we get to monetization, how do we get to the next transaction, or some little business goal that’s driven from the top-down,” CEO Brian Zuercher said in an interview. “They needed to connect end-to-end and engage in a conversation and we sought out to solve the problem of building a system that allows you to manage the photos to publish, how do you put them somewhere for the brand to display, and lastly how do you invite consumers to interact.”
Brands get set up by connecting their Instagram account, determining a hashtag they want to monitor, and designating a place to display the photos (a sub-domain or completely new website). As people take photos on Instagram that are tagged with that hashtag, VenueSeen aggregates those photos to a branded page where companies can accept or reject photos to display. There is also commenting functionality so companies can auto-comment on photos to let the user know their photo was put up on the site, and to invite them to check it out. Consumers can then authenticate the photo as theirs and sign up for a promotional contest and other perks, and companies can export their data.
VenueSeen charges a custom price for each campaign, taking into accounts things like the duration of the campaign, whether it’s one-off or ongoing, the scope and size of the campaign, and whether there is a transactional component to drawing users to their sites, be it building an email list or holding a contest or promotion.
The company also still provides its existing suite of monitoring services to pull in photos associated with a brand’s retail locations, or with a specific hashtag. VenueSeen is claiming it’s the first Instagram campaigns tool, and while there are countless agencies that will work with brands to create these kind of microsites or social media campaigns, the company’s focus on being DIY, and its focus on Instagram, could set it apart. There are already companies like the Four Season running similar hashtag-driven Instagram promotions on their website using the company’s API, but VenueSeen could be an alternative for marketers that want a plug-and-play solution.
The company is looking to provide similar monitoring and campaign management tools for video as well, although Zuercher maintains that photo and video have their own place. “I think video is interesting, but it’s different, and something we’re trying to get ahead of the curve on,” he said. While the campaigns tool could be a way for brands to connect around their Instagram communities, time will tell whether users will jump on board with the idea of branded photos, and whether companies will look for an Instagram-specific tool as opposed to a broader social media campaign builder.