This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Flickr Marketing for Profit
Unlock Flickr’s hidden marketing and promotion potential.
contentS FUll Screen
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.
N e x t Pa g e
full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e
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
contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e
BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS
3.1 Competing with the Big Boys—LG’s Viewty Contest 3.2
N e x t Pa g e
Contests for Small Firms—Michael Miller Fabric’s Bootie Contest
3.3 Other Commercial Contests on Flickr Conclusion
. 157 million images. Flickr seems to have it all. But they’re not very visible and they’re certainly not prominent.INTR O D U C T I O N With around 5 million active members. MySpace added to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and even Twitter targeted by PR firms and marketing businesses. 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. But while Facebook has been valued at billions. a partnership with Getty and the sort of loyal following that even the biggest brands can only dream of. 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. N e x t Pa g e – + 1 They’re there. Flickr seems to have slipped under the commercial radar.
and the worst that can happen is that a marketer gets kicked off the site. FlickrMail. or yourself through your photostream. non-commercial use only” but that hasn’t stopped the spammers and commercial page builders. creating an effective commercial photostream isn’t. we will terminate your account. or Flickr accounts must be approved by Flickr. N e x t Pa g e – + 2 Unlike social networking sites. But those sorts of warnings have rarely frightened marketers off other sites. creating an effective commercial photostream isn’t. Flickr technologies (including APIs. If we find you selling products. services. link up INTRODUCTION . Flickr is for personal use only.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. So why. (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. Any other commercial use of Flickr. They browse photos they like. when the site is so popular. The most likely reason is that while creating a photostream is easy. 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.) Photostreams can be free. etc). Flickr users don’t search for people they know and they don’t connect through communities that they were once members of. they take little time and effort to produce.
In this paper. They need to be a part of the community. we’ll also discuss one particular method that’s long been used on Flickr for promotions: contests. 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. None of them is pushy. Smart commercial users can do it to maintain networks. Flickr might be free at its cheapest INTRODUCTION . 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. While that might be the most straightforward use. We’ll review how some companies are turning a Flickr store front into an effective marketing tool. And finally.TRODUCTION in groups on topics that interest them and tell friends and family where to find their photos. 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. forceful or sales-y. N e x t Pa g e – + 3 All these methods have one thing in common. 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. stand out from the crowd and generate future revenues. We’ll start by examining the most obvious use of Flickr by a company: as a showcase for its products. it’s not always the most effective. we’ll look at some of the ways commercial members of Flickr are doing just that. A lot of Flickr members are doing this anyway.
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 . 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.
including Accessory Bug which sells bags and belts. Sahara Smoke Company which sells hookahs. 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. 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.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. The company uploads images of its products and includes a link in its profile to a website where people can place orders. .
The BBC. Clearly.com. Uploading product shots to Flickr then is a start but it’s not enough to build a solid business presence on the site. for example. and profiles that are interesting to read. it helps too that both are produced by individuals rather than companies. each related to smoking and hookahs. There’s no reason why a firm couldn’t assign an employee to run the Flickr stream and give it a personal touch. When that’s all a company does.000 photos) and neither KSJ Knitwear nor Accessory Bug lists any contacts at all. 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. it’s also easy to make the sort of mistakes that will almost guarantee a company sees no return on its efforts. Both members have photostreams that are varied and personal. a French furniture designer. and Nicolas Bouriette. but there’s no reason why a firm couldn’t assign an employee the task of overseeing the business’s Flickr presence. 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. 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 . 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. While it’s not clear how many sales each of these companies is generating as a result of its presence on Flickr.
They see Flickr as an online catalog rather than as an active marketing tool. they put their products front and center. And yet. A much better option is to ditch the catalog shots and try to produce photos that are interesting as images. clothing or just about anything else. That might work for companies selling products related to photography but for firms selling design services. the most important part of a commercial presence on a site dedicated to photography is going to be the images. and personality. Darlene at Smitten Kitten Originals makes no such claim but FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . we’ve already seen how easy it is for companies to go wrong. Nicolas Bouriette does that on his photostream by using bold colors and including shots of the shoot itself. it’s a waste of an opportunity. it’s possible to divide a successful stream into three parts: the images and their organization. the profile. Rather than focus on the image-taking. 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.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.1 Choosing anD organizing your images Clearly. For companies who want to use Flickr to show off their products then. 1.
