photo sharing best practices

Sharing images has become an increasingly popular social tool. Sites like PhotoBucket, Picasa and Flickr allow people to upload images and tag them for serendipitous discovery.

Imagery, as one of the most powerful means of communication, should be both harnessed by the company as well as monitored for situational awareness.


  • Titles of images should be descriptive with keywords with the intent of maximizing SEO. Search engines rank a title of a page as an important element which tells what is on that page – so using the image name (DSC10032) as the image title means you totally miss this opportunity. The public doesn’t understand that name & while it’s important to classify the image, it can be done at the end of the caption. Sample titles should make sense like a bulleted item and be rich with keywords, such as: Miss USA talks to School Children in Athens, Ga.
  • Tie flickr image back to site to generate traffic to the company Web site. If there is a companion story then make sure to add that link to the story in the caption, which will connect the flickr content with company Web site & probably generate new visitors to the site.
  • Be accurate with keywords. Keywords should only reflect what is happening in the photo – so if the picture is Miss USA at the same event as another dignitary – but the dignitary is no where to be seen, don’t tag the image with that other guy’s name.
  • Ensure tags are consistent. Make sure that everytime you tag a component of the company from photo to photo that the tagging conventions are consistent. For example is it Coke, Cocacola or Coca-Cola? Be consistent so that you are better able to group similar pictures over a long period of time.
  • Be maximally inclusive with tags. What is every and any possible object featured in the image and what would people type into a search engine to find that picture? Don’t settle for a single keyword because not everyone will use that same word when searching for the same type of image. Use the “referrers” in the “domains” part of the flickr stats to understand what people are typing in search engines to get to these pix to help you pick the most successful tags.
  • Since this flickr is targeted at the public, try to make it more understandable to the public. That is, pick a username without acronyms. Make the name as generic & big company branded as possible.
  • Create albums. With the flickr pro account, you can add several albums. Make the most of that & create differently themed albums then file images appropriately.
  • Link the profile back to the company Web site. The profile should make it obvious that this is an official account, and be written conversationally. Additionally, it should link back to the company to drive traffic there & lend credibility to the fact this is the official account.

Consider starting a group for others’ pictures dealing with your company. People would be able to share their own brand-related shots in the pool and is a great way to also increase exposure to your own imagery. You simply need to create a group or a pool as desired then when you find someone eles’s image that fits with the theme of that group you click “Invite this photo to ….” (under the comment block) and select the appropriate group. Even if the user doesn’t allow his photo be added to your group, other viewers of the image will see the invitation which is listed asĀ  comment on that image.

Make more contacts (i.e., “friend” more people). When you friend someone, that person is likely to friend you back. Getting someone to add you to his lists of contacts is key because then everytime you upload a new image it will show up for that friend when he logs in — which often leads to unplanned viewing of your images. Don’t be afraid to friend people or align with them – if someone has racy or inappropriate content then just unfriend that person, it isn’t a big deal.

Create a list of keywords that describe your company and its issues. Do regular searches on Flickr, Google images and other photo sharing sites to see what is being posted on these topics.

With regard to metrics, the pro account allows you to look at all kinds of really elementary stats in the stats screen.

It shows which pix are most popular, referrals, etc. The stats are pretty basic so you will just get an idea of what TYPE of pic the users like the most (pics of people or coke bottles?).

The best use of stats is to really review the referrals to figure out what people are typing into search engines to get to the site, which should help in fine-tuning tags. Additionally, it will help showcase a particularly popular referral (say Facebook, for instance). Use this to not only inform decisions on putting more of what people like on the flickr, but also to identify areas to work harder (increasing referrals from a specific site like Facebook etc).

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