Marketers often overlook Flickr as a pivotal resource in the social media space, when in reality the photo-sharing platform is a valuable resource to access millions of consumer viewpoints from all across the globe.
Flickr certainly has its critics, as well as hefty competition in the photo management and sharing space (including the likes of Facebook, Google+ and Instagram), but the site is still considered an industry leader due to its simplicity, speed, search functionality, high-quality visuals and seamless social media integration capabilities. Flickr currently has 40 million active users, hosts 6 billion images, and has increased user uploads 20% year-over-year for the past five years.
Flickr can be a marketer’s dream as long as you know the five points of value that it can deliver.
No. 1 Gaining Insight
One of Flickr’s greatest advantages is that it has a large International user base, which allows marketers to gain industry, competitive and consumer insights from across the globe. Marketers can search within this database of photos in English and other foreign languages to access photos pertaining to their brand, target market and industry.
For example, shoe industry executives looking to gain insights on consumer behavioral habits in Beijing can use search for “Nike” “Beijing” to access thousands of photos of consumers wearing, engaging and demonstrating interest in the brand. Marketers can even specify whether they would like to see recent, interesting, or relevant photos to narrow their search.
No. 2 Unique
Consumer Viewpoints Consumers use Flickr as a social medium to post and share photos of people, places and things that are of interest them. As a result, marketers can rely on Flickr to serve as a reliable resource to get insights on consumer experiences, interests, styles and reactions in relation to sports, music, events, lifestyles, brands, campaigns, etc. By simply searching for names of specific brands or events using Flickr’s recent search functionality, marketers will discover a firsthand perspective of how consumers interact.
No. 3 Social Media Marketing and Integration
As a service platform, Flickr offers a simple, well-tooled interface that allows consumers to seamlessly tag, group, link and share their photos. As a result, it serves as a powerful SEO platform for marketers because the posted photos, videos and related content are heavily indexed by search engines and often surpass non-image links. While marketers may find that it takes time to tag, group and share their photos and videos, they can deliver considerable value from an SEO standpoint as it allows users to include links, descriptions and comments with their posted content and provides the ability to syndicate photos across other websites and channels.
Flickr also serves as an incredible resource for supporting social media efforts. The site allows consumers to seamlessly integrate their photos into their preferred social media and online channels, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs. Marketers can use Flickr as a one-stop shop to post photos and videos from their campaigns and use URL shorteners (bit.ly, is.gd) to easily disseminate the content through their social media channels.
No. 4 A Brainstorming Mecca
With clients constantly looking for fresh ideas, insights, and perspectives on how to incorporate new technologies, marketers can turn to Flickr to get their creative juices flowing prior to a major brainstorm. Flickr hosts thousands of photos showcasing new services and technologies (QR codes, augmented reality), examples of guerrilla and ambush marketing tactics, creative billboard displays, mesmerizing product launches, creative activation tactics and content. By simply setting aside 15 to 20 minutes to scroll through several hundred photos during a quick lunch break, marketers can walk into a brainstorm or client work session with a fresh state of mind and a slew of new ideas.
No. 5 Quality Photos for Recap Purposes
Marketers can tap Flickr as a resource to find high-quality photos that can be included in status updates, program recaps and end-of-the-year reports. With consumers in every corner of the globe taking photos of their experiences and posting them online, brand marketers now have thousands of eyeballs on the ground sharing high-quality visuals … use these to your advantage!
Brian Gainor is a sports marketer at GMR Marketing and founder of Partnership Activation.com. GMR Marketing ranked No. 17 on the 2011 PROMO 100 ranking of the top U.S. promotion agencies with an estimated $91.1 million in U.S. net revenue.