Social Media Snapshot: Flickr Brand Building

For the better part of 2009, Twitter and Facebook have been stealing the spotlight when it comes to discussions regarding social media “movers and shakers”. This is understandable as both have truly stepped on the gas in terms of increasing user base and improving functionality both in-house and externally through third party application development. Furthermore, both companies continue to dedicate significant time and research towards making their services useful for businesses, as we see new organizations join these networks daily and each with unique goals and strategies for doing so.

However, Flickr is a photo and video sharing social media channel that is also experiencing rapid growth and integration within many avenues of online business development and marketing, currently hosting more than 4 billion images, up from 3billion in November of 2008. With that said, Flickr should be researched and considered for use by many entrepreneurs as it too plays a large role within your company’s potential to benefit via social media outlets.

While there are a multitude of both personal and professional reasons to utilize Flickr, business owners should focus on implementing this platform to increase their level of personal interaction with current clients, build further awareness of their corporate brand, and perform strategic outreach campaigns to potential interested parties that would otherwise be unaware of their products or services.

Below are some simple starting points that will hopefully start your creative juices flowing as to how you can tailor the use of Flickr to your own company’s needs and strategies.

Flickr Facts for You & Your Company

• Flickr is an online web service and social community for sharing photos and video. As of October 2009, it claims to host more than 4 billion images, up from 3 billion in November of 2008.

• Flickr allows for user interaction, commenting, categorizing of albums, and building of contact lists (like followers or friends, if you will).

• Flickr allows users to sign up for a Pro-Account, which provides unlimited uploading of pictures and videos for $25/year.

• Flickr Groups are used to enhance social sharing based on location, events, affinity groups, etc. This is a large asset for businesses to further reach potential clients and customers based on interests.

• Within Flickr, users can create online Photo Contests to increase user interaction and visibility to the channel.

• Flickr provides a very resourceful analytics program that allows you to track your photo traffic and views by very detailed metrics.

• Ties in very well with other social media channels to cross update and draw traffic back to the channel.

• Very effective tagging, batching, editing and grouping functionality with Organizr.

How Can You & Your Company Utilize Flickr?

• Share all photos and videos from both in-house and user submitted material to act as a live-time online photo album.

• Utilize the highly effective keyword tagging features to get your company’s material visible to SEO searches, as well as internal searches from Flickr users.

• Join many Flickr affinity groups to gather interest from those who may not be familiar with your company’s products, services, location or values.

• Photo contests and special promotions can be designed and executed with Flickr as the vehicle used to facilitate these activities.

• Connect Flickr to current website, Facebook Fan Page, corporate blog, etc. to smoothly cross post content among all of of your company’s online assets.

• Flickr has great API and Widget based functionality that allows you and your technical staff to utilize Flickr functionality within your current online assets, displaying your public Flickr content in ways that work best for your brand, purpose or intended delivery to your audience.

• Learn more about your community and the values, activities, events and experiences your users or fellow businesses take part in.

A very important thing to keep in mind regarding your use of Flickr for business is this – do NOT oversell. This is highly frowned upon by the Flickr team and, more often than not, those companies who practice this have their account deleted from the site altogether. Flickr has constructed a very helpful, light-hearted and colloquial set of guidelines that will ensure you are fully aware of what the Do’s & Don’ts are for using this service.

Entrepreneurs must understand that Flickr is not a billboard, rather it is an online photo sharing community, a virtual scrapbook if you will, for you to further connect with those who you wish to gain a more robust idea of who you are and what you value as a business.

So, take take a tour and explore the various features and uploading tools available. Search for groups that would be of interest to you or your market. Ask questions and share your thoughts here by commenting below. As you research its versatility and role within the world of social media, it could spark creative and helpful thoughts as to how Flickr can be useful to your company and overall brand identity.