Spring into Action: Social Networking Tips

Just about everyone and their dad is on Twitter. Most of you use it too: our Twitter participant list includes over 100 bloggers! It’s a fabulous tool to connect to others, promote your blog and find topics of interest.

Last week, Darren of ProBlogger observed RSS is on the decline and more people are utilizing primarily their social networking accounts to find new content. If you’re blogging to reach new people and help your readers, this is good news for you if you embrace it!

This article covers several social networking tips for Twitter and Flickr for blog promotion and growth as a photographer. As with any other social networking experience, you need to be present and active to get anything out of it. It also assumes a familiarity with Twitter and Flickr. If you’re new to these sites, please ask any questions you have in the comments or on our forums. There are a plethora of tutorials we can point you to for getting started!

Use Twitter to Segment Interests

One of the most marvelous things about Twitter are the keywords and hashtags. Twitter’s API allows software, search engines and developers to categorize this data and make it easy and fun for you to find out more about the things you love.

You can filter the content directly on Twitter’s site (example: #SITSpics) and if you’re logged in, you’ll be able to save the search for easy access on your home page.

Free tools like Hoot Suite (web based) and Tweet Deck (desktop software) help you break Twitter into multiple streams for easier monitoring. You can spend part of the day checking out the latest #SITSpics tweets and another part connecting with bloggers in your niche from a Twitter list. If you follow more than 50 people or so, I highly recommend something to segment and filter your stream.

This can help you promote your blog by saving searches for content relevant to your blog or articles you write. Look for opportunities to respond to individuals’ questions with a link to your site!

This is my Hoot Suite set up, making it so much easier to sort through Twitter!

Paper.li: More Than a Newspaper

Through twitter lists, keywords and hashtags, Paper.li offers a new way to digest all the links Twitter has to provide.

For the SITS Spring into Action Challenge, I created a new paper simply searching for any link tagged with #SITSpics. From that, it creates this daily paper. Each edition of the paper is archived so you can look through past issues. You can also set up an auto-tweet for the papers you create which will include the accounts of the top contributors. Being part of someone else’s Paper.li paper is how I was first introduced to it.

This site has huge potential to help you promote your blog. You can create up to 10 papers of your own using a combination of tags, keywords or Twitter lists. Maybe you want to create an inspirational spring garden newspaper? Just set up your paper to look for all three of those tags and watch the links roll in. Search out existing papers and learn what tags it collects and then use these tags in your Tweets. This will get your links included in the paper which means:

  • More targeted clicks to your site.
  • More mentions of your Twitter account.
  • A higher Google Ranking from backlinks.

Hub Pages has a great post with all the details on how to use Paper.li to promote articles and build backlinks.

Flickr for Photographers

I first signed up for Flickr in 2005 and within weeks bought myself a Pro account. Most of the features I’m going to discuss are available for free account holders with some limitations, but a yearly Pro account is only $25.

You can do all sorts of amazing things with Flickr besides just posting photographs:

Learn More About Photography

No matter what your interest or skill level, there’s a Flickr Group for it. Groups range from being very serious to completely fun.

Are you doing Project 365 this year? Do you need Photoshop Support? Maybe you just want to share some fun photos like what you ate or what’s in your bag. Or perhaps you want to get a lot of feedback on individual photos. If so, there are dozens of critique and comment groups like 1-2-3 Kids, Hit, Miss or Maybe or Score Me.

As with any other community, spend some time in the group before you start posting pictures. You want to make sure the attitude of the participants matches your own. Some groups are for “super serious photographers only” and they can be jerks to amateurs. Most photographers on Flickr are more than happy to help.

More Resources:

Host Your Photos

I’ve used Flickr to share photos on my blog since I first signed up with them. When you upload photos to your blogging platform, usually they are compressed so much that they lose a lot of sharpness, detail and color. Flickr doesn’t overly compress their photos, plus they offer several resolution choices so your photos will always look great on your blog.

Having Flickr host your photos also means you don’t need to worry about bandwidth or storage space on your web server, which can be a problem for a popular blog with lots of photographs.

To share a photo, simply go to the drop down arrow above your photo next to the social media icons and select Grab the HTML/BBCode. Then choose your image size and copy and paste the code into your entry. It’s as simple as that!

Find Photos for your Blog

If you have an article, but no image to include in it, Flickr can help! There are hundreds of thousands of free Creative Commons licensed images to choose from. Check out these articles:

Drive Traffic to your Blog

First, make sure your profile is filled out and that you appear to be a human being. Here’s my profile as an example.

Choose a photograph that goes along with the post you’re trying to promote. I usually use a photo I’ve used in the article.

In the description area of the photo, describe it and how it relates to your article. Try to focus on the keywords your article is trying to attract. Include links to your article, blog and/or social media accounts in the description area! (Here’s an example) Also make sure to tag the photo liberally!

Once you have the description and your links in place, add the photo to appropriate groups. This works better with groups which require its members to leave feedback such as critique or 1-2-3 (Post 1, Comment on 2, View 3) groups.

