This post gives some excellent low-cost ways to use photos in your marketing efforts. Reading time: five to seven minutes and well worth it!
8 Ways To Use Photos To Promote Your Business - and best of all, most of them are FREE or LOW COST!
I didn't start out as a photographer, and I still wouldn't consider my photos "professional quality" although I see marked improvement each day. Since I've been in real estate, and especially since I started blogging, I have found that I really enjoy taking pictures of my community, events, and of course, of our listings. And, over the past two years, I have accumulated quite a collection of local photos on my computer which have been extremely useful for our marketing.
I take my camera everywhere I go and even have a small digital camera that I carry in my purse so I'm always ready when the "right shot" presents itself. Our whole family enjoys photography so it's become a great family activity.
Here's some of the ways we use photos in promoting our business:
1.) Help Sell Your Listings - The most obvious of course, is to help sell our listings. Most buyers are starting their search on the Internet and they want to see photos and virtual tours of your listings - the more the better. They say a good photo is worth a thousand words, and that is definitely the case in real estate. One thing that made a big difference for us was investing in a wide-angle lens which helps photograph small spaces.
2.) Improve Your Blog Posts - Blog posts are more interesting to readers when they have appropriate photos. Developing your own collection of photos will help improve your blog and can save you money if you don't have to buy stock photos or clip art.
I subscribe to Gerry Khatchikian from Red Lodge, MT on ActiveRain, he is able to use his photography skills to create a lot of interest in his area and his blog! He even has some photo quizzes that are fun. Check out Gerry's blog for some great examples of using photos for blogging.
3.) Get Into Video - You can create a local video with your digital still photos in a matter of minutes. We like Real Estate Shows but there are other great sites out there that will help turn your photos into a short video. We also use a Flip video camera for some videos but still like to use digital stills. Once you create a local video, Real Estate Shows will upload it directly to your You Tube account, or you can save the video to your computer and create CD's or upload to other websites or blog posts.
4.) Create a Photo Blog of your local area and post a new photo on a regular interval. We started the photo blog I Love Missoula a few months ago and have seen a huge increase in traffic to the site, which also links to our real estate site. If you tag your photos and use key-word rich titles, it will help optimize your search engine results.
We allow people in the community to submit their photos to us by email for possible use on the website. We are starting to get community photos and always give the sender credit, thanking them on the site.
5.) Post to Facebook - it's easy to create a photo album on your Facebook profile, so how about creating one of your local area? We have a photo album on Missoula, Missoula Nightlife, and Montana Living.
Another creative way to use your photos on Facebook is to create a Fan Page for your local area. You can post local photos and videos to your Fan Page OR submit a link to a great photo on your photo blog or regular blog. Fan Pages are easy to set up, and the best part - they're FREE!
Here's one of our Facebook Fan Pages - we have over 4500 fans in a short amount of time:
6.) Set up a Flickr Account - Flickr does an amazing job with search engines, and is a great way to showcase your photos. One important note however is to make sure you understand Flickr's Terms of Service - before you create an account - or you may end up disappointed. Flickr does not like the use of its site for commercial purposes. Make sure to read Matt's post, and understand what is and is not allowed on Flickr:
On Flickr, you are able to Geo Tag your photos so they will be even more likely to show up on Google when someone searches for that area or location. Groups are also helpful to join for networking and to gain exposure for your photos.
We have contacted local photographers on Flickr and asked for their permission to include one of their photos on our Photo Blog with a link back to them and have had success. Many times, people are flatttered by the request and it also helps to build community for your photo blog.
Flickering Local Photos - You Engaging Others (YEO) by Jeff Turner
7.) Upload Photos of Local Businesses & Food to rating sites such as Yelp.com. We use this as an opportunity to try new restaurants and just take a few quick snapshots on our visit. You can rate your experience at the restaurant or business and upload your photos to help people in the community get a feel for the location.
The photos can also make a great blog post down the road - I love photos that I can multi-purpose! We've turned this into a bit of a game and use it as an excuse to order a great dessert occasionally or a special drink.
AND a Blog Post
8.) Twitpic your photos or post them to Posterous - People love to look at photos and I'm still amazed at how many people click on photos when I send them across Twitter. Kevin uses Twitpic but I use a Posterous site that I set up - Missoula Real Estate.
Posterous tracks how many people view your photos and allows you to set it up so you can email a photo from your phone or computer to the site. Posterous can then automatically post your photo to your Posterous Blog, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts - I told you, I LOVE TO MULTI-PURPOSE MY PICTURES! :) Posterous is a great way to automate posting to some of your sites.
It's fun to be creative in your marketing with the use of photos, and there are so many possibilities!
How do you use photos to promote your business? I'd love to hear what others are doing as well!
Kevin and Monica Ray are Missoula Real Estate sales and marketing professionals for Access Realty in beautiful Western Montana. We provide services in, but not limited to: Missoula, Superior, Alberton, Saint Regis, Lolo, Clinton, Turah, Potomac, Florence, Corvallis, and Hamilton.
For more information on Missoula Real Estate or surrounding areas, they can be reached at 406-207-1185 or online at www.AccessRealty.net.