Flickr has recently undergone a design overhaul to make it more user – and business friendly. The home page is particularly impressive
Flickr, the photo uploading and sharing network, has been a staple social network for 9 years. Founded in 2004 and taken over by Yahoo in 2005, it currently has around 51 million users and up to 80 million unique visitors.
According to its own “About Flickr” page it has two aims:
1) We want to help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them.
2) We want to enable new ways of organising photos and video.
Sounds pretty simple, right? So how would a business use it to their advantage?
Flickr has their own “Best practices for Organisations using Flickr” which give good advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing. The main point is to create and upload original content. You’d be tempted as a business to just upload all your best PR shots or dump your catalogue images on there, but this is something you should definitely avoid. Customers want to see a more human side of your business on a media like Flickr, so upload images that show a ‘making of’ your product or customers engaging with your product.
A great example of a brand using Flickr well is the computer tech company Dell:
Dell’s photo-stream is full of high quality images of customers engaging with Dell products, action shots of events they have set up and general shots showing the lifestyle of the company and how they work. It really gives you an insight into the brand and lets you connect with them in a nice down to earth style.
In essence, Dell uses Flickr to show a relaxed, informal way of engaging with customers. Particularly with their new line of Alienware hardware.
Flickr specifically states that it is a photo sharing network and should not be used for uploading advertisements or trying to sell products. So it would be wise to avoid the hard sell! Also keep this in mind when writing your image descriptions. Keep them friendly and chatty but include a few relevant keywords about your product (it’s good for SEO). The same goes for the tags you attach to your images, tags can let users quickly find relevant images and groups from simple searches.
Speaking of groups, it’s a good idea to join and engage in groups that are relevant to your company. This is a great way of finding people who may be interested or actively searching for you. Participating in these with comments and ideas is the way of making your image less corporate, so get stuck in!
As Flickr is all about discovering and sharing images, it would be a good idea to look at your account settings to make sure you’ve allowed users to download and share your images. This can get a little risky with copyrighted material, but if you’re worried, place a watermark on your work to make sure it’s not passed off as someone else’s.
I guess the one magic rule of Flickr would be to just engage in a transparent and open way with your audience. It’s really nice to see the inner workings of a company you’ve invested, or thinking of investing time in. It makes you feel connected to the company on a more personal level. If your customers feel like they are valued and involved with your organisation, they are likely to become long term customers and perhaps even advocates of your brand.