Unless you’ve chosen to exclude your photos from searches, search engines will index the description and links on the photo which will improve your page rank and help more people find your blog.

Privacy

Some are hesitant to use Flickr out of a concern that their work will be stolen. Truthfully, this is a risk you take no matter where you post photos. We’re going to be talking a lot more about protecting your photos toward the end of our series, however Flickr has many privacy and permissions options which are often overlooked. You have a lot of control over who can see and share your photos on Flickr!

For private photos or sets, you can generate, monitor or delete guest passes to control who can view them.

Flickr Pro accounts also offer Statistics which include referral information. If anyone is linking to your image on their blog from Flickr, you’ll be able to see it.

Your Challenge!

Do you have a favorite photo sharing site like Instagram, Twitpic or Daily Booth? How does using it help you promote your blog, connect with your followers and improve your photography? What social networking tips can you share about these sites?

Today’s challenge is to write a blog post discussing YOUR favorite social networking tips answering these questions.

Make sure to link up in our forum or in the comments and Tweet your link with hashtag #SITSpics. Read others’ articles and try out a new social networking site or find a new use for a site you already use!

Tomorrow we’ll be wrapping up the week by highlighting some of the awesome work we’ve seen so far in this challenge!

Facebook Fan Page: What You Need To Know
Don't Be Afraid! A Twitter How To

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Comments

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  4. I love using Tweetdeck for Twitter, but I am not into lists. I know if I did make lists I would spend too much time there and would not be making new connections. It is amazing some of the things I have learned and the people I have connected with via Twitter. For instance, the eating plan I use that allowed me to finally lose 15 pounds (after trying for years) is “The Diet Doc’s Guide to Permanent Weight Loss.” How did I find out about it? From someone I used to connect with on Twitter. She was eating the Primal Diet and when I remarked there was no way that would fly with my family (or me) she recommended the Diet Doc! I have made other connections there as well. I don’t spend as much time there as before but I do check in a couple of times a week at least, not only to share my blog posts but also to give others props as well. It should be as much give (at least) as take, in my opinion.

  5. I love Flickr – I put my website in the description area for all of my photos – there isn’t a link back credit (Flickr has a no follow policy) but people do follow the link back to my site and I like that. The only thing that I don’t like about Flickr is that you can make your photostream match your site, but $25 per year is a great deal so I don’t complain.

    I used to use Tweetdeck, but I like Hootsuite better – I love that I don’t have to download anything so I can use Hootsuite from any computer. Plus I was always having errors with Tweetdeck.

    I also use SmugMug – it’s a great site if you want to sell prints but it’s spending so I doubt that I’ll continue my membership next year. You CAN make your gallery match your site, but $60 a year is steep and you can’t sell prints on that membership.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts Kimberly!

      It is a shame that Flickr does nofollow on their links, BUT their pages are indexed via search engines (as long as you allow it in your account settings) so if you use keywords you’re trying to market for your post, it’s still a great way to get people to that photo on Flickr and then hopefully click on the link to your site. Their pagerank is better than most individuals so it’s a neat trick I don’t think most people take much advantage of. (I know I don’t, not with the keywords, tags, description and link placement in each photo.)

  6. Thanks again Lynda for these great tips!!

  7. Hmmmmm, I didn’t know Paper.li existed. I am always looking for ways to “stream” the information coming at me so that I can interact better and find people. It’s a challenge, so please keep these articles coming.

  8. Great information…I am such a newbie ~lots to learn! I have a Flickr account but haven’t used it much until this challenge. I uploaded pictures from Day One challenge and added a slide-show on my sidebar ~love it! I promoted it on both twitter and face-book. I’ve had 30% more traffic on my blog since starting this challenge.

    I’ve just recently started educating myself on both twitter and face-book. I’ve had better response posting frequently on twitter ~the blogging relationship seems more connected. I post less on facebook ~I think people get aggravated if people post a lot from their page. So, I guess Social Media Etiquette is important as well.

    I’ve had some positive results with Digg and Stumble…

    The information and how to tips you are giving is so much appreciated! Thank You. Amy

    • Thanks so much Amy!

      I like Stumble a lot too! It’s another time consuming social networking outlet, but using it can pay off in terms of blog traffic. What I’m not sure about is whether or not (m)any of those visitors stick around. I like return visitors so try to spend my time focusing on getting those.

  9. It helps that there are two of us running our fun site; I photograph and Kaye does video. Carol (on our blog) is an Emmy award winner short film video producer. We not a typical mom blog but we do like to share how we all can take our lifestyles up a notch. I hope you come by to say hello. We had fun on CommentHour and we plan on being SITSGirls active. We blog/write, tweet, FB (personal and Page), Network Blogs is big for us, YouTube channel, Vimeo, Animoto, Flickr and LinkedIn. (I think I got it all!)
    ~ and this isn’t even really my day job :)

  10. Tweetdeck is really useful when you want to view a lot of streams while Flickr lets you share your photos to a lot of people. It’s a way to market, connect, interact. And Project 365’s are definitely a way to improve photog skills and see your world.

