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Flickr Marketing for Profit
Unlock Flickr’s hidden marketing and promotion potential.
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Flickr Marketing For Profit
© Copyright 2010 New Media Entertainment Ltd. Copyrighted material. All rights reserved. No reproduction, reselling,reprinting, or republishing, in whole or in part, is permitted. ISBN-10: 1609350022 ISBN-13: 978-1609350024 There is no warranty as to the accuracy of the material contained herein and it may not be relied upon for any purpose. Flickr is a trademark of Yahoo/Flickr. Neither New Media Entertainment Ltd nor the editors of Photopreneur are associated or affiliated with Yahoo/Flickr. THE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DESCRIBED IN THIS EBOOK ARE FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. ANY EXAMPLES AND ADVICE GIVEN IN THIS EBOOK SHOULD NOT TO BE CONSTRUED TO GUARANTY ECONOMIC SUCCESS. DUE TO MANY VARIABLE RISKS,
YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT AS TO THE VIABILITY OF ANY BUSINESS TRANSACTION. EVEN IF YOU FOLLOW THE ADVICE GIVEN IN THIS EBOOK, YOU MAY NOT MAKE ANY MONEY AND INDEED, MAY SUFFER LOSSES.
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Cover photo: istock © aspectimages Book design by DesignForBooks.com
Introduction 1 FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE 1 5 7 9 11 13 14 17 18 22 23 25 27 31
1.1 Choosing and Organizing Your Images 1.2 Writing Your Business Profile 1.3 Adding Personality to a Commercial Photo Stream 2 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR
2.1 Flickr for Conference Organizers 2.2 Flickr for Conference Attendees 2.3 Flickr for Show Exhibitors 3
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BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS
3.1 Competing with the Big Boys—LG’s Viewty Contest 3.2
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Contests for Small Firms—Michael Miller Fabric’s Bootie Contest
3.3 Other Commercial Contests on Flickr Conclusion
But they’re not very visible and they’re certainly not prominent. Flickr seems to have slipped under the commercial radar. the backing of Yahoo!. lots of vacation snaps and image after image of birthday parties but you’ll have to look hard to find commercial photostreams created by companies to promote their products and services.INTR O D U C T I O N With around 5 million active members. 157 million images. MySpace added to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and even Twitter targeted by PR firms and marketing businesses. But while Facebook has been valued at billions. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Surf the site and you’ll find plenty of pictures of cats. . a partnership with Getty and the sort of loyal following that even the biggest brands can only dream of. Flickr seems to have it all. N e x t Pa g e – + 1 They’re there.
and the worst that can happen is that a marketer gets kicked off the site. FlickrMail. Any other commercial use of Flickr. They browse photos they like. The most likely reason is that while creating a photostream is easy.) Photostreams can be free. Flickr is for personal use only. Flickr users don’t search for people they know and they don’t connect through communities that they were once members of. So why. when the site is so popular. services. creating an effective commercial photostream isn’t. Flickr technologies (including APIs. But those sorts of warnings have rarely frightened marketers off other sites. non-commercial use only” but that hasn’t stopped the spammers and commercial page builders. aren’t more companies using it? contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Creating a photostream is easy. we will terminate your account. creating an effective commercial photostream isn’t. etc). If we find you selling products. or yourself through your photostream. link up INTRODUCTION . they take little time and effort to produce. (Facebook’s terms also state that “the Service and the Site are available for your personal. Flickr’s Community Guidelines state: Don’t use Flickr for commercial purposes. or Flickr accounts must be approved by Flickr.TRODUCTION Part of the reason for the lack of overt commercialism on Flickr is that the site makes it clear that it isn’t intended for commercial use. N e x t Pa g e – + 2 Unlike social networking sites.
