By Dixie Somers

Most small businesses understand the benefits of marketing over the major social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. But the one social platform that’s often overlooked is Flickr. There’s a great deal of potential here for promoting your new company. Below are some tips on how.

Understanding Flickr

Flickr is a Yahoo! site where members can upload and share photos organized into different collections. It’s a community platform like other social sites, but is designed around impressive and creative imagery from both amateur and professional photographers. You can get two levels of service: Free, which limits you to 100 photos, and a paid Pro version at monthly or yearly rates. With Pro, you get unlimited uploads plus the ability to add video and view stats on your visitors. Flicker’s membership of over 122 million people includes users from all over the world.

Create a Strong Profile

Once you’ve joined Flickr, you can start promoting your business by creating an interesting profile. A profile is included with all accounts, free or paid. This gives you the chance to talk about yourself, your experience, your vision, and basically introduce yourself to other members in a positive way. Flickr frowns on blatant business promotions within the profile itself, but it’s perfectly acceptable to add links to your company website. Just keep it succinct to avoid long paragraphs of text.

Start Adding Photos

Then you start adding photos. You can group them into sets or collections based on anything that fits your business. For example, companies like NuSkin use Flickr to showcase their products and ads. The key to success is high-quality photos. Bad photos aren’t going to do much to impress visitors. Remind yourself that you’re using images to draw people to your products or services. Use high-resolution images with good lighting, shapes, and colors to make the best impact. If you don’t have sound photography skills, consider hiring a professional.

Company Events

You should also add photos that show the human side of your company. Add professional images of yourself and other key team members. You can include images and descriptions of company picnics, your facilities, seminars, charity events, and, with their permission, the faces of smiling customers. You want to present a portrait of a fun, friendly company that cares about its employees and its customers. Emphasize any points that are integral parts of your branding, such as quality assurance testing or new technology.

Increase Your Reach

Flicker allows you to add textual descriptions or tags to each photo. Include keywords so that these pages show up on search engines. You can also add links in your photos to other social accounts, and vice-versa. This way you can reach the maximum number of social users. While Flickr doesn’t condone adding business links to these descriptions, many people get around this by adding their URL to a corner of the photo as a “watermark”. There also thousands of user groups on Flickr under various topics. You can post photos to these groups and comment to other users to grow your contacts.

Use Flickr on Your Website

You can add Flickr links to your website. Instead of adding photo galleries to your company site, use an appropriate image as a link to your Flickr account. There are also millions of shareable images you could use due to Flickr’s creative common licensing option. Exceptional high-quality images produced by others could be of use in blogs or other social media posts to illustrate your ideas. To avoid any repercussions, ask the original owner first. Most people will agree if you mention them in your posts.

People connect more quickly and intuitively with compelling images than with text. This makes Flickr a great social media niche for promoting your startup.

Dixie Somers is an Arizona-based freelance writer. Follow her @DixieSomers.

Photo: By Marco Carranza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons