|Are you still using social media to build up the heat on your website after being stunned by the myths we’ve dispelled about Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Feedburner, and Digg in Part I of our social media article, and shocked by the secrets we’ve revealed about Delicious and YouTube in Part II? Well, now it’s time to get super hot with the information we’ll flash you about Flickr, StumbleUpon, and Google Buzz in the third and final chapter of our series.|
Flickr is site that allows users to post, organize, and share photos and videos of their hobbies, lives, travels, interests, and weird fetishes.
The Flickr Misconception:
Unlike other social media sites, such as Digg and Delicious, where the possibility of success is over-hyped, I believe that the use of Flickr is slightly undervalued, and is largely still considered as a personal or hobbyist resource.
The Flickr Truth:
It will take the right kind of subject matter, but Flickr can be used as a promotional tool. However, like anything else, it is all about the right targeting and tactics.
Just like with YouTube, Flickr is a visual medium, and therefore, there will always be certain content that is more alluring and prone to improve your possibility of a promotional boost. However, many users don’t rely on Flickr search results alone find content they are looking for, so how and where the content is placed is as important as the subject matter itself.
A. Groups – Because of the manner in which Flickr is organized, finding appropriate groups for your content is an immensely important task. In fact, I would say that if you don’t already have ready to upload content, then you should find a group before you even start taking photos or uploading.
“Ok”, you say, “I believe you that a Flickr group’s important”, but what’s a Flickr group, and why does it matter?” you ask inquisitively.
Good question. Well, a Flickr group consists of a number of users that have banded together to form something called a “Pool”, which is pretty much like a community album in which many of the users have contributed images. Finding the right groups to submit your images is crucial, because many Flickr users stop searching for photos after they have joined a number of groups, and simply check their groups updates to get their daily image fixes.
B. Content – Here’s some popular stuff form Flickr:
B1. Travel and Locations
Don’t take my word for it; check the all-time most popular tags from Flickr:
At the time of writing this, I would say about 70% of the most popular tags have to do with various locations, including generic locations such as beach, as well as specific destinations such as New York. Not only are the locational tags the most common/popular tags on Flickr, but they provide the easiest subject matter to shoot, can be created by just about anyone, and offer an enormous number of group pools to share your images.
B2 – Flickr Fan Art
Here’s a great way to jump in on a trend that will never go out of fashion on Flickr. There are Flickr fan groups such as this one here http://www.flickr.com/groups/fanart/. These fan groups like to use the Flickr logo, or sometimes even just the color of the Flickr logo, in unusual and unconventional ways. For the creative minded, there are unlimited possibilities to work the flickr theme into your products or websites that would allow for a suitable contribution.
B3. Artsy Black and White Images
There are some very popular groups that support this theme. How can this help you? Two words: Very Artsy Product Photos.
B4. Girls, Girls, Girls
Youtube viewers loved your interviews of girls wearing your site’s logo on a t-shirt, as illustrated in part II, and they’re bound to go gaga over the same on Flickr. In fact, after some “investigative research”, I’ve come to notice that given the same placement within the same pool, pictures featuring attractive women tend to receive a great deal more attention in the form of comments and notes than photos of ordinary objects and men. There are even many non-adult groups on Flickr that consist of submissions of nothing other than pictures of women, such as these:
Low and behold, there’s even a group for women in logo t-shirts!
(Note, you may have to sign in to see the above groups)
B5. Holidays and Seasonal Images
Take out your Santa hats and green beer, seasonal searches are huge, and there are plenty of groups to support and promote such holiday imagery.
B6. Design Portfolios
If you have an online portfolio, you can expose your work to a broader audience by uploading your images to Flickr. There are a number of groups that support design portfolios, like this web design group http://www.flickr.com/groups/webdesign/. Additionally, some popular online magazine blogs, such as http://www.smashingmagazine.com have been known to use flickr to find work examples, which could really give you big boost.
B7. Any Images that Fit a Genre or Theme
Pick something else that you can produce images for, and either be a group that supports it, or begin your own group. There are lots of unique groups out there that you can probably produce some content to fit, such as rainbows, Polaroids, Tattoos, and even Product Photography – what better opportunity is there?