They need to be a part of the community. We’ll start by examining the most obvious use of Flickr by a company: as a showcase for its products. but they’re a fast way to attract a lot of attention and they can do a great job of raising the profile of any company—even companies that have nothing to do with photography. Smart commercial users can do it to maintain networks.TRODUCTION in groups on topics that interest them and tell friends and family where to find their photos. Companies looking to use the site to showcase their products have to do more than just maintain a presence if they’re going to bring people to their images and to the promotional messages those images contain. stand out from the crowd and generate future revenues. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Those might take some effort to organize. Flickr might be free at its cheapest INTRODUCTION . A lot of Flickr members are doing this anyway. In this paper. we’ll look at some of the ways commercial members of Flickr are doing just that. While that might be the most straightforward use. N e x t Pa g e – + 3 All these methods have one thing in common. it’s not always the most effective. And finally. forceful or sales-y. None of them is pushy. we’ll also discuss one particular method that’s long been used on Flickr for promotions: contests. We’ll then look at how both individuals and companies can benefit from using Flickr as a way of sharing photos of events and conferences. We’ll review how some companies are turning a Flickr store front into an effective marketing tool.
that’s something that every commercial user has to keep in mind when promoting on Flickr. As we’ll see in this ebook.TRODUCTION but successful Flickr use demands payment in the form of a contribution to the site’s community of photographers. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 4 INTRODUCTION .
Each of these companies uses a free Flickr account to show standard product pictures shot against a white background. and KSJ Knitwear which sells knitted sweaters.FLIC K R A S A P RO D U C T S HO W C A SE 1 The most obvious way for a company to promote its products on Flickr is by using its photostream as a store front. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 5 A number of small companies are doing this. including Accessory Bug which sells bags and belts. The company uploads images of its products and includes a link in its profile to a website where people can place orders. . Sahara Smoke Company which sells hookahs.
While it’s not clear how many sales each of these companies is generating as a result of its presence on Flickr. When that’s all a company does. Both members have photostreams that are varied and personal. There’s no reason why a firm couldn’t assign an employee to run the Flickr stream and give it a personal touch.000 photos) and neither KSJ Knitwear nor Accessory Bug lists any contacts at all. runs several Flickr groups and places the FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 6 . and Nicolas Bouriette. Clearly. but there’s no reason why a firm couldn’t assign an employee the task of overseeing the business’s Flickr presence. a French furniture designer. Sahara Smoke Company however boasts a respectable 168 contacts and is a member of seven Flickr groups.None of the streams makes use of sets to organize the images (even though Accessory Bug has almost 1. and profiles that are interesting to read. The BBC. for example. Uploading product shots to Flickr then is a start but it’s not enough to build a solid business presence on the site. it’s unlikely that a site with no listed contacts and no active participation in Flickr activities is going to generate the sort of loyal following that translates into conversions. it’s also easy to make the sort of mistakes that will almost guarantee a company sees no return on its efforts. A much better use of Flickr to show off products can be found on streams run by Smitten Kitten Originals which sells hand-crocheted products through the craft site Etsy. each related to smoking and hookahs. it helps too that both are produced by individuals rather than companies.com.
They see Flickr as an online catalog rather than as an active marketing tool. Darlene at Smitten Kitten Originals makes no such claim but FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . 1. the most important part of a commercial presence on a site dedicated to photography is going to be the images. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 7 Nicolas though describes himself as a photographer as well as a designer so as a Flickr-based marketer he has an advantage. That might work for companies selling products related to photography but for firms selling design services.name of the employee responsible in the profile so that other users can feel that they’re communicating with a person and not a corporation. clothing or just about anything else.1 Choosing anD organizing your images Clearly. and personality. we’ve already seen how easy it is for companies to go wrong. the profile. they put their products front and center. Nicolas Bouriette does that on his photostream by using bold colors and including shots of the shoot itself. A much better option is to ditch the catalog shots and try to produce photos that are interesting as images. it’s possible to divide a successful stream into three parts: the images and their organization. Rather than focus on the image-taking. it’s a waste of an opportunity. For companies who want to use Flickr to show off their products then. And yet.
That has the effect of reducing the commercial feel of her photostream and making it more personal. That’s the sort of balance that’s more likely to build a network of Flickr-based friends who will then buy Darlene’s goods. It’s a strategy that’s less likely to work for a big business but it could be very helpful for a hobby industry. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 8 FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . instead. she mixes her craft products with personal shots of the books she’s reading or the view from her balcony.Part of Nicolas Bouriette’s photostream. It’s a private photostream that shows off her products rather than a commercial stream that says something about the person who created it. His images offer plenty of variety and include informative descriptions too.
