Flickr is one of the most useful, but underrated social media platforms on the web. It doesn’t have the headline grabbing power of multi billion dollar valuations like Twitter, and isn’t the newest kid on the block like Google +. Year after year, Flickr does it’s job – sharing photos – extremely well, so it rarely pops up in the press, or in conversations about the social web. It’s a shame. More web dwellers should realize it’s possible to put the low-key profile of this brilliant service to work for your and your business. With a small amount of careful, consistent work, Flickr can improve the SEO of your websites, expand your online profile and reputation, promote your projects and maybe even bring a few bucks in on the side through photo sales.
When we speak with our clients, we find that most of them are just vaguely aware of Flickr, or occasionally use it as a place to dump photos. Since Flickr is a dark horse, we’ll start with the very basics here, to get you started using Flickr and seeing results. To get going we’ll delve into 3 ways you can use Flickr to improve the online influence of your business, your brand and yourself. This is just the start, as there are so many ways to make the most out of Flickr, so you can expect us to dig deeper into this topic with additional blog posts.
Uploading with Apps
Getting your photos online is the lynchpin of any Flickr based campaign. The key to using Flickr well, is having loads of photos in your Flickr stream. The more photos you provide, the better chance there is that someone will find them. After a quick inspection, you’ll notice that they don’t make it easy for you to get your images online. This is the case in the main Flickr web interface. However, by using one of the brilliant Flickr uploading tools, you can submit huge numbers of photos with a minimum of effort. More importantly, you can provide the correct metadata, like keywords and descriptions, that are essential for Flickr success. The key is to use the uploading apps to make certain that all the photos you upload have titles that contain a descriptive keyword, tags that describe the photos and what they might be used for, the right type of licensing and their location on a map. Using an uploading app lets you add all this data quickly, in one shot. Having correct, thorough information attached to your photos is the most important thing to make Flickr work for you.
Flickr for SEO
Flickr is a solid tool for improving SEO, while generating traffic and links. Image searches are popular in all search engines. People need photos to illustrate blog posts, news articles, for graphics in documents and an infinite number of other uses. Filling this niche, by providing people with these photos is an excellent strategy for gaining traction on the web. When creating the descriptions for your pictures, take the time to be extra thorough. Describe what’s in the photo. Also describe where the photo was taken, provide the date, add the dominant colors and list any words, like ad copy, that appear. Put yourself in the shoes of a person looking for an image to use on a project. What keywords would you search for? These descriptive words will bring traffic right to you. In order to capitalize on this traffic, make sure you add your name and website to the description in every photo. The people who find your images will see your website listed there and pay a visit. It’s a way to get your url in front of thousands of new visitors.
Use the Analytics Tool Flickr has outstanding analytic tools built right into the main interface. For some reason, Flickr makes this information difficult to find.
Clicking the squiggly line (highlighted by the red arrow in this illustration) will take you to the “hidden” analytics page. You can also view this by going to You > Your Stats.
You’ll be shown overall statistics such as how many people have clicked on your photos, when they were viewed and which individual photos are most popular. The most useful section of the Flickr analytic report is the “Referrers” section. Here you can see how people found your images, right down to the individual web pages and search terms they’ve used. Examining the search terms will give you more ideas on how to better tag your photos so more people will find them, by adding these search terms to the tags when you add new images. Since you can see the places where your work is appearing on the web, you can drop by those pages and leave a comment. Let the people who’ve used your work know that you’re flattered they picked your photo, and leave your URL to help get the word out. It’s a method of expanding your circle of online contacts without being a spammer.
Flickr is a very solid, underrated social media service. The fact that it’s somewhat under utilized is a boom for anyone who chooses to take advantage of it, because the competition for eyeballs here is less fierce. This is our first installment of ways that you can use Flickr, so stay tuned here for more ideas coming up soon. In the meantime, send us a link to your Flickr streams so we can see what you have going on.