Experts Blog

How Flickr Can Drive Traffic To Your Site

By Shelly Kramer on Dec 19, 2011 - 02:26 PM

Flickr isn't just a photo-sharing site – it's a valuable tool with which you can drive traffic to your website and increase your brand's recognition.

Compared to some of the other social media platforms in existence seems like a dark horse – or at least a vastly under-utilized tool. With more than 50 million registered members, Flickr maintains a consistent level of activity that includes thousands of photos uploaded every minute, and nearly 4.5 million uploads daily.

As with other social media sites, using Flickr takes time – and to make it an effective part of your social media and digital marketing strategy, you'll need to get in the habit of regularly uploading photos so that you're frequently updating your image library. That, plus a few other steps that we'll discuss in a moment, can help you put Flickr to work for you in several ways: driving traffic to your web site, increasing brand recognition, expanding your online reach and introducing a potential revenue stream through photo sales.

The Case For Flickr

If you're still in need of some reasons why you should use Flickr as part of your social media strategy, consider these businesses and brands that have successfully incorporated the image-sharing site.

The Smithsonian has created numerous Flickr groups and encourages visitors to post their photos. For those who post to the “Smithsonian Through Your Lens” group, the Smithsonian displays the photos on their website, vastly increasing each image's visibility beyond Flickr.

Not only does the Smithsonian emerge as a go-to source for images, but it also rewards those who post their photos, increasing the Smithsonian's reputation as a socially minded organization that is invested in the user experience both online and off.

Ford Motor Company has integrated Flickr as part of the company's aggressive, highly visible social media strategy. The photostream showcases reveals for new products and concepts, as well as informative images like infographics. The company also posts event photos, such as those from the San Diego F-150 EcoBoost Challenge Event.

The result? Thanks to its Flickr use, Ford emerges as an active brand that's not only invested in its products, but also its community and consumers. Plus, the photostream acts as an authoritative source when it comes to giving Flickr browsers a look at what's to come from the venerable automaker.

Not sure of what you should post on Flickr? If you're a business that offers a service or product, consider posting photos of them. A homebuilder, for example, could upload photos of completed homes, as well as an inside look at the construction process. If you own a retail boutique, post photos of products, your store and events you host. That way, you'll not only provide images that others can use for their blogs, but you'll also introduce a wider audience to your business and what you offer.

Now that you're fully committed to the Flickr bandwagon, let's look at how you can use the site to drive more traffic to your website.

Using Flickr To Drive Traffic

Let's start with the basics. Create a Flickr account, if you don't already have one, and upload photos. If you already have an account, add more images. Keep in mind that a successful Flickr strategy takes more than uploading images, although that step is key. Search engine optimization matters – even when it comes to images. Each time you upload a photo, take a few moments to fill in critical information such as:

* a title with descriptive keywords

* descriptive tags that detail the photo and its intended use

* licensing information

* a mapped location

You may think of SEO only in terms of written content such as blog posts and website copy. Yet images can be optimized, too, and it's important to not overlook photos as part of your overall SEO strategy. When you name an image, use keywords. That being said, be careful not to overload the title with keywords – the results will be cumbersome and less effective. Another tip? Step into a prospective searcher's shoes. How would you phrase queries that match your image? By incorporating these strategies into your image names, you'll create a clearly labeled, visible body of work that will help you emerge as a valuable source of image content.

Once you've created an image library, be sure to regularly add images. Creating a productive Flickr pool is no different from building your blog. Just as you would post regular blogs to entice new readers to your site and to enhance your visibility, adding photos to your Flickr pool will increase your online research and give people more reasons to check out your photos and, from there, your website. Voila – increased website traffic!

Analytics Are Sweet

While we're discussing the similarities between Flickr pools and blog posts, let's not forget analytics. Flickr offers built-in analytics, available under the “You” menu as “Your Stats.” From there, you can look at “Referrers,” or how people are finding your images. You can also see the keywords for which they're searching, which will allow you to refine your image titles and tags so that they'll be even more visible.

If you don't already have them installed, you'll want to create prominent Flickr links on your website, blog and social media profiles. Let people know that you're an active Flickr user and create a two-way stream of traffic to and from your Flickr pool. The same goes for your Flickr profile. Make sure links to your website and/or blog are included so that people can click and access more information about you and your business.

Have you started using Flickr to drive more traffic to your site and market your business? If not, think we might've inspired you to do so as a result of this post? If you do start using Flickr, be sure and circle back and let us know what kind of results you're seeing!