COM0015, Blog 4: Out of the Box

From Social Media to Stock Image Storefront

I find it interesting that social media not only helps market products and services and even serve ads, but it can also be the storefront. For example, some photo-sharing social media sites, like ViewBug and 500px, allow photographers to charge royalty fees for their images through a stock-image system.

While Instagram and Flickr may be the best-known photo-sharing social media platforms, I love ViewBug. The community is much more active. Not only does ViewBug have 20 or so free contests going on at any one time (plus contests for premium and pro members), but anybody can set up a photo challenge, asking users to submit images on the most eclectic ideas imaginable. This really boosts creativity and inspiration.

I have Curator status, which means I’m one of the volunteers who greets new members and offers pointers to budding photographers. ViewbBug recently invited me to become a Collaborator, which means they would like my input on new contests and promotions. Because of my status and the 138 awards I’ve won so far, I’m confident that I should be able to sell a few of my images.


While I have to do more research before turning on any revenue-generating feature, 500px’s Marketplace seems to be the most complicated. Not only does it require model-release forms (which is common practice for taking, let alone selling, images of people), but it also requires property-release forms. As an architectural photographer, I need to see if I can legally sell any of my existing images. I also need to determine whether I need to ask property owners to sign a form for any photographers I want to take.

I have not been able to find a similar feature on Instagram. I’m not surprised by this as:

“Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever.”

Even if your mobile phone boasts 20 megapixels, in most (but not all) cases, the quality of those pixels and of the jpgs they create are not of high enough quality to allow for professional purposes and printing. Instagram does not allow people to upload photos directly from a desktop or laptop computer, so it becomes more difficult to post pictures taken from a DSLR (although Hootsuite sends push notifications to my cell phone to post images and captions I’ve uploaded from my computer).

I find it disappointing that Flickr does not offer a marketplace. My hopes were raised when I saw that it allows photographers to choose which licence they want for their images. These range from public domain or government work to all rights reserved, with variations of attribution in between. While public domain and government work are free for anybody to use, all rights reserved protects photographers’ copyrighted material from being reproduced without written permission, which is the licence professional photographers would choose.

Whether the social media account is for, my husband or me, we already have accounts set up on each of these sites, have joined conversations with groups and have gathered a following. For 2017, we will take our photography hobby to the next step toward a retirement business by starting to sell our images. Wish us luck!

COM0015 Blog Post#2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

Since I am a huge food fanatic, I have decided to choose a couple of food organizations that in my opinion use great social media strategies to promote their business. I love trying different kinds of food, from all different cultures. A lot of the restaurants I try and continue to eat at started off as small businesses which is why advertising and promoting is very crucial to their success.            

The first organization I have chosen to discuss is Fat Bastards Burrito. In Toronto, this small burrito shop started off with one location and as a result of their success they have expanded and opened many new locations. I believe that not only were they successful from the food they serve and excellent customer service, but from the use of social media. It got their name out there which increased the cliental dramatically. Toronto has a number of burrito places to eat at which means a lot of competition. Burrito Boys, another great burrito place that is the number one contender for all burrito places, was already established when Fat Bastards Burrito opened. Through the use of TWITTER, FACEBOOK, and their WEB PAGE, Fat Bastards Burrito managed to become just as popular as Burrito Boys. Fat Bastards Burrito uses twitter to keep their customers up to date with their weekly features, if they will be catering at social events, new locations, new apparel and newly added menu items. At the beginning of every week, a new style of burrito is added for a limited time for customers to have something different other than the set menu. Facebook is used as their gallery for all the images to show customers every menu item, new locations, apparel, and pictures of the social events they cater to. Everything that is posted to twitter is also linked to Facebook which makes it very convenient for those who do not have twitter, so they do not miss anything.

If you love poutines than Smokes Poutinerie is a place you have to try. There aren’t many unique poutine places in Toronto to try so this being the best I have had, it is definitely a favourite. Smokes Poutinerie uses FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and FLICKR to advertise and promote their company. Facebook and twitter is linked together so that everything posted on twitter also shows on their Facebook feed. Smokes Poutinerie uses these tools to keep customers up to date on limited time offers, apparel and also contest information where they offer prizes such as concert and sport event tickets. This is a very effective use of social media because the contest would consist of people attending different locations at a certain time and take a picture inside the restaurant and post it to either of these social networks. By doing this, they bring in customers to the restaurant and while they are there, it is very likely that the customers will purchase something from them. This is a very good sales tactic to promote such events in order to get more customers through the door. Smoke’s also hosts eating contests and uses FLICKR to keep a portfolio of all the different events. This is a great strategy because by doing this they capture the fun and enjoyment at these events for people to see afterwards. When people see these pictures it leaves an impression on them where they feel the need to attend to one of these contests to experience it in the future. The more people that attend, the higher the increase in sales because they serve Smokes Poutinerie products and such events creates the feeling of being a part of something great. Everyone would like to be a part of something and feel like they belong, making this organization a number on choice.

I do not know if anyone has tried an all you can eat Korean Grill House but it is definitely an experience. This restaurant is so unique because they provide marinated meats and you cook the meats you choose on a grill in front of you. They only have a handful of locations in the GTA but it is definitely a hit. I believe that with the use of social media it will increase the cliental greater than it is now. For those who know about this restaurant love it but it seems the only way they get new cliental is through word of mouth. These restaurants also get very busy and it would be beneficial to use a social media tool to inform customers of how busy they are at prime hours and to possibly give an alternative location that isn’t so busy. There are many instances where you arrive at the restaurant and it is packed with huge party reservations so it is almost a waste of time. When trying to explain the concept of the restaurant, it may not seem appealing through words but if they used something to show some of the dishes served on a Facebook page for example, it gives people who aren’t accustom to this type of food a chance to see how amazing the food looks. This will also give people a feel for the restaurant and see what type of atmosphere they would be spending time in. It is great that they have a web page to start but it would be really beneficial to create a Facebook page because it is a simple media tool that is easy to navigate and get their feet wet in the social media world. A step this small will make a difference for an organization like this where they can also receive feedback and make changes based on customers needs.