Business Tips – Flickr Basics is a photo-sharing website with a broad audience.  It boasts a group of members from around the globe and hosts millions of photos and videos.  It’s a place where amateurs and professionals alike can share their images, learn from each other, and share inspiration.   While Flickr is not a selling platform or a place to advertise your shop, it can help you expand your reach and share your work with people who might not bump into you on Etsy.

Photographer Recycled Magnetic Neclace Locket Set by Polarity

There are many different features on Flickr, but we’ll cover some basics today.

First, and it bears repeating, Flickr is not a place to advertise your shop, however as Cindi from BrassPaperclip points out, it is “a place to build contacts and some recognition, so when people are thinking about shopping, they’ll come back to you.”   Karen of KarenMeyers shares this sentiment and adds that people have convoed her through Etsy after finding her work on flickr.  It’s been my experience that publishers will also search through Flickr when researching an article or book, and if your work catches their eye, it could result in an opportunity for you.  All of this potential networking may make Flickr worth a look for you.

If you’re thinking of opening a Flickr account there are a few things you should know.

You can choose from a free account that limits your photo uploads to 200 images, or pay for a “Pro” account that places no limit on the number of photos and videos you upload.  Pro accounts also offer extra goodies such as stats that can help you identify where your Flickr traffic is coming from, and to what images they’re coming to.  This can help you identify trends and can even point out which keywords people are using in search when they’ve found you.

Flickr lays out their rules in the Community Guidelines so you should familiarize yourself with them.  If you break the rules your account can be deleted before you even know what happened.  What’s key for Etsy shop owners is that you cannot indicate in your photo descriptions or tags that your items are for sale.  You can list your Etsy shop address in your profile however, and savvy Flickr users know to look there for shop and blog information.

You can choose to make your photos public or share them only with contacts that you’ve marked as friends or family. This allows you to share photos of the kids with their Aunt across the country privately, but keep your product images available to the community at large.

There are many different groups on Flickr, focusing on a vast array of subjects.  By uploading images to groups, you can connect with others with similar interests, whether that be gardening, macro photos, or your chosen craft.   There are groups that offer inspiration, connect you with others in your geographical area, and you can also join groups that will offer you tips to improve your photo skills (and what better audience than a site full of photographers to give you input?).  Why, the EcoEtsy team has it’s very own Flickr group too!

Because Flickr is a community of photographers, there is an emphasis on the quality and “interestingness” of photos.  If your photograph ends up in Explore, it could easily result in hundreds, even thousands of views within a very short timeframe.  That’s a lot of new eyes on your work.

Tips for success:

  • Upload your best photos of your work.  Quality over Quantity works here.
  • Upload content that is interesting.  Behind-the-scenes photos or artful photos of your work that can’t be seen in your Etsy shop make for interesting subjects.
  • Join and actively participate in groups related to your interests.
  • Explore the community, mingle, and mark people as contacts whose work you find interesting.  You never know where your next contact can take you.

We’ve just scratched the surface here and there are many other features of Flickr that we’ll discuss in a future post.  If you’re thinking of joining Flickr, how do you think you’ll use it?  If you’re already using Flickr, what has your experience been?

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  1. Candace – I think you’re right, not all of the networking sites suit everyone. For me, Flickr has been very successful both in terms of direct sales and traffic in general. I use Twitter and find it mildly successful, but had no success with Facebook at all. I think you have to take a hard look, like you’ve said above, and determine which works for you.

  2. I have tried using Flickr, and while I know it’s another avenue for networking, it’s extremely time consuming. I think at some point you have to look at the fact that not all networking opportunities convert to sales, and for me, Flickr just doesn’t seem to make a difference. I feel like I could better invest my time by using avenues like Facebook and Twitter. I’m curious if others have also had this experience.

  3. I started using Flickr, probably around the time that I joined Etsy in 2006. I needed a place online to share some of the art I was making & it was a perfect fit. I think the original reason was for a doll that I wanted to show on my blog, but at the same time not have a dozen pictures of one thing appear in my post. Sometimes there are photos I’d like to show someone & they just don’t fit in the theme of my blog – or there’s a community event I’d like to post pictures of – Flickr’s a great place for it.

    It has helped my business, too. A couple of times, folks have commented that they liked my work and in Flickr Mail, I was able to let them know that I have an Etsy shop where they could purchase that item. So, it’s helped with recognition in an indirect way. (Even though I put my shop and blog links in my Flickr profile, I don’t get tons of traffic from that source.)

    Tamdoll on Flickr:

    Recently, I’ve received notice that an international supplier wants to put one of my pictures – found on Flickr! – on their webpage and I’m pretty excited about that. When it goes live, then I’ll blog about it. (Trying to contain my excitement and not mention too much about it until I see it really happen though.)

  4. Great post! I am looking forward to the next installment on using Flickr. I have been very unimaginative with my Flickr account and after reading this, the gears in my brain are already turning! Thanks so much!

  5. i have been on Flickr for a couple of years..mostly to move photos onto my blog can be very time consuming to look at all the amazing photographers/artists on this medium but it is good networking !

    I would like to join the ecoetsy group.

  6. I have been using the Flickr pro account for a couple of years now and I never knew you could get stats. Thank you for pointing that out. What useful information.