For most people and most pictures, sharing it on Facebook or Twitter is enough. It may be a quick snapshot of you and your friends out on the town or a cool sunset from a mountaintop and sharing it with our friends and family is enough. Other times, we’re able to capture something amazing, stunning, hilarious, or otherwise important enough to want to expose it to the rest of the world.
With those, we want to go viral. Here’s a (relatively) quick way to maximize the exposure of your perfectly-timed, once-in-a-lifetime shot.
To do this, you’ll need to be on several different social networks. It may seem like a large list but once you’re signed up the actual posting of this and future pics is a breeze.
You’ll need accounts here:
Wow! That’s a lot, right? Not really. If you’re into social media at all these are all sites that you should be frequenting monthly, weekly, or even daily. They’re the only social sites you’ll need if you’re into photography, laughs, tech, offbeat, or just about anything else.
There are some notable exclusions, here, for those who have been in social photo sharing for a while. Flickr comes to mind as the first place that many people think of when wanting to share images, but there are challenges. First, it breaks frames, an announcing on sites like Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon where sharing is often done from with a toolbar. The results for those who click on a Flickr link is that it will not display the image but rather an obnoxious message telling you they don’t support frames.
Okay, once you have your accounts created, it’s time to start exposing it to the world.
My Unfortunate Choice of Pictures
As fate would have it, I’m not in a position to go take an amazing picture (it’s 2am right now) and this is the only thing on my camera with even a remote chance of going viral. It’s a picture I took while at the mall with my family and the sign struck me as being funny because of the wording of the message. In retrospect, it wasn’t that funny, but it’s the best I’ve got right now.
No matter – I love a challenge. If I can make this particular image go viral, your masterful piece of photography should be able to use the same techniques to spread around the world.
Once you have it on your computer, it’s time to get to work…
Our first destination is Chime.in. The social network that was formerly Mixx before being grabbed up (and dramatically improved) by Uber Media hit the scene last year and is making a big splash. It’s the place we start for several reasons:
- It resizes large pictures for you automatically. in the world of sharing pics, it’s great to have a 10mb 2500px-wide image from your iPhone, but it’s hard to share. Uploading to Chime reduces the size to make it manageable and sharable.
- You can easily upload multiple images into a single gallery. Be sure that the primary image you want visible is the one that is uploaded last.
- The domain does well on the social sharing sites (discussed below).
- Unlike many of the photo sites, it allows you to write long descriptions with line breaks and links.
Again, I’m working with a challenging image to make viral, so I chose a headline that I thought would draw attention. It’s borderline offensive (the concept of eating kids is, well, sick and takes a depraved mind to think of it) but hopefully won’t be so bad that people won’t get the joke.
Be sure to use descriptive tags; you can post up to 7.
Don’t upload the original image. Using the bookmarklet will allow you to grab the image directly from your Chime. This links it back to the original Chime while making a separate instance of the image available on Pinterest.
The site is growing just like Chime and is getting plenty of positive press, so getting started early on these two sites will give you geek cred – like a hipster, you were on Chime and Pinterest before they went mainstream.
Pinterest does not allow you to title images per se, but you’ll be able to put in a short description. Unlike Chime, Pinterest does not do long descriptions very well and does not allow line breaks or links, so you’ll want to keep it short.
It’s a bit more complicated than Chime or Pinterest, but it’s much bigger as well and gives you a nice venue for more than just pictures if you choose to use it or such things.
If you aren’t already on Tumblr, you can skip this step if you don’t want to invest the time into personalizing your blog with a theme, URL, etc.
As with Chime, tags are extremely important on Tumblr. Without them or a lot of followers, you won’t get natural views of your image. Don’t forget to set your click-thru link to either your Pin or your Chime.
Buzzfeed is one of the best-operated social networks out there right now from a sheer business perspective. They are aggressive and have a very clear understanding of how to drive traffic to their own site, reward their users, and get advertising dollars in ways that Twitter and others have failed at thus far. If they were as large as Facebook, they’d be making as much money as Google.
Unfortunately for you, it can be challenging to get to the front page. If you aren’t on the front page, you’re not going to get views from Buzzfeed itself which is why quality of content and promotion of your image is extremely important.
The good news is that Buzzfeed does very well on the social sharing sites, so even if you don’t make the front page of Buzzfeed initially, you’ll still be able to get visitors to it through the other networks, particularly StumbleUpon.