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. she mixes her craft products with personal shots of the books she’s reading or the view from her balcony. It’s a strategy that’s less likely to work for a big business but it could be very helpful for a hobby industry. That has the effect of reducing the commercial feel of her photostream and making it more personal.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. 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. His images offer plenty of variety and include informative descriptions too.
and who wanted to know a little more about the company would need a fair amount of patience.2 Writing your Business ProFile Anyone impressed by the products made by KSJ Knitwear and displayed on its Flickr stream. Any business can replicate that approach by creating sets for different product categories. 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. The profile page is over 600 words long with all sorts of details about inventory control. 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. uses or styles to name just three. competitive advantage and strategy.Neither Darlene nor Nicolas Bouriette though uses sets to organize their photos. “works in progress” and shots of particular jobs. 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. including a “portfolio”. 1. a strategy that is used by decorative artist Sherry Haydel. a strategy that’s far more likely to result in commissions. The effect is to make her work easier for potential clients to browse.
has a very simple profile that describes her hobbies and what she likes to take FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . 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. They’ll expect to find a personal message from the photographer talking about himself and his love of the subject. They want to know about the company and what it can do. They aren’t. Someone visiting a Flickr profile has had their interest sparked by the pictures. They want to know who took them and why. That means a Flickr profile—even for a commercial photostream— has to feel as though it comes from an individual. Someone visiting a corporate website has done so deliberately. for example.
The only thing she could have done to make it better was write on her profile that her products are for sale. 1. And by not being long. 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. Someone who visits a website does so deliberately.pictures of. the profile makes the link to Darlene’s website stand out. That’s true too of commercial websites. making it easy for users to feel they have a connection with her. users aren’t expecting to see a sales message. If lots of companies start using the site. – + 11 FLICKR AS A PRODUCT SHOWCASE . that might change—as it has already changed on Facebook—but at the moment. Someone who visits a Flickr profile does it out of curiosity. It takes just a second to read but gives users a brief idea of who created the stream.3 aDDing Personality to a CommerCial Photo stream Much of successful marketing comes down to expectation. They understand that a company’s site is a promotional tool. encouraging people to click through to learn more. They anticipate that they’ll see content that portrays the products in the best light possible and they’ll read it appropriately. Readers expect to be sold when looking at an ad so they forgive the sales message.
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. They use sets and even collections to divide products into different categories and make the photostream easier to browse. But it does require a little thought and planning to make sure that the stream fits Flickr’s unique feel. rather than simply uploading the company’s catalog shots. including shots from behind the company’s scenes. And they write photo descriptions that are informative.Smart companies meet that expectation. interesting and indicate that the items are for sale. Creating an effective corporate photo stream isn’t difficult. They use a variety of images. 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. 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 .
Add in photos marked “fair. Flickr allows them to share the experience with people who didn’t attend.000 images.” “exhibition” and “expo” and you’ll be browsing well over a million shots taken at various events around the world. those images represent an opportunity that event organizers and attendees are already putting to good use. 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.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. get even more out of their stand than they were .
weforum. (Copyright World Economic Forum (www. you know the site has influence. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e 2. security forces tend to be drafted in to use water cannon to keep people RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR .When even the World Economic Forum is posting images of its events on Flickr.org) swiss-image.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.ch/Photo by Andy Mettler). able to do on the day and make the most of an event’s networking opportunity. In fact.