B8. Best of/Best Shot Groups
When scouting groups for contribution, don’t overlook the search for “best of” and “best shots” these groups have loyal followings and can become quite popular. For example, Best of Cats has over 47,000 photos and nearly 16,000 members! There are also general best of groups, like Best of Flickr.
C. Friends and Family – A great way to network on Flickr is by adding other strong submitters to “Friends” or “Family”. If they add you back, then you appear on their profile page for their own fans to discover, and your updates will also appear on their main login screen.
D. Watermarking – This is the internet, and any half decent thing that you upload is bound to be stolen at some point. Therefore, be sure to add a watermark with your website URL so people that see the image down the line can at least be exposed to your website name.
E. Username – This is the best way to get the name of your site out there on Flickr. Whenever someone views your photo, or even a thumbnail of your photo in a group pool, the username appears along with the image. If you enter yoursitename.com as the username, then a lot more users will see your site name.
F. Description, Title, and Keywords – Other than the obvious, which is making sure you enter enough details you make you images findable in searches, you should also put a little website information in the description area after you have described the image.
G. Profile – Pretty basic; write a description that will appear on your public profile page, and discuss your site or services.
H. Group Discussions – While it would be outright spammy to post links or announcements in the discussion section of Flickr, it is a good idea to create or participate in discussions. If you titled your username correctly, that alone will bump up your visibility, and users often investigate the portfolios of those that are in active discussion.
I. Flickr Tools – Flickr offers premium tools, which I admittedly have not tinkered with. However I understand the concept. If you do become a premium member of Flickr, their traffic stats feature can tell you what groups are sending you the most traffic, so you can focus your contributions where they matter the most.
Owner Interaction with Users: 8
(Users can comment on your images and post notes, and you can even participate in group discussions.)
Requires Existing Site Popularity: 1
(Sure you can link your Flickr gallery from your own site to get some traffic moving. However, the Flickr community and existing groups are already very strong and you can get massive views from scratch using Flickr alone.)
Viral Potential: 6
(I’ve seen a number of Flickr submissions make the front page of dig or online magazines such as smashngmagazine without any aide from the uploader. Flickr photos also make for popular tweets.)
Ongoing Effort Required by Site Owner: 8
(Promoting on Flickr can take a fair bit of effort in determining the right type of images that will become popular, and still relate to your site. It also takes a bit of research to ensure you are contributing to the right groups.)
Stumbleupon is a website designed to cater to the enormous segment of web surfers that suffer from ADD by randomly sending them to a website based on their selected interest categories.
The StumbleUpon Misconception:
Stumbled sites are completely random, and getting stumbled happens entirely by chance.
The StumbleUpon Truth:
All stumble votes are not equal, there are stumble games being played, and networking can play a role in stumble popularity.
That’s right, I said there is gaming happening in the seemingly innocent world of stumble. The fact of the matter, though, is that majority rules and random stumblers will ultimately decide if something stays actively stumbled. This being said, here are some methods some folk are using to prime the stumble pump.
A. Add a Stumble Button to Your Site – Basic technique. Same as with the other social media sites. Badges and buttons are found on StumbleUpon’s site here: http://www.stumbleupon.com/buttons/
B. StumbleXChange – There are a few services, such as StumbleExchange http://www.stumblexchange.com/ , where users actively exchange stumbles with each other. I know on Digg, this type of activity was frowned upon, but I haven’t heard a lot of moaning over exchanging stumbles.
C. Stumble Those that Link You – Have you been fortunate to have your site linked by a popular blog in some sort of round-up article or the like? If so, give that site a stumble. If they are already pretty popular, then their stumbles will collect quickly, giving your own link on their page a lot more exposure by people that are already stumbling.
D. Friends – Adding friends is often overlooked by new StumbleUpon users. When you add friends, you add exposure to the links that you stumble. Add friends carefully though, because there are limits on your allowed number of friends.
