Small business owners are aware of the benefits of using social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and even YouTube. But one consistently overlooked social media site that is ripe with potential for promoting your small business is on the photography social media site, Flickr.
What is Flickr?
Simply put, Flickr is a Yahoo! website that allows members to upload and share photographs. Accounts are free to sign up, but free accounts are only allotted 100 uploads. More about their paid “Pro” account is explained below.
But more than that, it is a community website where the social factor is enhanced by images, usually stunning visual photographs posted by millions of enthusiastic amateur and professional photographers.
While Flickr may not have the half a billion “Friends” that Facebook can brag about, according to Yahoo!’s own Advertising Solutions section, Flickr does have over 51 million active members and about 80 million visitors worldwide. The figure to keep in mind is that only 19 million of those visitors are U.S., so Flickr is truly a global opportunity to promote your business.
So in what ways can Flickr help your small business? Here are a few examples:
Benefits of a “Pro” Account
For just $24.95 a year, you can buy a Pro account. That gives you the ability to upload unlimited photographs, organize unlimited photo sets and collections, allows you to upload HD video, and view additional stats on your photos to see where your visitors come from. The stats feature alone makes the $2 a month worth the cost.
Write a Succinct but Engaging Profile
All accounts get a full profile. Feel free to elaborate on your small business. Make it succinct but engaging. And while Flickr frowns upon actively using Flickr to advertise and promote your business through their site, you can post a link to your small business on your profile.
Use Professional-Looking Photos of Your Products
There is no reason to show customers or potential customers a poor and amateur shot of your products. Ever. Always use sound photography principles (good light, color, shape, design, framing) for all your posted photographs. If you or a staff member is an avid “photog”, encourage their participation, or simply hire a pro to do the work.
Upload to Flickr and Share on Facebook/Twitter
With Flickr, you get the opportunity to include tags and full text descriptions which are frequently picked up on Google searches. Photos uploaded to Twitter or Facebook are not. To get the best SEO out of your photos, it’s best to use Flickr and simply link URLs to a Facebook or Twitter post.
Groups are what make the Flickr world go ‘round. There is a Flickr group for just about any zany category you can think of. Join groups that are related to your industry or products/services. Post your photos on these group sites. Make comments and watch your Flickr “contact” list grow as well.
Add a URL Watermark
While it is not wise to include a URL link to your website on the text description of every photo (due to Flickr’s “no advertising” rule), you can include a watermark of your small business’ URL right in the photograph. This is a common practice on Flickr, and it is particularly used by professional photographers.
Post Pics of a Company Event
Don’t just post pics of your products. Use Flickr to show the rest of the world what a great company you are. Photos of company picnics can bring an element of fun to your customers. And if you hold a public promotion, be sure to capture photos and post them on Flickr as well.
Use Flickr Photos as Content on Your Website
Flickr has millions and millions of photos you can use on your own website due to their “Creative Commons” licensing of most photos. That doesn’t mean you should use someone’s photos without asking. However, the quality of the images on Flickr is outstanding and certainly worthy of potential web content for blog posts, graphics, and other possibilities.
Flickr is a great social media website that a small business can use to their advantage with stunning color and imagery. Don’t overlook Flickr as a potential social media marketing niche for your business.