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Flickr – Social Networking through Photo Sharing

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Flickr is a web site that offers photo sharing and a host of related services for users of any level – beginners to professionals. More than just being a web site, Flickr is a community – one with a very strong and active user base and one of the fastest-growing photo sharing sites on the web. Clearly, Flickr provides an excellent opportunity for the smart, creative small business owner. . . .

What Is Flickr?

Flickr is a web site that offers photo sharing and a host of related services for users of any level – beginners to professionals. More than just being a web site, Flickr is a community – one with a very strong and active user base and one of the fastest-growing photo sharing sites on the web. Clearly, Flickr provides an excellent opportunity for the smart, creative small business owner.

Flickr offers one of the largest image archives and communities online and one that is often not targeted because most small businesses aren’t yet good at creating the one thing they need to have credibility in Flickr … high quality non-marketing images.

Once you have some high quality pictures, you can follow these simple steps to market your business using this photo sharing platform.

  1. Sharing quality photos – Share good quality photos. While you don’t need a professional photographer, share authentic “real life” photos. Try using a real Digital SLR camera with a high quality lens.
  2. Get a “Pro” Account – Getting Flickr “Pro” Account is taking your flickr strategy o next level. When you can upload up to 200 images with free account  you don’t get the “Pro” icon next to your name and your account doesn’t have the same authority for members community.
  3. Create Collection Homepages – Flickr photos are arranged into sets and collections. Sets are like photo galleries or albums, and collections group various photo albums together. As you organize your photos, think about how to make each set about a certain them, and then group them together into collections. Once you have a collection homepage, this can be the public URL that you send people to. This way, you could use the same URL even while you add new galleries to the collection each day.
  4. Think in thumbnail terms – Sets, collections and individual images are represented by thumbnails. These are the visual elements that need to engage someone before they are inspired to click and delve further into your account. When you take and crop your photos, paying attention to how the thumbnails look matters. More importantly, whenever you create a new set the thumbnail is set by the first image. Make sure you change it to the one that offers the most compelling reason to click and see the rest of the set.
  5. Use correct tags – Tagging sometimes seems like the online equivalent of going to the doctor for a check-up, you know you should do it but always manage to put it o_ in place of doing something else first. On Flickr, tags help people find images and tagging your images properly is a necessary step. Use the right descriptive keywords, but also check and see what people are already searching for and see if any of those tags may apply to your images. Aside from direct links, many of your image views on Flickr will likely come from people searching for these tags.
  6. Share in real time – One of the most powerful benefits of Flickr is that when you are at an event or something current that people are likely to care about in a particular timeframe, speed of getting photos online matters. If you have a blog, configure it to work with Flickr. If you are using a computer, use the Flickr uploader tool to get your images online faster. The closer to your event you can get your photos up, the more likely it is that people will use them to refer to, share with others and drive traffic to.
  7. Join and contribute to groups – Whatever pictures you are taking, it is quite likely that there is a Flickr group with others who are already sharing photos of it. People who are active in Flickr groups tend to also be some of Flickr’s most active members. Joining groups not only lets you be part of a greater community and conversation on a certain theme, it can often give you a direct connection to Flickr users who this really matter. Remember, what you post into a group must be relevant and on topic or else you risk alienating yourself and your brand.
  8. Actively promote and approve reuse – Many services, bloggers and media are now using Flickr images to power their own stories and media. Once you start getting your imagery noticed, you will likely start to receive invitations for permission to reuse your photos. This means your photos are gaining traction. Try to approve the requests quickly and encourage more people to use your images … and credit you properly for them, of course.
  9. Enable stats – Flickr has a great tool which allows you to get deeper metrics on your photos. With these stats, you can see which ones of your photos proved to be the most popular or shared from person to person, and also what sites are driving people to your photo collections.
  10. Build Momentum – Once you start using Flickr to promote your business, the toughest thing can be to keep uploading good content. Doing this means that you need to treat almost every event as a chance to create more images for your gallery, from participating in conferences to everyday life. If you start to use Flickr for marketing, your ongoing challenge will be to avoid having one big spike and then no more activity.

Hot tip:

Search Flickr for photos related to your business and products. You may find that your customers have already been uploading photos — hopefully ones that paint you in a positive light. But they might also be posting photos of the terrible packing you did when shipping items. In addition to marketing, Flickr can sometimes be a good avenue for monitoring what some customers are saying about you