I’ve been using 360 photos (taken with the affordable Ricoh Theta S camera) for a variety of clients for the past 2 years. It’s an incredible way to get exposure both on the Facebook feed, which favours 360 content and on Google Maps which also naturally features 360 images.
Here’s my workflow to take, upload & use 360 photos.
1° Take the photos with my Theta S camera
The camera is connected to my iphone through its own wifi network (you’ll find the password for the Ricoh Theta S network under your camera).
I’m using the Theta S iphone app to take the photos, in a snap. Just pay attention at the lighting in the room since some Led spots can generate nasty lines in your 360 photos.
You can use a tripod stand to take the photo at the proper height.
2° Transfer photos from the camera to your phone
You do it via the app. After transfer, delete the photos from the camera to free storage space.
3° Upload photos to the cloud (Dropbox, Google Drive,…).
This way you can always access your 360 photos for all types of usage (and share them with your colleagues / clients).
4° From your phone, upload to Google Map
I usually disconnect my Theta S before the upload. Otherwise the phone is by default connected to the Theta S (and I prefer to upload content from my local camera roll). To make sure that your photos are properly attributed, don’t forget to mark the location of each photo before uploading it to Google Map. If the content is meant to be connected to a local business, you’ll easily find the exact location via the app if the business has an official page on Google.
You can also link a photo to any known address (useful for real estate / construction companies). Straight after the upload, you’ll be able to view the photos on any Google Maps client, incl. the web app on desktop.
From the desktop web app in the browser you can copy-paste an embed code to display 360 images on other websites. See for instance this photo I took on Dec 18, 2015 in a small Turkish restaurant in Putney, London (less than 2 years ago upon writing). It has garnered 8,398 views so far, just organically on Google!
You’ll see the Google Maps view stats for all your 360 photos via your profile in the Google Street View app. Right now the photos on my personal profile are approaching a total of 670,000 views, without any promotion.
5° From your phone or from your cloud storage, upload to Facebook
Facebook’s algorithm gives preferential treatment to photos, video and 360 photos/videos. So, when available, you should publish 360 content about your business. Facebook natively supports 360 viewing, simply upload your content straight in the feed and users will be able to explore your photospheres, using their mouse on desktop and/or moving their phone on mobile. Here’s a 360 photo on Facebook.