Clearly. The profile is a short introduction to the WEF with a link to the forum’s website. 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 UK and African states.com/photos/worldeconomicforum.flickr. and a small business and the Flickrverse then are very different. the WEF maintains a Flickr photostream at www. The relationships between a conference organizer and the Flickrverse. a stream like this isn’t intended to boost attendance. It’s not difficult for the owner of a small business that wants to use Flickr to sell products to network on the site. however. 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. CEOs of multinational corporations and personalities like Bono and Queen Noor of Jordan. build a community of contacts and develop a customer base. The stream shows images from each annual meeting as far back as 1999 organized into individual sets. Attendees include heads of state from around the world including Russia. – + 15 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . A conference organizer. It’s a piece of public relations intended to show the public—the sort of people who use Flickr—what the WEF does. as well as shots from various forums. despite its elitism. a conference organizer’s photostream is more likely to work best as an adjunct to a website. would be appealing to a different audience. And yet.away.
To a limited extent. Placing photos of your event on Flickr makes it look democratic. Conferences are only experienced by those who attended.The first is that Flickr’s organization makes displaying a large collection of images very easy. For a conference with an image as opens the event elitist as the WEF’s. seen to be opening up to the public. use them and share them. becoming a part of Flickr can be a useful way to be to everyone. anyone can even take Placing conference them. The WEF’s photostream makes good use of sets to break collections of photos into groups for efficient browsing. Anyone can see them. users can also comment on the photos and because the WEF’s images are licensed as Creative Commons. By placing images from the conference in a public arena like Flickr. Flickr is popular and communal so the WEF is able to borrow some of that identification and apply it to its own image. the conference organizer shows that it’s still open to everyone else. The other reason though is perhaps more important. While it’s unlikely that many regular Flickr members will visit a stream like 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. 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 . that same process can work for any conference organizer.
com/photos/mrtopf/) and you might get the impression that he attends a lot of conferences and meet-ups. food and macrophotography.The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. – + 17 RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON 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. the Web 2. 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.2 FliCkr For ConFerenCe attenDees Browse the photostream of Christian Scholz (known as Mrtopf on Flickr—www. 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. It’s a use for Flickr that many people who attend conferences take advantage of. has a Flickr stream at www. EuroPython 2007 and far too many barcamps to be healthy. 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.0 Expo in Berlin.flickr. 2. for example.flickr.com/photos/northeastindiana/ that includes a collection from its 2008 annual conference. His photostream contains sets from the Plone Conference 2007.
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. 2. Christian is in a prominent position. they too will be extending the reach of the event. Sharing images from conferences places attendees at the center of a network. Although Christian’s images have a relatively low number of views. Either way. they act first as a visual record of the places he’s been and the people he’s met. as someone who wasn’t just there but is able to continue providing access to the experience long after the event has ended. they can find their way to the exhibitor’s website—which is likely to provide at least as RECORDING CORPORATE EVENTS ON FLICKR . 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. It can be a powerful way to get more out of the original attendance. But it can also do a lot more than that. 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.In that way.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. a photo set from a conference then can be an effective reminder. taking its ability to publicize and promote beyond the people who happened to be there at the time. Used together with all of the business cards he would have collected at the event.
It’s a neat way of bringing her stand to a public that didn’t make it to the fair itself. who uses the name Vivido on Flickr (www. Images like these aren’t meant to have a commercial value. 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. individual Flickr members may add an image from a stall they manned to their personal photostream. One of her images though shows a mock-up of a stall that she displayed at a craft fair in London. On the one hand. com/people/feltbug). On Flickr. They don’t work in the same way as the product images combined with personal shots that we saw on Smitten Kitten’s photostream. this also tends to be done in different ways.com/ people/vivido) . They say something about the person who took the picture not the company that person works for. 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.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 . Naureen Shahid. her child and anything else that catches her eye.much information as they would have been able to gather had they attended the event.flickr. One of those pictures though shows a throng of people at her company’s stall at a telecom exhibition in Karachi. for example.
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. Photography: Feltbug (http://www.
paintings or sculptures can easily obtain an idea of her work. fairs and other events to promote their products all the time. Although Mandy hasn’t tagged her images. 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. she has organized them well so that potential buyers of her textile work. 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 . Products can be personalized but commercials stalls are always about the business that uses them. With a little care. Flickr can be an effective way to extend the reach of those events. The image of the stall should help to bring people who didn’t see it at the time into a site to learn more. Companies use conferences. which will make them hard to find.The photo might not be of a conference or a technology fair. the images are well organized for easy browsing. the name and contact information of the company is clearly displayed. 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.
members have to network. To generate views.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. 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 .
