Tips And Tricks
While each social-media and photo-sharing website is unique unto itself, to get the most exposure, there are common factors that can influence how your photo fares, including:
Activity. How many comments, shares, likes, favorites, etc., you receive in the first 2 to 24 hours is often highly weighted when it comes to gaining visibility.
Frequency. Submitting photos regularly, whether daily or weekly, will keep your audience checking in and increase the odds your images are liked and/or shared.
Timing. Each site has a peak time when users are most active. Track your submissions and determine a time that your audience appears to be most active.
Sharing & Privacy Permissions. It may seem obvious, but if your intention is to gain greater exposure, be sure your sharing settings are on, and/or set your privacy settings appropriately.
Image Size. As social-media and photo-sharing sites enhance their page designs, larger images are being supported. Be sure to submit images that are easy to view, yet allow you to navigate copyright/piracy concerns.
Descriptions And Tags. Always include image descriptions, and tag your images with relevant keywords to help others find your images through search.
Watermarking. To avoid future pitfalls of copyright infringement, watermarking your images is key. This is particularly important since not every website will preserve embedded metadata in your images upon submission.
Self-Promotion. Provide a link to your web page in your description or watermark to provide viewers an easy way to find more of your work and/or information about your services.
Productivity Tools: So Many Sites, So Little Time
Which site is the one to take part in? The answer is, "It depends." The way I've covered my bases is to take part in many sites, and I use productivity tools to minimize the work. Excellent tools exist that allow you to submit an image and its details simultaneously to several different websites. One site that acts as a master submission page is Fotost.at. As an added bonus, Fotost.at allows you to monitor key metrics such as views, comments, likes and favorites—and there's even a Fotost.at Lightroom plug-in. IFTTT.com (If This Then That) takes a different tack by allowing you to log in to multiple websites and services and then apply "recipes" to automate certain activities. To make things easy, users share their "recipes," so creating a custom recipe is an exception to the rule. For example, IFTTT makes it possible to automate submitting Instagram photos to Flickr or submitting Flickr photos to 500px. There's no harm in using these
types of tools for image submissions, but in the process of using them, don't lose sight of the most important activity: interacting with your followers on each site.
Jim Goldstein is a professional outdoor and travel photographer, and VP of Marketing at BorrowLenses.com. Find him at JMG-Galleries.com/blog, Twitter (@jimgoldstein), Facebook (facebook.com/jmggalleries) and Google+ (plus.google.com/+JimGoldstein).