iBrand Blog

How to use Flickr for PR & marketing

Whether your work is focused on media relations, content marketing, or community events, Flickr is a great tool to help drive coverage and attract more people to your business.

What is Flickr? Why it is important for communicators? How you can use it for PR and marketing? In this screencast, I answer those questions and show real examples of how communicators can use Flickr. 

View the screencast

What is Flickr

Flickr is a photo hosting and sharing tool created in 2004, largely for the photo enthusiast community. 

Long before there was an Instagram, photographers used the site to showcase and comment on their photos. For a long time, it was seen as the default platform to share images. 

Today Flickr claims more than 51 million registered users and 80 million unique visitors. Yahoo, which purchased Flickr in 2005, says more than 6 billion images are hosted on the site.

With that kind of traffic, brands have now found Flickr a useful platform to fuel their communications campaigns.

Why Flickr?

Flickr has a rich feature set that lends itself to business communications:

Photo stream - All your uploaded photos are displayed in a running timeline called a photo stream. Visitors can always see the latest photos displayed prominently. Each photo can have a headline and a caption. This makes it easy to tell your story.

Flickr allows you to organize your photos into sets. Creating sets for events or news stories can make it easier to tell the story.

Flickr allows you to organize your photos into sets. Creating sets for events or news stories can make it easier to tell the story.

Sets - Photos can be organized into Sets. This is a useful tool for uniting images from a specific event, product or news release. Your set can have its own caption and link back to your site.  Sets can also be shared or viewed as slideshows.

Groups - You can invite others to share images based on any theme or event. Let’s say your team is volunteering at a walkathon. You can create a special Group for the day and invite all your participants to contribute their own photos. This makes it easy for everyone to share within the community.

Galleries - This is the tool you will use to curate and share the best images. You can create a gallery of your 20 favorite images and share those selections. Like your sets, a gallery can be viewed as a lightroom (dark background) and promoted separately.

Tags/keywords -  You can tag each image with an endless number of keywords. These tags are used to help searchers find your images on Flickr. Search queries also include your captions, so make sure you keep those keyword rich as well.

High resolution images, fully downloadable - Your images are available in a number of different sizes for download. If an editor decides to use your photo, she can download a thumbnail, web resolution, or high resolution file. No need to resize. There are plenty of options.

Creative Commons - You determine the Copyright or licensing structure for each of your images. Under Creative Commons, you can pre-authorize use of your images within certain guidelines -- attribution, commercial use, derivatives, or share alike. Many editors search specifically for Creative Commons photos, so selecting one of those options increases the likelihood that your images are seen and used.

Discussion platform - Within groups, you can create discussion threads. This is a great way to encourage interaction. If your group is focused around a conference, create discussion threads around specific speakers or big ideas. Keep the conversation going.

Easy to share & distribute - Flickr photos have all the usual sharing options -- email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. You can also create direct links to the images and codes for embedding photos on your site.

How would you use Flickr for PR & Marketing?

Store images to distribute with news releases -- Create a set for your news release. Each image can include full captions and instructions for photo credits. Include a link back to the full story and news release on your site. 

When you publish your release or pitch your story, you can provide the link for journalists to download high resolution or web images.

Since you will be including all your keywords in tags, bloggers or journalists who are covering your topic or industry are likely to find your images for any related story. This is another way to find sources you might not have targeted.

The White House photo stream is a great example of how Flickr can be used to distribute newsworthy images.

The White House photo stream is a great example of how Flickr can be used to distribute newsworthy images.

Showcase images of products -- Store your high-end product shots on Flickr with full descriptions and links back to your site. Bloggers who are looking for illustrations are likely to find them. If your photos are tagged as Creative Commons, the stories will be required to carry a link back to your site. This is a great way to create even more exposure on stories that might not specifically be about your company.

Share images to drive traffic back to your site -- This is related to the previous example. Create stock photo-like images of your product in use. With Creative Commons licensing, you can encourage use in other blogs or marketing products, all pointed back to your site.

Create a community around your events and curate the best photos -- Use the Groups and Galleries during your next conference or volunteering event. Create contests that encourage customers or employees to join and contribute. Curate the best and showcase them on your site. This is an easy way to get more images to fuel your content marketing campaigns.

How can you use Flickr in your communications campaigns. Share your best examples.