When you take a new photo and want to share it with the world, what is the best online platform that will give you the most views? The answer is highly arguable and dependent on a wide variety of factors, but I conducted an informal (yet measurable) experiment recently to find out.
A couple days prior to Christmas, my boyfriend surprised me with a tall lily flower to decorate my desk. Unfortunately, my desk doesn’t get the most amount of sun during the day, and as a result, the tall lily began to tilt in the direction of the shining sun (yes, we do get shining sun in Seattle). In an effort to help the lily flourish, we placed it outside on the balcony on Christmas day, and unwittingly attracted two hummingbirds. With only seconds to react, I grabbed my camera and quickly snapped away at the birds through the window, just moments before they flitted away.
While the conditions were less than ideal for capturing a super sharp image, I had a couple turn out that I was pleased with. The question was, where should I post the finished products for maximum online exposure?
I began with the obvious platforms, first posting to the Gemini Connect Facebook page, and sharing it on my own personal profile. I then uploaded to my Flickr account, and sent out a few Tweets to attract more attention, and posted the Flickr photo link on Reddit. As an after thought, I decided to post it to the Google Plus Travel Photography Community as well, having had a decent amount of success in garnering views for my nature and travel-related photos. There were of course other photo sharing platforms that could have been utilized, such as 500px, but for the sake of brevity I went with the ones I already post regularly to.
I realized after the fact that I had posted a slightly different photo to Facebook than the one that went to Flickr and Google Plus. That perhaps could have affected the outcome, but the results are still pretty interesting.
A couple days later, I checked all of my sources to see which one had gotten the most views and social media attention (ie. favorites, shares, comments, etc). Any guesses on which platform was the clear cut winner? Check out the results below.
Facebook Page – With reshare on personal Facebook profile
Google Plus – After posting in Travel Photography Community
Flickr – After blasting link on Twitter and Reddit
In terms of views, comments, shares, and favorites, the winner was Google Plus. All I had to do was post it into a photography community, and it took off on its own. The other networks, despite receiving extra promotion through other social networks, didn’t even come close to the 5,000+ views generated on Google Plus. I will say though that this was the first time I’ve actively tried promoting an image on Reddit, and it was nice to see results (note that Panoptikos.com, the top referrer from Flickr, is an image viewer for Reddit).
I acknowledge that this may not have panned out the exact same way if I were to repeat this experiment using another photo. I’ve already done some trial and error on Google Plus Communities and knew that the one I posted to tends to generate more attention than others. I also recognize that subject matter, time and date of posting, and a whole host of other factors went into this outcome. But the result was definitely interesting, considering that Google Plus is still in many ways not the bustling social network that say Facebook or Twitter are.
Has anyone else tried a similar experiment, or have their own theories on which social networks generate the most photo action? Let me know in the comments below!