E. Authority – It’s still not widely known, but Stumble accounts can have authority, and can give more weight to a vote than other accounts. There are some uncertain factors in what creates authorities, but some elements in the formula include the number of other users that have added you as a friend, how long you have been stumbling, how well what the pages you’ve stumbled relates to your interests, how many other people agreed and voted positively on your stumbles, and comments given and received.
F. Reviews – Leave reviews on the sites you’ve stumbled and other stumblers will have the opportunity to find your profile, discover what you’ve stumbled, add you as a friend, etc.
G. Check Out This Frickin’ Post – If you really, really, really, want to read much, much, much more about StumbleUpon, this guy has put together a huge manual about stumble tactics. I browsed through it for about 20 minutes when researching some Stumble tactics, and from what I can see, some info is relevant, some is not, but most of it is pretty interesting. If you have a few hours to kill, dive right in.
Owner Interaction with Users: 4
(As a website owner, you don’t really interact much with your own Stumblers, but if you start networking with other Stubmlers as an account holder, you can make some connections.)
Existing Site Popularity: 4
(Something really cool can get stumbled pretty much from scratch if an authority Stumbler happens upon it, however not many Stumblers are likely to find your page if you don’t already get some traffic.)
Viral Potential: 9
(The Stumble Effect is probably second only to the Digg Effect.)
Ongoing Effort Required by Site Owner: 4
(You have two choices really, sit back and hope to get stumbled, or network around and game the system a little to help pick things up.)
10. Google Buzz
Google Buzz is the big name newcomer, and there are a lot of folks that still don’t know what to make of it. It’s often called “twitter on steroids” and allows users to share a variety of media and information with people on their contact list only (people that they’ve emailed in the past) or publicly with the world.
The Google Buzz Misconception:
There aren’t a lot of misconceptions about Google Buzz yet – it’s too new. There are however rumors that it’s a killer of other social networking sites.
The Google Buzz Truth:
The truth is it’s going to take a little more time to see what true advantages Google Buzz can offer.
Google Buzz Tactics:
It’s still only about a month old, but there are already a few emerging methods to utilize Buzz to your advantage.
A. Google Buzz Button – For some reason, Google decided not to release social media buttons – seems pretty counterintuitive for a company that’s already been leading edge and wants to break into the social media network, but who am I to question such a successful company. Anyway, various other sites, such as Buzrr, have released their own buttons that work with Google Buzz. You can find Buzrr’s buttons here http://buzrr.com/buttonselect.php.
B. Create a profile and URL – The first thing you should do when you start using Google Buzz is to fill out your own profile. When you do this, you can set your profile name, which appears in your profile URL. This should of course be our site name. You can edit your profile here:
After you’ve filled it out, link to it from your website.
C. Add Your Buzz to Your Website – MoreTechTips.net has created a widget that will display your Google Buzz feed on your site. Their widget is available here.
E. Market to (Very) Local Customers – DanKennedy.com has figured out a somewhat ingenious way for brick and mortar businesses to market their services to customers in the area, such as messaging movie goers with an offer of half price appetizers from a near buy restaurant. Check it out.
F. Add Your Blog Content – You can basically feed your blog’s content directly into your Google Buzz.
Here’s how Social networker Chris Lang did it:
Here’s a re some good reasons on why to do it from HowToSpoter:
Google Buzz Score:
Owner Interaction with Users: 10
(You can share pretty much anything and everything, and exchange comments on the content, which will also appear in your email.)
Requires Existing Site Popularity: 3
(If your site isn’t super popular, but you’ve emailed a lot of people from your Gmail account, then you already have a lot of contacts that can view your content.)
Viral Potential: 6.5
(I haven’t heard of anyone getting an avalanche of traffic using Buss yet, but it seems like the content is designed to be shared and reshared. You can also connect with Twitter, Picasa, Flickr, etc.)
Ongoing Effort Required by Site Owner: 9.5
(Your Buzz seems like something that will dry up without massive attention.)
This concludes our expectation shattering look at social networks. If you missed parts I and II you can find them below: