Guest post by Kelsey Kaufman, our awesome Kaufer DMC Account Coordinator! 

You might have seen the headlines:

It was a tough month for Instagram as users fled due to privacy policy changes the service announced on December 17th. Whether the charges that followed the privacy policy changes were totally accurate or not is beside the point. The damage was done. As the public’s perception of the once-dominant mobile application shifts, does Instagram still reign supreme?

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We decided to look into the rebirth of Flickr as an alternative option. In the past few weeks, how has Flickr adapted to meet the demand for a new photo-sharing app (and what does this mean for marketers?). There is always a new, or emerging, social media platform and we have to adapt to our audience needs and desires. To help you navigate yet another (potential) transition, we’ve conducted some research about Flickr and what it means for users and marketers alike.

Rise of Visual Social Media

The power of visual social media was validated when Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion earlier this year. As users engagement on smartphones continues todramatically increase, they’ve also discovered that viewing high-resolution pictures is one of the most enjoyable ways to interact with others. Why does this matter for brands? Expectations have again shifted – on social media, any text longer than a Tweet seems too long or irrelevant. Brands must now think of ways to use pictures to communicate information quickly and accurately.

“Blogs were one of the earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1,000 words. When we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortened our updates to 140 characters. Now we are even skipping words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with social-sharing sites like Pinterest.”

– Dr. William J. Ward, Social Media professor, Syracuse University

Storytelling is now being told through pictures. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousands words” is more true than ever. Brands must learn to effectively utilize applications like Instagram and Flickr to make the biggest impact. In order to translate your brand accurately through visual cues, you need to find out which application is right for you.

Rating Flickr’s Updated iPhone App

Flickr recently added the ability to apply filters to photos when using their mobile app. But the question is, which app is better? Flickr has much greater photo editing capabilities than Instagram. For example, Flickr allows users the option of to add brightness and contrast, remove redeye and whiten teeth. Also, you don’t have to crop your photo to fit a specific size square. Their filters seem to be just as good, maybe even better, than Instagram.

What Instagram lacks, Flickr has

Sure, filters are great and all, but what really sets the Flickr mobile app apart? The social aspect. Instagram only allows users to “like” photos and comment on them. Even though most users have probably been OK with this, Flickr’s groups and discussion spaces offer an intriguing alternative.

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These discussion boards act like forums and work as an excellent way to communicate with other Flickr users. These groups also offer a great way to filter through specific types of photos. For example, as a blogger, you can join a group called wardrobe_ remix. Wardrobe_remix has more than 18,000 members and 141,000 photos. The group only displays photos taken by other users showcasing their outfits. This group offers ways for members to communicate about the brand of shoes they are wearing, where the photo was taken, the bloggers website, and more. Also, there is the option to create private, invite-only groups to restrict who is able to join.


Last but not least, users can create galleries to organize photos based on “type.” You know all those food photos you love to take, but you’re not sure anyone really cares to see? Now you can spare your non-foodie friends by placing these photos in a separate and specific folder.

So what does this all mean for marketers? The saying “content is king” is now cliché’ and old news. The world is now shifting to a “show, don’t tell” expectation. And with its recent upgrades, Flickr now has the potential to be relevant again in the visual marketing business. Will you make the switch?

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