a strategy that’s far more likely to result in commissions. competitive advantage and strategy. Any business can replicate that approach by creating sets for different product categories. “works in progress” and shots of particular jobs. The profile page is over 600 words long with all sorts of details about inventory control.Neither Darlene nor Nicolas Bouriette though uses sets to organize their photos. a quick glance makes clear that the profile was simply pasted from the company’s website as though the way readers make use of those two services are exactly the same. uses or styles to name just three. and who wanted to know a little more about the company would need a fair amount of patience. The effect is to make her work easier for potential clients to browse. including a “portfolio”. In fact. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 9 FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . Her pro account contains ten sets. a strategy that is used by decorative artist Sherry Haydel. Users on Flickr do have time to browse but they’ll only do it if the pictures are worth looking at and if they’re easy to look through.2 Writing your Business ProFile Anyone impressed by the products made by KSJ Knitwear and displayed on its Flickr stream. 1.
They want to know who took them and why. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 10 Darlene of Smitten Kitten Originals.Smitten Kitten Original’s profile is simple but effective. for example. Someone visiting a Flickr profile has had their interest sparked by the pictures. They aren’t. Someone visiting a corporate website has done so deliberately. They want to know about the company and what it can do. has a very simple profile that describes her hobbies and what she likes to take FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . They’ll expect to find a personal message from the photographer talking about himself and his love of the subject. That means a Flickr profile—even for a commercial photostream— has to feel as though it comes from an individual.
Readers expect to be sold when looking at an ad so they forgive the sales message. that might change—as it has already changed on Facebook—but at the moment. the profile makes the link to Darlene’s website stand out. If lots of companies start using the site. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e On Flickr though. users of Flickr assume that photostreams are created by people like them: individuals who want to share their photos.pictures of. – + 11 FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . They understand that a company’s site is a promotional tool. They anticipate that they’ll see content that portrays the products in the best light possible and they’ll read it appropriately. users aren’t expecting to see a sales message. 1. The only thing she could have done to make it better was write on her profile that her products are for sale.3 aDDing Personality to a CommerCial Photo stream Much of successful marketing comes down to expectation. encouraging people to click through to learn more. And by not being long. Someone who visits a website does so deliberately. That’s true too of commercial websites. making it easy for users to feel they have a connection with her. It takes just a second to read but gives users a brief idea of who created the stream. Someone who visits a Flickr profile does it out of curiosity.
Creating an effective corporate photo stream isn’t difficult. rather than simply uploading the company’s catalog shots. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 12 FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . But it does require a little thought and planning to make sure that the stream fits Flickr’s unique feel. They use a variety of images. They keep the profile simple and personal to provide information and build a connection while generating enough interest to drive users through their website link. interesting and indicate that the items are for sale. They use sets and even collections to divide products into different categories and make the photostream easier to browse. They assign an employee to represent the firm on the site so that they can use the first person singular instead of a non-personal plural. including shots from behind the company’s scenes.Smart companies meet that expectation. And they write photo descriptions that are informative.
those images represent an opportunity that event organizers and attendees are already putting to good use. get even more out of their stand than they were . Add in photos marked “fair.R ECO R D ING 2 C OR P O R AT E EVENT S O N FL IC K R Search for “conference” as a photo tag on Flickr and you’ll be offered over 376. Flickr allows them to share the experience with people who didn’t attend. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 13 For commercial Flickr members.000 images.” “exhibition” and “expo” and you’ll be browsing well over a million shots taken at various events around the world.
security forces tend to be drafted in to use water cannon to keep people RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e 2.weforum.1 FliCkr For ConFerenCe organizers N e x t Pa g e – + 14 The conferences held by the World Economic Forum (WEF) are not the sort of events that anyone can attend. (Copyright World Economic Forum (www. you know the site has influence. able to do on the day and make the most of an event’s networking opportunity. In fact.When even the World Economic Forum is posting images of its events on Flickr.ch/Photo by Andy Mettler).org) swiss-image.
