Using Flickr to Socialize Your Products
Flickr, a photo sharing site, can be a powerful tool for promoting your products. Not only can you upload images of your products, where they can be seen throughout the Flickr website, but you can encourage your customers to participate and socialize with your company and products by uploading and sharing their own images of your products.
The Action Shot
Product pictures on ecommerce sites should look professional, with well-designed placement, colors, and layouts. However these images often do not convey how the product is actually used. More casual action shots may not work as a primary product photo, but can be valuable buying information for your customers. Using Flickr to show these images alongside your professional photos will help your customers make purchase decisions without affecting your own portrayal of your products.
Action shots are also a great way to encourage your customers to participate by uploading their own photos of your products in use. Not only will you give a little recognition to your customers, you’ll also show potential customers how the product is used, and that other people have made a satisfying purchase. Flickr makes it easy to show any subset of your photos with their ready-to-go widgets.
By forming a group on Flickr, you give your customers a place to connect with you and each other. A Flickr group will encourage customers to upload their own photos of your products and comment on the photos already posted. Being able to interact with each other will give your customers a method for sharing experiences with your products and connecting to your company on a new level. Potential customers will be able to see what your customers are saying to each other and how they use your products.
Tag, You’re It
Tagging is the act of adding keywords to a photo in order to describe it and make it more findable. Flickr allows you to add keywords to your product images in order to make them show up in these searches. By showing up in keyword searches, you can introduce your products to a much wider range of possible customers. Having images that are fun and exciting (such as action shots) will also be more enticing to potential customers.
Flickr allows anyone to add notes to photos (if the author allows it). Customers will feel more connected to your products and brand if they can voice their opinions. Not only is this a great way to collect free market research, commenting gives you the opportunity to connect directly to your customers. You have the opportunity to improve your products and give your customers exactly what they are willing to spend money on.
Communities don’t start overnight, so just posting photos to Flickr will probably not be enough to get your customers involved. Customers are very selfish and they will want very clear benefits for any use of their time. A great way to get started is by offering an incentive, such as 5% off of the next purchase if customers post an action shot on Flickr. Another way is to run a contest and have your customers vote on the best photos in return for a free product, promotion or discount.
As an added benefit of using social networks, your company and product names will appear more often in search results on search engines. Customers will feel more involved with your brand and company and will be more likely to refer you to other potential customers. Giving customers a way to connect with each other encourages interaction and also provides you with free market research and social marketing opportunities. Using Flickr as a promotion tool will work best if it is integrated into your overall marketing strategies and if you take the opportunity to listen and share with your customers.
Who Uses Flickr on Their Site?
Lots of ecommerce sites are jumping on the Flickr bandwagon. For example, you can check out some goofy and fun photos of tee shirt lovers in the Threadless Tees Photo Gallery. Threadless further encourages customer participation by offering a small monetary credit to customers who upload photos.
In another example, sellers of the Internet companion Chumby encourage customer participation through both Flickr and YouTube. Visitors can upload, view and share photos and videos of the Chumby in use. And, because the Chumby can be used to present photos and videos, that makes Chumby’s association with Flickr the perfect complement.