“My purpose in reading has ever secretly been not to come and judge but to come and steal.” – John Updike

Some of you know that photography is one of my hobbies (any of the photos you see on this blog are ones that I’ve taken).  I try to be selective about the photos that I share on Flickr, which I use essentially as a photojournal.  But until a few weeks ago, I did not “brand” my Flickr feed in any meaningful way, and this almost cost me a missed opportunity for promoting my business and this blog.

I want to credit Jason Calacanis (who is half entrepreneur, half media powerhouse), for giving me the idea to brand my Flickr feed.  Jason always includes links to his Twitter feed, his business, and his weekly podcasts in the description of all his photos on Flickr.

So I copied him to see how much traffic I would get.  Immediately after doing this, a great food blog called Pretty Food & Drink decided to use one of my Flickr photos (above) in one of their posts, and it attracted over 1000 comments, as well as many click-throughs to my original Flickr photo.

If I hadn’t put a link to my blog (or business, or school, or charity) in the description of the Flickr photo, all of those new visitors would have hit a brick wall when they saw the photo.  They may have liked it, or hated it, but most of them would not have had any option to get to know me better.  Now, I have some new subscribers who may have found me in a very roundabout way, but I’m glad to have them here.

This illustrates one reason why it’s important to periodically audit your website and social media presence to make sure you aren’t missing any opportunities to accomplish your goals.  In my case, I care about my subscribers.  In your case, you may care about donors, volunteers, or customers.  Whatever opportunities you’re looking for, you need to make sure you aren’t missing any easy ones, because once they’re gone, they don’t come back.   

Will Marlow is a digital strategist/online marketing consultant.  He’s the co-creator of  AlumniFidelity, which is a Web 2.0 fundraising platform for colleges, nonprofits and secondary schools.   He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, and Bowling Green State University and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  He would love to help you market your business on the Internet, boost the fundraising numbers for your school or nonprofit, or sellout your next big event.