The profile is a short introduction to the WEF with a link to the forum’s website. The stream shows images from each annual meeting as far back as 1999 organized into individual sets. A conference organizer. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e But why didn’t the WEF place these images on its own website? There are a couple of likely reasons. a conference organizer’s photostream is more likely to work best as an adjunct to a website.away. And yet. The relationships between a conference organizer and the Flickrverse. CEOs of multinational corporations and personalities like Bono and Queen Noor of Jordan. – + 15 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . It’s a piece of public relations intended to show the public—the sort of people who use Flickr—what the WEF does. a stream like this isn’t intended to boost attendance.flickr. and a small business and the Flickrverse then are very different. Attendees include heads of state from around the world including Russia. despite its elitism. would be appealing to a different audience. as well as shots from various forums. Clearly. It’s not difficult for the owner of a small business that wants to use Flickr to sell products to network on the site.com/photos/worldeconomicforum. the WEF maintains a Flickr photostream at www. the UK and African states. however. build a community of contacts and develop a customer base. Because Flickr members are unlikely to be interested in either the images as examples of photography or the topic of the photos (shots showing groups of people you don’t know always have limited appeal).
The other reason though is perhaps more important. that same process can work for any conference organizer.The first is that Flickr’s organization makes displaying a large collection of images very easy. The WEF’s photostream makes good use of sets to break collections of photos into groups for efficient browsing. Anyone can see them. use them and share them. the conference organizer shows that it’s still open to everyone else. Placing photos of your event on Flickr makes it look democratic. anyone can even take Placing conference them. While it’s unlikely that many regular Flickr members will visit a stream like the WEF’s. By placing images from the conference in a public arena like Flickr. To a limited extent. Flickr is popular and communal so the WEF is able to borrow some of that identification and apply it to its own image. users can also comment on the photos and because the WEF’s images are licensed as Creative Commons. becoming a part of Flickr can be a useful way to be to everyone. images on Flickr up contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 16 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . seen to be opening up to the public. Conferences are only experienced by those who attended. For a conference with an image as opens the event elitist as the WEF’s. it’s possible that some people will click through from the WEF’s website and everyone who sees that it has a Flickr stream would be left with the impression that the WEF is in touch with the way people view images.
flickr.2 FliCkr For ConFerenCe attenDees Browse the photostream of Christian Scholz (known as Mrtopf on Flickr—www. EuroPython 2007 and far too many barcamps to be healthy. the Web 2. His photostream contains sets from the Plone Conference 2007.0 Expo in Berlin.com/photos/northeastindiana/ that includes a collection from its 2008 annual conference. food and macrophotography. It’s a use for Flickr that many people who attend conferences take advantage of. 2.com/photos/mrtopf/) and you might get the impression that he attends a lot of conferences and meet-ups. Whether those people come from Flickr itself or from the organizer’s own website is less important than the fact that the images are available and open to the public. has a Flickr stream at www.The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. The description of that collection includes a link to a related website and the images themselves act both as a visual reminder for the people who attended and an introduction for those who didn’t. for example.flickr. His stream then isn’t dedicated to conferences but rather the conferences he attends appear to be treated in the same manner as his personal images. But what can they get out of it and why should they do it? contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e Christian’s conference sets are mixed in with personal sets that include images of his travels. – + 17 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR .
It can be a powerful way to get more out of the original attendance. Although Christian’s images have a relatively low number of views. it’s likely that many of them would be either from other attendees who want to see pictures of themselves or people who are interested in the topic of the conference. Sharing images from conferences places attendees at the center of a network. 2. But it can also do a lot more than that. taking its ability to publicize and promote beyond the people who happened to be there at the time.In that way. N e x t Pa g e – + 18 While people who come across the images of a stand on Flickr will be unable to pick up flyers or ask questions. Christian is in a prominent position. what can it do for enterprises that set up stalls at commercial fairs? contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Like conference organizers. as someone who wasn’t just there but is able to continue providing access to the experience long after the event has ended. they too will be extending the reach of the event. they can find their way to the exhibitor’s website—which is likely to provide at least as RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . Either way. they act first as a visual record of the places he’s been and the people he’s met. Used together with all of the business cards he would have collected at the event. a photo set from a conference then can be an effective reminder.3 FliCkr For shoW exhiBitors If adding a collection of photos of a conference they visited has the potential to place attendees at the center of a useful network.
