I answered the following query from a reporter in November of last year: “I am seeking an expert on how businesses (mostly retail) can market to consumers through social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others. I am most interested in interviewing someone who can speak about how retail camera shops, retail photo labs, photo studios, and school or sports photographers can market their businesses and/or sell products through sites like these.”

My response:

Any photography-related business should definitely have a very active presence at Flickr and perhaps other photo-centric sites. Flickr is one of the largest online photo sharing communities if not the best known, so at the very least they should be there.

Through it, they can demonstrate the quality of their products or services. In the case of a camera shop, for example, they could create an album for each camera they sell that shows off photos taken by that camera that demonstrate the features and qualities of that camera.

The thing about Flickr is that it is filled with very passionate photographers, both amateur and professional. Flickr is a great way of tapping into that passion. Flickr stamps individual photos with the exact brand and type of camera with which the photo was taken. This makes it easy to find owners of a particular camera and therefore easy to identify potential customers for camera accessories.

Through participation in these communities, you can develop direct, lasting relationships with existing and new customers.

Most of the pure social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have photo album features. Photo sharing in Facebook is extremely popular. Photographers who want to market their services should consider harnessing their work through these networks by showcasing their branded photographs and encouraging people to share them with their networks.