If your small business is on Flickr, the famed photography social media site that's long been a subsidiary of Yahoo, you now have a few choices – but not much time.
With the sale of Flickr to photo-sharing site SmugMug, you can hold on to your Flickr account for free with a limited number of photos, fork over $50 per year for a Pro account or opt out of Flickr completely.
Flickr users have until Jan. 8 to decide whether to continue posting photos and videos on Flickr, pare down collections to 1,000 photos and videos up to 200MB, or pay up.
If your account holds more than 1,000 photos and videos and you do nothing, starting Feb. 5, SmugMug will start removing your assets, starting with the oldest, until 1,000 are left. Even if you decide to pay for a Pro account later, deleted material will not be restored.
The case for free Flickr
If you own a small business, 1,000 photos is an excellent vehicle to maintain an online visual presence free of charge. The limit forces you to pick your best and most representative visual items and to keep your selection fresh. Here are Flickr strategies that can make your company shine.
Set up a Flickr profile: The profile describes your company and your business in an informational style – no hard sell. Be sure to upload a Buddy Icon – you can use your company logo – into the Flickr system.
Create a portfolio or library: Flickr is a great place to organize and share company photographs and screenshots. Post photos of your products or the process by which your product is made or acquired, chronicle your safety procedures, showcase your immaculate working environment, highlight your connection to suppliers, and even post photos of similar products or services that compare or tie in with yours.
Alternatively, you could highlight people on your management team, employees and interns by spotlighting their experience, knowledge, education and hobbies. New product launches or promotions are a Flickr natural as long as you stay away from the hard sell: Keep text descriptions informational and instructional and concentrate on the image. Tags can include your web address, city and state.Credit: Flickr
Bond with customers: If you have a retail outlet or a public location, post photos of your customers (with their permission). Solicit customer comments for image descriptions, respond to customer queries via photos and instructions, or use your photos or videos to show people different ways to use your product. Promote your company and its employees by posting photos of social events, holiday gatherings, picnics and outings that personalize your small business.Credit: Flickr
Community resources: Flickr has always been about community, and Flickr groups work well for small companies. Consult Flickr groups for visual problem-solving and to connect with other companies in your industry or geographic area. Post your company's photos on group sites, comment on photos you like, whether they're related to your business or not, and add photos to your Favorites list. When you participate in group discussions, each comment showcases your screen name alongside your post.
Flickr Facebook/Twitter synergy: You can use Flickr posts to link URLs to a Facebook or Twitter post. Flickr's tags and full text descriptions of products and services can appear in Google searches, unlike photos posted directly on Facebook or Twitter.
URL watermark: Flickr traditionally eschews the hard sell, but including a URL link as a watermark on some photos can help to advertise your business, inspire new clients and protect your photos from unauthorized use. Just don't overdo it.
Highlight your neighborhood: Showcase a flattering image of your building or storefront so customers can visualize your location. Photograph local attractions and events, include addresses and driving directions of your own and neighboring businesses, and place the photos on the Flickr map. Find and join groups related to your location by searching for your city, nearby cities and your state. Posting photos and joining discussions in those groups can help you connect with local customers.Credit: Flickr
Link your website to your Photostream: Your web visitors may also be interested in your photos, and some viewers may already be Flickr users. Search engines also follow prominent links from your website, and linking to your Photostream can potentially generate more search engine matches.
So, if you decide to start or retain a business presence on Flickr, here's what to do if your photo collection is over the 1,000 limit.
Paring your collection down to size
If you have under 1,000 images or videos on Flickr, you don't have to do anything. However, if you took advantage of Flickr's previous free 1TB cap to use the ad-supported service as a free storage backup, you will have to remove excess photos before SmugMug makes that decision for you. Here are some ways to do it.
Remove images directly from Flickr: Before downloading images, review your assets to remove images and videos you don't need or ones that are flawed. The less you have to download, the better.
Download images from the Camera Roll:
- Log in to Flickr with your Yahoo account.
- Go to the Camera Roll (You > Camera Roll).
- Click Select All.
- Click Download in the pop-up screen.
- The photos will download at full resolution as a ZIP file.
Expand the ZIP file, label the folder with the subject and date, and then save to a backup hard drive or photo album.
If you have extremely large photo sets with thousands of photos, organize them into smaller albums before downloading.
Download whole albums:
- Go to You > Albums and hover over any album you want to download to see a download icon.
- Click to create a ZIP file.
- Download the ZIP file when it's done.
This method retains photo database numbers and photo names as well as EXIF metadata, but it does not save comments, favorites, notes and tags.
Download all photos in one go: Flickr makes it easy for you to remove all your photos at once. Large collections can take a few days, but they also include JSON text files that track contacts, tags, likes and comments as well as EXIF data. Go to Settings > Your Flickr Data > Request Flickr Data.
Once Flickr has finished assembling your files, you'll get an email alerting you that your ZIP files are ready for download.
Pay for a Pro version: You may decide that paying $50 per year for an ad-free Flickr presence is worth it to keep your entire photo collection intact. Flickr has sweetened the pot for Pro users with other perks: Advanced stats let you view how popular your photos are and which ones are trending. A Pro account also includes an uploader that lets you automatically post new photos from your smartphone, hard drive, Dropbox or Photos app. Current users get a 15 percent first-year discount if they sign up by Jan. 15.
Pro subscribers also get discounts on Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions, photo book purchases from Blurb, a free photo chat book and more. Pro members can use the service to promote their photography business by linking directly to a shopping cart, checkout page or pricing pages on various sites, or by listing prices in their Flickr photo descriptions.
Flickr under SmugMug promises to be a great resource for small companies, so even if you aren't thrilled at the price of a Pro account, a generous free, ad-supported 1,000 photos allows you to maintain a presence on the popular photo-sharing site. Even if you decide later that Flickr is no longer a benefit for your company, keeping your account buys you valuable time to weigh the pros and cons of how the new Flickr fits into your current business scheme.