N e x t Pa g e – + 23 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . 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.com/groups/ viewtyfulworld/). 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. In response. LG launched a photo contest on Flickr. 3.One way to encourage other members to Companies are look at their photos is to award “prizes” to images that catch their eye. The contest ran from April 2008 until early June 2008 and was conducted through a dedicated Flickr group called “LG Viewty Photo Contest” (www. views. 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. 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.flickr.
BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . That became important when entrants noticed that the contest’s terms granted LG ownership of submissions. they were all passed on to the Flickr group. allowing active participation and exposing participants to the phone’s features.000 Flickr members. First.Altogether the contest generated more than 21. Contests that don’t make their limited usage rights clear will pick up some instant criticism. selected partly by online voting and partly according to the judgment of a professional photographer. who each picked up a free Viewty mobile phone.000 submissions from almost 7. the Grand Prize winner. The contest contained a number of characteristics that can provide valuable lessons for large companies considering using Flickr to promote their products. 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. requiring those without membership to sign up. In addition. There were a total of 24 winners. saw his submission used in a Viewty ad placed in National Geographic magazine and for which he was awarded $10. entrants were able to communicate with each other and with LG too. the contest was conducted through a Flickr group. Through the group’s forum. 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.000. others had been put off and plenty of damage had been done. Although images could be submitted through the phone’s promotional website. Marcelo Mol. Voting however was conducted on the corporate site.
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. On the other hand.com/babyboo tiecontest/). Posts in the group forum expressed concern that some images were picking up unrealistically high numbers of votes.com (http://craftzine. The company announced the competition on CraftZine. But what about small companies with no link to photography? They too are seeing the benefits of organizing contests on Flickr. 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. suggesting that fraudsters were using software to inflate votes and pick up a free phone. 3. that generosity helped this competition to stand out. an online crafts magazine read by its customers. the contest also showed some of the risks of offering valuable prizes based on online voting. BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS .com/groups/705076@N20/). but considered as entries any images submitted to the contest’s Flickr group (http://www.flickr. With so many contests on Flickr promising nothing more than an announcement.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.
While Viewty was hoping to put its product in front of people who might be interested in buying it. 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. In a message on the group’s forum. it seems. there were still fewer than 160 entries altogether. and BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS . Unlike Viewty’s competition. That though showed one of the limitations of this sort of competition on Flickr. the bootie contest was not specifically a photography competition. enabling the firm to use the contest to identify leads. 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. By the time that second deadline had passed. gift certificates and free fabrics for the winning entries. 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. was simply using Flickr as a way of organizing the competition. 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. All entrants had to agree to receive newsletters and were offered discount coupons. the company announced that the deadline had been extended by three weeks. All entrants had to agree to receive newsletters and other marketing material. Michael Miller Fabric.The company asked people to submit photos of handmade baby booties and offered a sewing machine.
for example. contentS full Screen P r e v i o u S Pa g e n e X t Pa g e Clearly.3 other CommerCial Contests on FliCkr Interspersed among all the member-organized photo contests on Flickr are a fair number of corporate contests. and most interestingly. it’s the sort of strategy that can bring viral power to a contest promotion. Instead it was a commercial photobased contest that made use of Flickr’s infrastructure to make the submissions. 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 .com/groups/514187@N21/). 3. Boutique Café has also created a special contest banner.it offered discount tokens to people who wanted to buy material to enter. simply asks for photos of the entrants’ families and offers digital frames as prizes for the winning entries. but that’s often where the similarity between them ends. But the company adds plenty of posts in the group forum to build strong communication with clients. But it still had the potential to be a highly effective marketing tool. The bootie contest was not a photo contest in the same manner as Viewty’s competition. judging and discussions easier. The company encourages customers and bloggers to place it on their websites to promote the contest. Each of those contests invites entrants to submit their photos to a group pool. N e x t Pa g e – + 27 Like Michael Miller Fabrics.flickr. 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 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.newyorker. interesting feature. The competition asked entrants to submit their own interpretation of the publication’s Eustace Tilley icon (www. allowing them to use a large selection of photos in their own marketing material. a company can claim copyright over submissions. no one complained.) The competition picked up 169 submissions. 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. twenty of which appeared as winners on a slideshow on The New Yorker’s website (www. In return for the cost of a small prize.com/groups/ tilleycontest). 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. The New Yorker’s publishers.com/online/2008/02/11/slideshow_080211_ tilleycontest?viewall=true#showHeader). In a sign that artists and illustrators have different sensibilities to those of photographers. engage readers and offer some interesting content to its readers for no expense. – + 28 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS .flickr.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. 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.
