In this tutorial, you'll learn how to to enable text messaging in your event. To send text messages with Photo Party Upload you must create an account with Twilio and link it to your event. Twilio is a paid service that allows you to purchase a phone number and send text messages through software.
Continue reading to learn how to integrate Twilio with your event and customize your texts.
Select Enable Texting under Sharing > Text Message. After doing so, a variety of options will appear, like so:
Default Message: You can include a message that will appear whenever your guests choose Texting
Send Image as SMS: Text messages will be sent as all text (with a unique URL link to your media).
Send Images and GIFs as MMS: This will allow the Photo or GIF to be attached directly to the message. Video CANNOT be sent as MMS.
Once you have enabled and chosen how you want to send your texts, you now have to link Event Manager with Twilio. If you have not created a Twilio account, you should set up one up now.
Go to https://www.twilio.com/ and create your account. Make sure you purchase a number and add funds to your Twilio account balance. $10 is plenty and should last you quite a while.
When purchasing a number, we HIGHLY recommend getting a Toll-Free number. Guests in the US and Canada will likely not receive our texts if their carrier is AT&T. This image shows you how to make sure your number is Toll-Free:
After buying your Toll-Free number, Twilio will require you to verify your business. This process requires you to fill out a form and send it to their support personnel. In the section of the form that asks for a message sample, include some text and a link to Unique URL you've made. You can follow their instructions and find the relevant form here: https://support.twilio.com/hc/en-us/articles/5377174717595-Toll-Free-Message-Verification-for-US-Canada
This verification process MUST be completed before you are able to send with a Toll-Free number!
Once the Twilio account has been created, activated and your number verified, click the red Connect button in your event settings. You'll see a pop up that asks you to create an account or sign in. Click the link that says you already have an account and sign in to your Twilio account, NOT your Photo Party Upload account!
Once you're signed in, follow the prompts in the window. This will auto populate the Name, Account Sid, Auth Token, and Twilio Phone Number fields according to your Twilio account settings.
If some of these fields do not populate, you can find the relevant information in your Twilio account Console.
Note: The Twilio Phone Number cannot be copied or typed in. You must purchase a number in Twilio and click the Connect button for the number(s) to appear in the drop down list.
If you're finished setting up Texting for your event, click the green Submit button on the bottom left and accept the Terms and Conditions. Refresh your Helper and you'll be ready to send texts through PPU!
Any future events will automatically retain the Twilio information from your previous events, so you only need to use the red Connect button if your account changes or you get a new number.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is an SMS or MMS?:
Text messages can be sent as either all text (SMS) or with a Photo or GIF directly (MMS). When PPU sends a text as SMS, we include a link to the unique URL that includes your media.
Where does Twilio send messages to?
Twilio accounts are set by default to be able to send MMS messages to numbers in US & Canada. Note that the cost per MMS message through Twilio (at $0.02/message) is a bit more than double the cost of SMS messages (at $0.0075/message).
What about messages to numbers outside the US and Canada?
The Twilio MMS Converter will automatically convert MMS messages sent to numbers outside the US & Canada to SMS messages with a link to the photo or GIF. If you find that your texts are not being converted for non-US/Canada numbers (we recommend doing a test before you start), you can contact Twilio Support and have them turn on MMS Converter for your account.
Will the sent images actually be received by guests as images or link to the images?
If you use SMS, they will get a link to a microsite with the images on the page. MMS will send the images directly to their phone.
Does LA Photo Party Host the images?
Yes, we host the images with out Unique URL feature. You can customize the Unique URL with fonts, backgrounds, etc. The photos will be large thumbnails which when clicked will open a java script window letting you download the full sized image.
How long are the images stored or accessible for viewing and downloading?
At least 3 years.
Do I have to buy a number through Twilio to send text messages?
Yes, you must buy a number from Twilio. We HIGHLY recommend getting a Toll-free number and verifying your business details: https://support.twilio.com/hc/en-us/articles/5377174717595-Toll-Free-Message-Verification-for-US-Canada
Can my phone download and save any videos from the internet?
iPhones are not able to download/save any videos from the internet unless you use the Download button in your Unique URL (See step 6 in this tutorial: https://support.laphotoparty.com/en/support/solutions/articles/5000716430-sharing-unique-urls) Android devices are able to save video files from web pages.
Are there any limitations?
We found that most cell carriers could not receive high quality videos via MMS, so only pictures and GIFs will be sent as MMS messages. Videos will be sent as an SMS with a link to the video in a unique URL. MMS messages must be less than 5MB. Any file larger than 5MB will be automatically uploaded to a Unique URL, and the link will be sent via SMS. MMS will only function with numbers in the US and Canada.
GIFs must be 1MB or under in order for it to be sent without any interruption to the frame delays causing the GIF playback to be super fast. This restriction is on mobile carrier's end. They restrict the size of GIFs when sent over MMS due to high data usage.