I've been using Flickr for about 6-7 years now for my blog and personally and I love it. It is the YouTube of photos. Tons of people use it and what make it really useful are all of the social media parts built right in.
One of the reasons I like using Flickr is that it saves me time when publishing photos to multiple places at once. I can send a photo from my mobile phone and have it be posted to Twitter, show up on my blog, and maybe even appear on a map. Of course it also gets tagged and archived on Flickr forever.
Below are some tips and how-tos to get the most out of Flickr.
Tags, Groups, and Titles
1. Add a descriptive title and tags to all of your photos.
Remember, these photos get indexed by the search engines and the title shows up in the tag which search engines love. Plus, people like to search by tags so tags are key.
2. Help your fans share your photos.
Tell your fans how they should tag photos that relate to your event, business, organization, charity, etc. If you are Red Horse, tag it redhorse. If it is an event, maybe add the year (davincidays and davincidays09). This makes it very easy for you to find photos from your fans and use those photos in an effective way.
3. Set up a group to let your fans connect to each other and share.
Groups allow your fans to share their favorite photos with you and all or your other fans. It also has a discussion area that can lead to great conversations. Ultimately, this could lead to a community of people who share a passion for your event, organization, or product.
Groups give you the ability to publish group content to other sources. More on that below.
Using Flickr to make your life easier
1. Make it easy to send photos to Flickr.
The Flickr Uploader is great, but do you always have your camera with you? How about your phone? Right. If you have a camera on your phone and can send email or MMS, set up your Flickr mobile upload email address. This will allow you to email live photos from an event, product launch, or the coffee shop. If you have a phone with a browser, bookmark the Flickr mobile site at http://m.flickr.com.
Now setup your blog and twitter email addresses as well. Stop using TwitPic or yFrog. You want all of your photos in the same place for maximum impact.
2. Link your Flickr account to everything in your social media portfolio.
Easy first step, create a slideshow and embed it on your blog/website/ning profile/etc.
Look for the little "Slideshow" grey image in the top right of most pages.
Now after the slideshow loads, click the "Share" link in the slideshow and embed the slideshow in your page. Like this:
Next, try linking your photos to your Facebook Page (using MyFlickr). Or add a Flickr badge to your blog side bar.
There are a multitude of WordPress plug-ins, Flash widgets, and other things that you can use to link your photos or your fans photos everywhere that you can.
Why is this cool? Upload a photo once, and let it create content everywhere. Better yet, let your fans and community create content while you sleep, then publish it everywhere.
3. Let your inner developer come out and do some mashups
The biggest cool factor for Flickr are the mashup possibilities. Both with the Flickr API and with RSS.
Flickr has RSS on almost every page with photos. Photos by tag, group, set, and almost anything you can imagine. This makes it prime for mashups, and simple things that nearly anyone can do.
See the little orange icon in the address bar of your browser? That is an RSS feed for whatever you are currently looking at on Flickr. Go to a tag, there it is. Click on the "Flickr: ... RSS feed" item and get the address. You are ready for some simple mashups.
How do you use that? Try making a custom widget on Widgetbox. Here's one for the DaVinciDays tag:
Or get the geoFeed and stick it on a map. Check out http://loc.alize.us/ and see what I made below with the davincidays tag:
Of course, the real power comes with the Flickr API. You can do literally anything. Upload photos, search by tags, search by camera used, add comments, and nearly anything else you can do on the normal web site.
Some examples of really cool stuff done with the Flick API:
Search photos by color and shape.
Cool globe visualization of a set of photos.
Multicolr Search Lab
Another search by color service.
Sometimes life calls for a montage.
Big Huge Labs
Tons of Flickr tools on this site.
Want to try doing something with the Flickr API yourself? Take a look at the Flickr Services page.
For a good tutorial on using jQuery to access the Flickr API, take a look at this blog post: " Pulling Your Flickr Feed with jQuery".
For more tools, API examples, and tips take a look at these articles:
The Great Flickr Tools Collection
How To Get The Most Out of Flickr
Now get out there and start using Flickr! I'd love to hear your favorite things about Flickr too. How are you using Flickr in your Social Media mix?