this also tends to be done in different ways. On Flickr. Naureen Shahid. her child and anything else that catches her eye. com/people/feltbug). Mandy uses her profile page to describe her artistic works and her sets are broken down neatly into the various media in which she works. One of those pictures though shows a throng of people at her company’s stall at a telecom exhibition in Karachi. They say something about the person who took the picture not the company that person works for.flickr.much information as they would have been able to gather had they attended the event.flickr. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 19 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . On the one hand.com/ people/vivido) . Images like these aren’t meant to have a commercial value. who uses the name Vivido on Flickr (www. individual Flickr members may add an image from a stall they manned to their personal photostream. A better example of how an image of an exhibition stall can be effective comes from Mandy Prowse of Feltbug (http://www. has a stream that shows pictures of her travels. They don’t work in the same way as the product images combined with personal shots that we saw on Smitten Kitten’s photostream. It’s a neat way of bringing her stand to a public that didn’t make it to the fair itself. One of her images though shows a mock-up of a stall that she displayed at a craft fair in London. for example.
Photography: Feltbug (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ feltbug/2647924532) contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 20 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR .Mandy Prowse’s mock-up of her Feltbug stall showed craft buyers what they were missing.
The image of the stall should help to bring people who didn’t see it at the time into a site to learn more. Although Mandy hasn’t tagged her images. With a little care. she has organized them well so that potential buyers of her textile work. which will make them hard to find. fairs and other events to promote their products all the time. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 21 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . and it might not be the most artistic image in the world but it does contain many of the features that make up an effective stall photo: the photostream itself is about the products not the individual. paintings or sculptures can easily obtain an idea of her work. the name and contact information of the company is clearly displayed. Companies use conferences. the images are well organized for easy browsing. Products can be personalized but commercials stalls are always about the business that uses them. Flickr can be an effective way to extend the reach of those events.The photo might not be of a conference or a technology fair. Mandy’s stall image has the name of her clearly placed at the top of the picture and her profile has a link to her blog.
They examine the images displayed by other photographers. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 22 .B UIL D ING 3 ACT I V E CUST O M E R S W IT H P HO T O CO NT E ST S Flickr isn’t perfect. leave comments under their photos and hope that the photographer will be curious enough to check out their own photos in return. To generate views. members have to network.
3. views. The contest ran from April 2008 until early June 2008 and was conducted through a dedicated Flickr group called “LG Viewty Photo Contest” (www. But contests like these aren’t limited to images themselves.1 ComPeting With the Big Boys—lg’s VieWty Contest contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e As part of its attempts to promote its Viewty mobile phone. N e x t Pa g e – + 23 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS .One way to encourage other members to Companies are look at their photos is to award “prizes” to images that catch their eye.flickr. The prize itself turning to Flickr may be nothing more than an image of a as a convenient trophy placed next to the comment but the awarder hopes that it will be more effective way of building than a comment alone in attracting return active customers. LG launched a photo contest on Flickr. some of the most active Flickr photographers have begun declaring that they are not interested in receiving “bogus awards” and can’t respond to every comment or contact addition that they pick up. And some companies are also using them as a way of promoting their products and encouraging potential buyers to take an active interest in what their goods can do.com/groups/ viewtyfulworld/). Groups— the most effective way on Flickr of collecting a set of people with a common interest—use them too as a way of generating more image submissions. In response.
N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 24 Photographers are suspicious of online competitions and understandably protective of their rights. who each picked up a free Viewty mobile phone.Altogether the contest generated more than 21. allowing active participation and exposing participants to the phone’s features. saw his submission used in a Viewty ad placed in National Geographic magazine and for which he was awarded $10. requiring those without membership to sign up. A complaint placed on the forum led to an apology from Viewty and a change in the conditions but not before a number of photographers had pulled out. There were a total of 24 winners. selected partly by online voting and partly according to the judgment of a professional photographer. the contest was conducted through a Flickr group. BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . they were all passed on to the Flickr group. Although images could be submitted through the phone’s promotional website. entrants were able to communicate with each other and with LG too. In addition. First.000 submissions from almost 7. The contest contained a number of characteristics that can provide valuable lessons for large companies considering using Flickr to promote their products. the Grand Prize winner. Voting however was conducted on the corporate site.000 Flickr members. Through the group’s forum. others had been put off and plenty of damage had been done. Marcelo Mol. That became important when entrants noticed that the contest’s terms granted LG ownership of submissions. Contests that don’t make their limited usage rights clear will pick up some instant criticism.000.
