The photo sharing website, Flickr, is another social media website which can be successfully leveraged by hotels. Once again, the highly visual nature of the hospitality industry easily lends itself to social media marketing via Flickr. Blatant and direct marketing is strictly forbidden on the website and its most active users are photographers, both professional and amateur. However, Flickr is a powerful tool for gaining exposure around the world for images that are shared on the network. Being part of the Yahoo network affords Flickr a considerable web presence, resulting in greater search engine optimization (SEO) attention by Google and higher rankings in search result listings.
Images may be shared in a “slide show” format and link back to the hotel’s website, which helps SEO rankings as well. Hotels could include high quality images taken of their surroundings and showcase what makes their destination unique and desirable, for example. A few images may be included of the hotel property in a classy way without the slideshow becoming a direct hotel marketing message.
A definite advantage to the Flickr platform is that its low cost, basic accounts are free and upgrades are nominal. Flickr shares its images with other websites also, spreading your hotel’s visual message even further with a viral effect. The artistic emphasis of Flickr has resulted in the network having a truly international audience that transcends language.
Interaction with the audience takes place most effectively in two ways. Commenting on photos shared by others results in exposure for your account username and the associated links to your images and information. The second way is through Flickr Groups. These groups are a collection of people centered around a particular subject or topic. The members of the group share relevant images with the rest of the membership and discuss them. For example, a hotel could join a group related to their city and find plenty of opportunity for engagement and sharing with other members of the group, who can then share the hotel’s uploaded images outside the group. Flickr Groups can provide a powerfully viral element to a hotel’s photographic efforts.
As with other visually oriented social media websites, the images shared should be of the highest quality and resolution possible. The choice of images to be used should always be representative of your hotel brand. Your hotel’s Flickr images will become a reflection of the hotel and should always be complementary to its reputation
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