Photographers are less likely to be concerned about allowing a cause they support to use their photos without charge. this is not a practice that professional and semiprofessional photographers approve of. targeted image base. The prize was a $200 gift certificate for photography supplies with two runners up prizes of digital frames. edit. especially when they retain copyright and are guaranteed a credit should the images be used. The Brown Annual Fund Photo Contest (www. reproduce and distribute the submitted photograph in Brown University publications. 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. As we’ve seen. Although photographers were told that they would retain copyright of images submitted.” It’s likely that as far as Brown was concerned. 2008 to May 16. Photos will be credited to the photographer named in the entry form.Understandably. this was the point of the contest. The exception is when the organizer is a non-profit. it gathered 388 submissions from 68 entrants—and gave the university a good selection of images to use in its fundraising. N e x t Pa g e – + 29 BUILDING ACTIVE CUSTOMERS WITH PHOTO CONTESTS .flickr. Although the competition ran only from April 7.com/groups/ brownannualfund) invited photographers to submit images of Brown University campus. the rules stated that “photographers agree to donate without any fee or other form of compensation to Brown an irrevocable. non-exclusive license to use. perpetual. 2008. claiming copyright over submitted images on Flickr is a quick way to pick up some negative publicity and limit the appeal of the contest.
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. allowing them to engage customers and publicize their products. 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. Flickr’s infrastructure makes an image-based contest very simple to organize. On the other hand. Contests on Flickr can be useful promotional tools. 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. Photographers do pay close attention to the terms though and are protective of their copyright.Organizers however. 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 . For any type of company though. offering market rates for the use of winning entries can turn a contest into an attractive-looking job ad.
a stream with varied images and a personal feel looks much . We’ve seen that when it comes displaying product photos. we’ve looked at just three of the ways a number of companies of various sizes are making use of Flickr to promote themselves. N e x t Pa g e – + 31 In this ebook.CONC L U SI O N Flickr was not built to be a commercial tool. 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. Part of its infrastructure however gives the site a great deal of potential for companies wishing to use the site to promote themselves. It was built as a way for people who take pictures to share them. The image galleries provide a free platform to exhibit goods. The profile provides a free page to offer a subtle sales message.
turn attendees into networking hubs and extend the reach of a corporate stall.more attractive and more interesting than one that contains nothing more than catalog shots. and most importantly. To gain that recognition. companies will still have to do all of the usual activities that Flickr members undertake when promoting their streams. comments and “faves” an image generates. 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. commenting on other images. We’ve reviewed how shots of conferences and events can be used to promote the events themselves. whether the products are related to photography or not. For a commercial user that success will be measured in sales and brand recognition. Flickr makes all of these strategies simple to implement. those are strategies that are currently underused. 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 . This includes submitting their images to groups. the site’s size and infrastructure make it a potentially valuable promotional tool. targeting the Explore page and building contacts. And we’ve examined how Flickr provides a useful structure for companies wishing to organize competitions. it has to be done without an overt sales message. For enterprises that are willing to put the effort into marketing their Flickr presence though. Success on Flickr is usually measured in the number of image views. contacts and group submissions companies on Flickr are generating. Where things get a little harder is in the marketing. Judging by the number of views.
photopreneur.com Available from Amazon .Featured titles from Photopreneur www.