com/babyboo tiecontest/). an online crafts magazine read by its customers.com (http://craftzine.flickr. With so many contests on Flickr promising nothing more than an announcement. but considered as entries any images submitted to the contest’s Flickr group (http://www. But what about small companies with no link to photography? They too are seeing the benefits of organizing contests on Flickr. The company announced the competition on CraftZine. the contest also showed some of the risks of offering valuable prizes based on online voting.The contest did however combine weekly prizes—a free Viewty and the glory of a public award—with the prospect of a valuable grand prize worth thousands of dollars and an appearance in National Geographic. BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . Posts in the group forum expressed concern that some images were picking up unrealistically high numbers of votes. 3. suggesting that fraudsters were using software to inflate votes and pick up a free phone. that generosity helped this competition to stand out. All of those problems overshadowed the contest at least slightly but Viewty’s contest did have the advantage of drawing a direct link between one of the most important features of the Viewty—its ability to take pictures—and the interest of the people who use Flickr.com/groups/705076@N20/). On the other hand.2 contentS Contests For small Firms—miChael miller FaBriC’s Bootie Contest full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 25 Michael Miller Fabrics is a small fabric company in New York that organized a contest using Flickr’s groups.
It’s always going to be easier for a product related to photography to organize a photo contest on Flickr than a company with no relation to photography to ask for shots of a particular subject. Unlike Viewty’s competition. gift certificates and free fabrics for the winning entries. and BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . By the time that second deadline had passed.The company asked people to submit photos of handmade baby booties and offered a sewing machine. That though showed one of the limitations of this sort of competition on Flickr. enabling the firm to use the contest to identify leads. it seems. While Viewty was hoping to put its product in front of people who might be interested in buying it. All entrants had to agree to receive newsletters and other marketing material. All entrants had to agree to receive newsletters and were offered discount coupons. In a message on the group’s forum. Participants then were less likely to be concerned about the future use of their images and it was unlikely that many of those images would be of a high enough quality to be abused. the company announced that the deadline had been extended by three weeks. the bootie contest was not specifically a photography competition. N e x t Pa g e contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e – + 26 The company did however leverage its contest to drive sales. was simply using Flickr as a way of organizing the competition. Michael Miller Fabric. there were still fewer than 160 entries altogether. But it is worth asking what the company did to drive interest in its competition both on Flickr and through CraftZine and other websites—and whether it could have done more.
it offered discount tokens to people who wanted to buy material to enter. it’s the sort of strategy that can bring viral power to a contest promotion. The bootie contest was not a photo contest in the same manner as Viewty’s competition. and most interestingly. judging and discussions easier. Instead it was a commercial photobased contest that made use of Flickr’s infrastructure to make the submissions. But the company adds plenty of posts in the group forum to build strong communication with clients. simply asks for photos of the entrants’ families and offers digital frames as prizes for the winning entries. N e x t Pa g e – + 27 Like Michael Miller Fabrics.3 other CommerCial Contests on FliCkr Interspersed among all the member-organized photo contests on Flickr are a fair number of corporate contests. The company encourages customers and bloggers to place it on their websites to promote the contest. 3.flickr. The New Yorker’s contest was not a photography competition but an example of a company using Flickr’s BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . for example. Boutique Café has also created a special contest banner.com/groups/514187@N21/). Boutique Café (www. a strategy like that would only work if the participation is as much fun as winning—otherwise bloggers would have no motivation to build up their competition—but if it does work. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Clearly. Each of those contests invites entrants to submit their photos to a group pool. But it still had the potential to be a highly effective marketing tool. but that’s often where the similarity between them ends.
) The competition picked up 169 submissions.com/online/2008/02/11/slideshow_080211_ tilleycontest?viewall=true#showHeader). no one complained. Flickr’s ability to allow the public to submit entries without the company having to build a dedicated website and database made the competition a great deal easier to hold. engage readers and offer some interesting content to its readers for no expense. The competition asked entrants to submit their own interpretation of the publication’s Eustace Tilley icon (www. The contest might not have resulted in an expansion of The New Yorker’s subscribers but it did allow the magazine to have some fun with its icon.com/groups/ tilleycontest). contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e One of the most common reasons that photo contests are held is that organizers see them as an easy way to fill up their own image bank. allowing them to use a large selection of photos in their own marketing material. The New Yorker’s publishers. interesting feature.infrastructure to turn a passive customer base into an active customer base—and to develop an easy. (Someone did however place a warning that users could print the artworks without paying a royalty. – + 28 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . In return for the cost of a small prize.flickr. a company can claim copyright over submissions. There were no prizes other than publication on The New Yorker’s website to coincide with the magazine’s 83rd anniversary and all submissions became the property of Conde Nast. In a sign that artists and illustrators have different sensibilities to those of photographers.newyorker. twenty of which appeared as winners on a slideshow on The New Yorker’s website (www.
