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Are photo-sharing sites overlooked?

3 min read


This post was written by Mirna Bard, a social media consultant, speaker, author and instructor of social media at the University of California, Irvine.

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: What’s your opinion of photo-sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram and Color?

  • I have never used these services: 35.84%
  • They’re great for consumers but have limited business potential: 34.10%
  • They’re great services with business potential: 20.23%
  • They’re not worthwhile for business or personal use: 9.83%

Although photo-sharing websites do not seem to get as much attention as other kinds of social networks, sites such as Flickr have built a solid base of users and are extremely popular with search engines. It seems to be little known to SmartBrief on Social Media readers that many people flock to these sites for personal and business use.

The truth is photos have been going social since the late ’90s, and sites as Flickr, Instagram and Color have taken it to a whole another level with mobile applications. These sites are not only fun and engaging tools used to share photos with friends and family but also great tools to gain exposure and create a well-rounded view of any event or experience as well as fantastic tools to help create a visual for products and services because a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

About 44% of readers might not agree, but I think any sort of network can have great business potential if used properly. Photo-sharing sites work the same way as other forms of social networking. Users must be an active member of the community to see any results. On Flickr, for example, the key is to show that you are an avid user by not only sharing photos but also interacting with other users and commenting on their pictures. This will keep you connected and increase the number of people who look at your profile and photographs, in turn increasing the number of visitors to your website, events, products or services.

These photo-sharing tools can give a human face to any business and should not be overlooked. Over the years, I have seen many not-for-profits, e-commerce businesses, as well as large corporations gain many benefits from photo-sharing sites.

How have you used photo-sharing sites? Do you feel they have business potential if used properly?