Hi there! My name is Tobias Björkgren and this is my first entry for MyNewsdesk’s blog.
I am a freelance photographer specializing in portrait and editorial photography. I am also a photo editor for Makthavare.se, an online political magazine. Some of my clients include companies like Fjällräven, organizations like Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur, and magazines like InternetWorld.
I am an avid Flickr user both recreationally for my private pictures and professionally for my clients’ official images. In this blog entry, I’d like to talk a little about what Flickr is and why companies should use this service.
What Is Flickr?
Flickr launched in Vancouver in 2004 and is now the world’s largest photo-community, with an archive of about 5 billion images. It’s quite easy to understand why Flickr is successful. The web interface is uncomplicated and for just $25 per year, you can get an online image bank with unlimited storage space.
But why should your company care about Flickr? Well, simply ask yourself if your company should make use of image galleries: if you want to promote your brand visually or express a certain feeling or opinion graphically, then you’d probably want your audience to actually see and share these images.
This is where Flickr comes in. It can help spread your images quickly, using simple and cost-effective means!
It’s Easy: Upload, Name and Tag
To upload an image is straightforward. Either use Flickr’s own interface (just follow the steps), or use popular photo-editing programs and plugins, such as Aperture or Lightroom.
Flickr offers the possibility to name and tag your images, increasing the “searchability” in Flickr’s public library. This means that people searching a particular keyword will be able to see your images listed in the search results, if your image names and tags correspond to that keyword. You can even write a short description for each image, thus strengthening its message.
With Flickr, you categorize your images into “sets”, which in turn are organized into “collections”. I usually upload an event or an assignment into a new set, then put them into collections organized by a certain theme. Here’s an example:
Get More People to Use Your Images
On your company’s Flickr account, you can publish everything from snapshots of your office and staff, to press images of certain products or projects by professional photographers. You can even upload different versions of projects and images, and allow users to vote on which version is best.
A good example of how to use Flickr for this purpose is the SwedenSocialWebCamp conference. After the conference, they informed all participants that they could enter a photo competition by uploading their own images of the event to the Flickr Group. A voting would then take place and the winners would receive really great prizes.
Remember, you can even create certain programs or applications that allow you to publish a selection or stream of images on your own website or on your Facebook page, perhaps even highlighting the recent photo competitions.
An example Flickr “Badge”
Create a Flickr Group for Your Campaign
The next time your company or organization plans a press conference, a fair, a debate, a release party, or a festival, make sure to create a Flickr Group in advance and inform all participants that they can upload there images to the Group.
Fjällräven did exactly this when they created a Flickr Group for the 2010 edition of the Fjällräven Classic. The participants of this event, including myself, posted images to the this Group and Fjällräven has published a selection the most striking of images on their own website as well, enhancing their brand image using crowd-sourced material.
A Flickr Group works best when used as an online gathering place for time-bound events or campaigns. Using the Group function, you can set up rules and standards for images and uploads, as well as limit how many images each user can publish to the group.
An example of this is when Makthavare.se created a Group during this year’s Almedalen, Sweden’s largest political festival. (Almedalen was especially poignant during this election year.) The images uploaded to the Flickr Group were allowed to be used by anyone for non-commercial purposes.
A more recent example of using a Flickr Group can be viewed here. I photographed this year’s edition of the Internetdagarna conference in Stockholm, Sweden’s primary meeting point for Internet professionals.
During the conference, we agreed that all images published to the assigned Flickr Group could be used under the CC-BY license. This license allows the images to be shared freely, for any purpose, as long as the photographer is credited or mentioned. That way, all media and the general public can use high-quality images of the conference and use them for their own purposes, be it an article or a blog entry.
There are of course other types of licenses that, for example, prevent the commercial use of the images uploaded or licenses that do not allow edits to be made to the image. You can read about that on CreativeCommons.org.
These are just a few examples of how you can use Flickr simply and effectively to increase the spread and awareness of a specific campaign, how you can crowd-source images of your brand for your own use, or how you can share your own images to a wider audience.
If you’d like to discuss ideas or get help with setting up a Flickr account, please do not hesitate to contact me for more info!
All the best,