Although photographers were told that they would retain copyright of images submitted. it gathered 388 submissions from 68 entrants—and gave the university a good selection of images to use in its fundraising. The exception is when the organizer is a non-profit. edit. claiming copyright over submitted images on Flickr is a quick way to pick up some negative publicity and limit the appeal of the contest. Although the competition ran only from April 7. The prize was a $200 gift certificate for photography supplies with two runners up prizes of digital frames. Photos will be credited to the photographer named in the entry form. N e x t Pa g e – + 29 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS .Understandably. this was the point of the contest. non-exclusive license to use. As we’ve seen. this is not a practice that professional and semiprofessional photographers approve of. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Contests then can be a good way for non-profits to build a free.com/groups/ brownannualfund) invited photographers to submit images of Brown University campus.” It’s likely that as far as Brown was concerned.flickr. targeted image base. especially when they retain copyright and are guaranteed a credit should the images be used. Photographers are less likely to be concerned about allowing a cause they support to use their photos without charge. 2008. 2008 to May 16. The Brown Annual Fund Photo Contest (www. perpetual. the rules stated that “photographers agree to donate without any fee or other form of compensation to Brown an irrevocable. reproduce and distribute the submitted photograph in Brown University publications.
Flickr’s infrastructure makes an image-based contest very simple to organize. On the other hand. offering market rates for the use of winning entries can turn a contest into an attractive-looking job ad. Companies considering requesting submissions will need to make clear that entering the competition does not affect the photographer’s rights over their images unless it’s for a good cause.Organizers however. Contests on Flickr can be useful promotional tools. allowing them to engage customers and publicize their products. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 30 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . Photographers do pay close attention to the terms though and are protective of their copyright. would likely need to market both on Flickr to appeal to photographers and beyond Flickr to appeal to those interested in the cause to gain a good variety of submissions. For any type of company though. They can be useful for large companies—especially those with photographyrelated products—and they can be useful too for small companies who just want to build interest in their goods.
CONC L U SI O N Flickr was not built to be a commercial tool. N e x t Pa g e – + 31 In this ebook. The profile provides a free page to offer a subtle sales message. It was built as a way for people who take pictures to share them. we’ve looked at just three of the ways a number of companies of various sizes are making use of Flickr to promote themselves. The image galleries provide a free platform to exhibit goods. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e The groups allow the active participation of potential customers and a way for the company to interact with buyers. a stream with varied images and a personal feel looks much . Part of its infrastructure however gives the site a great deal of potential for companies wishing to use the site to promote themselves. We’ve seen that when it comes displaying product photos.
This includes submitting their images to groups. To gain that recognition. commenting on other images. turn attendees into networking hubs and extend the reach of a corporate stall. companies will still have to do all of the usual activities that Flickr members undertake when promoting their streams. those are strategies that are currently underused. it has to be done without an overt sales message. contacts and group submissions companies on Flickr are generating. and most importantly. Those actions can be complemented by off-Flickr marketing to make use of the company’s existing customer base but it takes time and a little effort. targeting the Explore page and building contacts.more attractive and more interesting than one that contains nothing more than catalog shots. Success on Flickr is usually measured in the number of image views. For enterprises that are willing to put the effort into marketing their Flickr presence though. CONCLUSION contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e N e x t Pa g e – + 32 . Where things get a little harder is in the marketing. And we’ve examined how Flickr provides a useful structure for companies wishing to organize competitions. whether the products are related to photography or not. We’ve reviewed how shots of conferences and events can be used to promote the events themselves. the site’s size and infrastructure make it a potentially valuable promotional tool. For a commercial user that success will be measured in sales and brand recognition. comments and “faves” an image generates. Judging by the number of views. Flickr makes all of these strategies simple to implement.
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