How To Market Online with Photos and Videos

If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that people demand instant access to information that goes beyond words on a page. A great way to make an immediate impression on potential customers is with Flickr and YouTube, two of the most popular websites filled with two of the things web surfers love most: photos and videos.

Both Flickr and YouTube are hosting sites, where content is added and shared by the second. Flickr is a photo-sharing site that features over 5 billion images, while YouTube is a video-sharing website and one of the most popular domains on the Internet, where users can view and upload their own videos free of charge. Together, each can help your business gain exposure through contests, imagery and tutorials.

Photos - Flickr. According to their site, Flickr was created to “help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them.” Quite simply, Flickr allows users to upload photos to a specific album or “set,” and share those photos in “groups” that are relevant to their audience. Posting to groups is essential for receiving maximum exposure. Flickr can help you introduce viewers to your company and staff, post before and after pictures of your work, or even provide an outlet for potential customers to upload response images.

It is critical to note that it goes against Flickr’s Terms of Use to “exploit” its service “for any commercial purposes.” This means you shouldn’t share photos that feel like blatant advertising for your company. Instead, post images and image descriptions that your target audience will find informational and interesting. This will demonstrate your expertise without coming across like a sales pitch. When used correctly, Flickr can be an exceptional marketing tool made up of nothing more than what’s on your digital camera.

Videos - YouTube. YouTube isn’t all goofy cats and dancing babies—it is also an excellent way for businesses of any size to inform and entertain potential clients. Product demonstrations and how-to videos on your channel attract viewers who search your topic and can lead to increased interest in your services. YouTube makes it simple to share and post videos, which is how interesting content goes “viral.”

Remember, people visit YouTube to be entertained or enlightened, not sold to, so don’t be promotional. Be sure to support your videos by including links to your channel wherever possible, and create descriptions and “tags”, which are hyperlinked search terms that people might use to find your content, that will maximize the hits your content receives. Compelling video, whether it’s humorous, eye-opening or explanatory, can help you build your brand while creating a dedicated following of subscribers.

Whether it’s a YouTube channel or a photo set on Flickr, you can enhance your online presence and interact with your customers without a major cost investment. All it takes is a little know-how to do it right and have a little fun at the same time.

Helpful links to get you started:

Flickr

Sign up and explore Flickr’s full capabilities: http://www.flickr.com/tour/

And take a look at this: http://www.smallbusinesssem.com/articles/marketing-on-flickr/

YouTube

Get started on YouTube and create your own channel: http://www.youtube.com/t/about_getting_started

Then take a deeper look at what YouTube can do: http://www.youtube.com/t/about_essentials

Learn even more: http://www.businessinsider.com/youtube-business-2010-2 and http://mashable.com/2010/04/23/youtube-small-business/

View some eye-opening videos on the FMC Turf channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/FMCturf.

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