  11. I’m on Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram…
    I love Social Media and interacting with others who I may not have a chance to meet in real life!

  12. I’m brand new to Twitter. I just signed up to participate in the SITS book club discussion this week. This article is going to be extremely helpful. Thanks so much.

  13. So much great info! I love it!! There is always so much more to learn!!

  14. Since I haven’t joined any networking sites, today’s post was overwhelming at first. I went back over it and took notes, breaking it down into small pieces, and got it. Still not ready to Twitter :) but definitely learned some great ideas for using Flickr on my blog. I am totally enjoying this week of learning, and I’m getting messages from my friends saying how much they are loving it, too! Thanks for sharing!

    • That’s so awesome, Mary! It’s best to pick one site and figure it out before moving onto another one. :)

  15. Ok here’s my post. I am in desperate need of help here people…. I am so lost as to social media and networking. I dont even know where to start!!!!

  16. WOW! Thank you for all this information. I have been using Blogger and Typepad for years, as well as Facebook and LinkedIn, but have only just gotten on board with Twitter and am trying to get my mind around all the possibilities. This really helps!

  17. I love tweetdeck and am working on flickr and getting more involved.

  18. This is loaded with great information. Thanks.

  19. Some great ideas here! I definitely use twitter! And I use flickr to find some of my photos as well. I do have a question. When you talked about uploading photos used in your blog and link to your blog as a way to promote, I love that idea! However, what if I am using a photo with creative commons licensing, can I upload and tag it with my link to the blog post, as long as I give credit to the person who took the picture? Or is that even possible?
    Thanks so much!
    Bernice

    • Bernice, Part of Flickr’s TOS is that you only upload your own stuff. So in order to promote your blog post that way, you need to own the photo or image. You can upload and link to images on Flickr that aren’t owned by you, but they need to be private under the owner settings or your account will be in danger of being deleted.

      If you don’t use your own photo for a post, it sounds like a better promotion option on Flickr would be to find a group discussing the topic of your blog post and add a link to a conversation.

  20. Awesome tips as always :-)

  21. My blog is just for fun at this point and I put so much work into just writing the posts, I can’t imagine finding the time to manage all the rest. Man! How many hours a week goes into a this twittering, face booking, party hosting, giveaways? Honestly, I also don’t have the tech savvy either. I still trying to update my colors and sidebars! BUT Kudos’ to all of you who do. You make it easier than ever to keep up with all of you, and I love every miniute of it.

    • It helps to break up your time. Have you done the 31 Days to Built a Better Blog challenge? The SITS girls will likely host another one soon if not! it really helps a lot in teaching you how to make time for all this crazy stuff.

      It’s important to set up a schedule and adhere to it. So like, an hour here or there for social networking where you specifically concentrate on connecting or promoting posts on your site. It’s really easy to get caught up with ALL the information and spend entire days sucked into it.

  22. This is a really helpful article. While I use twitter and flickr, I really don’t feel like I use either effectively. I am going to try and dig in a little deeper after reading this. Thanks!

    • There are just so many ways to use Twitter, it’s insane!

      I really *love* Flickr and spend a lot of time promoting it. It’s such a great resource and tool for bloggers who take their own photos!

  23. Great tips. Saving this to favorites. I like picnik but that doesn’t offer any social media networking. Hmmm.

  24. Wow, what great tips. I have to come back to read again. I’ve seen people double post their blog in Facebook Notes but I haven’t done it yet because I’m worried it would take away from the people that actually go to my blog!!

    • I probably wouldn’t double post my notes either. I like just adding a link to my entry on Facebook!

  25. Great tips! I’ve thought about using Flickr and I think I even have an account, but I don’t use it. I love using Instagram for photos to drive traffic to my blog. It’s so much fun to use and follow other awesome peeps. I highly recommend it! Thanks for the great tips, ladies!!

  26. Wow there’s so much great info here. I have accounts with flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and now I’m feeling Linked In peer pressure. Unfortunately most of them are sitting in the corner of my mind waiting for a little attention.

    I have a bad case of the “after this project I’ll get to it” blues.

    • I have accounts on almost every major social network, but it takes a lot of work to actually use them to promote your blog! For that reason I concentrate on just a few. Haven’t had any linked in pressure yet.

  27. Tweetdeck definitely helps me out with keeping an eye on various streams!! :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Today’s assignment was to write a blog post discussing tips that help me when using social media outlets in regards to photography. I think the biggest thing that I have done differently since launching Little Things (vs. my older site) was that I included a picture of ME in my About Me section. I think this helps people relate to me and know who they are getting their information from. I also include ways people can get in contact with me via Facebook/Twitter which makes it even more personal and available to people. I do try to post photos on the Little Things’ Facebook page, but I am still working on trying to figure out what “extra content” I should include. [...]

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