Photo-sharing is a great tactic to add to your online marketing strategy. Flickr is a popular photo-sharing community where you can showcase your products and services. Here are 24 tips to help you get started:
- Be sure to read the Flickr Terms of Service. Blatant advertising and pitching products is prohibited, so your marketing tactics within this community will be indirect.
- When you create your free Flickr account (using your Yahoo! ID), you can include company information in your profile. Some Flickr users even put their blog URL as their username. For example, here is my Flickr URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/onbloggingwell/. You can claim your unique web address through the “My Account” area. By default, your Flickr ID number is displayed.
- If you are a business blogger, upload your icon as your “buddy icon.” If you’re using Flickr to promote your personal brand, then upload a good promo head shot of yourself. You can use Flickr’s built in image cropping feature to select exactly which part of your photo you want displayed.
- The profile description box allows you to use HTML tags, so you can bold, italicize, or even embed a link into your anchor text.
- Flickr photos are displayed in streams, sets, and collections. Your photo stream is the last photos uploaded. On your contacts’ pages, your very last uploaded picture is displayed, so make sure it’s a good one. A set is a group of photos centered around a theme or event. You can “batch edit” sets. A collection is a group of sets.
- Create a set of pictures related to your blog’s topic. For instance, if you blog about golf, cake decorating, sailing, or whatever your topic, create a set or several sets of pictures that relates to that topic. On sets, the first image uploaded is the thumbnail display, so upload your best image first for each set. (But do save some great pics for your very last uploads, because that is what displays in your photo stream — see #5.)
- Include HTML tags in your photo descriptions. Let’s say you blog about sailing tips. Perhaps you even own a sailing business. While you can’t use Flickr to advertise your business, you can blog about a particular event, perhaps a romantic sunset dinner sailing cruise that’s coming up. Then, upload sunset photos taken from your sailboat and in their description box, embed a link back to the blog post about the event. Sample description: “This photo was taken at sunset from the sailboat ____, during the annual romance is in the air sail.” Embed your link using the anchor text, “romance is in the air sail,” because that is the title of the event.
- Include key words in your photo title. Don’t stuff the description boxes with keywords, but definitely include them in your photo titles.
- Blog about your photos and encourage your blog readers to leave comments and/or notes at your Flickr site.
- Tell your friends and family about your Flickr photos. You can issue a “guest pass,” which allows non-Flickr users access to your photos.
- Tag your photos religiously. You can tag in batches. If you’re business is locally based, be sure to include your location when you’re tagging. Other tag suggestions are: type of shoot, subject names, accessories, website URL, and keywords associated with your brand, such as “romantic sailing excursions,” etc.
- Become active in the Flickr community. Photo-sharing sites are social media communities, and you will gain more traffic back to your blog by becoming active within the social communities you choose to join. Contact back those who contact you.
- Include your Flickr photo stream on your blog. This will make it easy for your blog readers to add notes and comments to your photos. The more notes, “favs,” and comments your photos receive, the better your chances of being featured in Flickr’s “Interesting” gallery. There are even prestigious awards to pictures that have “10 favs,” “100 favs,” etc. (Tip for making the Flickr’s “interesting” pic of the day gallery — post early in the day, like right after midnight, to give your photo more exposure throughout the day.)
- Monitor your online reputation by searching for your name or your business/blog name. Some business persons have found photos of their products tagged in Flickr. Depending upon the description, you may be getting good or bad publicity. Finding a tagged photo of your product with a negative description, you can use the opportunity to contact the person who tagged it and offer some solutions to their issue with your product or service.
- Join related groups. If you blog about dog training, search through Flickr’s groups and join some dog lover groups. Interact with group members. Favorite group member pictures, leave notes and comments, and participate in the group discussion boards. This will help you build relationships within your niche audience. You can even create your own group.
- Consider a pro account. Some of the community’s active members consider “pro” members as having more clout. It’s only $24.95/year, and removes many of the limitations of free accounts.
- Online photo-sharing can save blogger’s bandwidth and disk storage space. This isn’t as big an issue as it once was, as most hosting accounts allot a generous amount of both at reasonable prices, but if you use a lot of photos on your blog, it can make a difference.
- Get feedback on projects. If you’re a graphic designer, post different versions of a project and ask viewers and/or group members to “vote” on which they prefer. Many publishers allow input from authors on book cover choices. Post the candidates onto Flickr and ask your readers to choose their favorite.
- Flickr Uploadr is a great tool (for both Mac and PC) to batch upload photos to your Flickr account.
- Post Flickr pictures to StumbleUpon and Digg to gain even more exposure. Make sure you only do this for your very best pictures. Remember, the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is that the great photographer doesn’t show you all his photos.
- You can set copyright choices for your photos, and many bloggers search for great images at Flickr. Be sure to respond quickly to reuse requests.
- If you’re covering a specific event, such as a niche-related conference or convention, upload your photos as quickly as possible to “scoop” others and gain interest in your photos. There are mobile uploading tools available.
- Many Flickr users aren’t aware of this, but stats are included in a pro account, so if you sign up for that, be sure to enable metrics so you can track your analytical data.
- Have fun! Photo-sharing can be a fun, addictive way to interact online while promoting your blog and/or products and services. Enjoy it.
What ways do you use photo-sharing? Please leave your comments, questions, and suggestions below. And, until next time,