How to find images for social media

5 Tips for Sourcing Images that Maximise your Social Media Marketing

Social Media; and the way we market our businesses in general, has changed. In the past, there was an emphasis on content being the most important element of your communication. However, the playing field has shifted and as a result, we’re having to adapt our methods accordingly.

Video is fast becoming the number one medium for engaging potential customers. It can be open, honest and engage people on a level that written content can’t. In today’s world, customers want to be able to connect and engage with you. They want to know that you understand their pain points. And primarily, they want to know that you can help them.

That being said, video is not the only way to engage with your audience. Whilst it is a prominent part of social media, good visual graphics still have an important role in increasing the reach of your posts. In fact, a study by BuzzSumo found that updates with images had an amazing 2.3x more engagement (shares, likes & comments) than those without. If you’re not already using images regularly in your marketing, then it’s time to get started!

HOW CAN I FIND IMAGES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS?

CREATE YOUR OWN

Take your own social media posts

Photo owned by Pink Giraffe Marketing

Your best option is to get your own photos taken! Whilst this can sound expensive in the short term, it can really pay off in the longer term for a number of reasons.

1) You don’t have to waste your time searching for images (I don’t know about you but I certainly spend a lot of time trying to find the image that I have in my head!)
2) You own the rights to use the pictures, meaning you don’t have to worry about licences or copyright infringement (provided you use them as agreed with your photographer!)
3) They’re original, so whilst people can shoot photos in a similar style, they’ll never have exactly the same image!

Tip #1: When sourcing a photographer, make sure they understand your brand and your audience, so that the images are in keeping with your brand identity – photoshoots can become costly if the photographer doesn’t have this nailed to start with. Check their previous style against what you have in mind for your images, to be confident that they’re a good fit for your business. If like us you’re based in Surrey, I’d highly recommend Kerry J Photography.

Tip #2: As cameras on smartphones are so good these days, you can also take your own photos! This is perfect for Instagram and we provide quarterly content inspiration to help you. Here’s our autumn content ideas.

LICENSED IMAGERY

If photoshoots and your own visual library really aren’t an option yet, then don’t be disheartened. There are plenty of stock image sites out there, like Shutterstock, iStock and Getty, whose images are licenced to you for a fee.

These sites offer monthly subscriptions, credits or a one-off purchase cost. This is a good option if you want high-quality images but you don’t have the budget for a photographer.

Whilst, of course, you can access images for free on other sites (we discuss below) stock photos can have a place in your marketing strategy. As long as you’re tenacious with your searching, you can find unique images that can be used in a number of different mediums. This includes print as well as online should you wish. Stock photo sites also give you traceability to prove that you have obtained the images legally.

Tip #3: Remember to find images that are visually relevant to your content. Brainstorm the words that relate to the article or content first, so that you can be specific in your search, as this will be a great time-saver and avoid spending hours trawling through the millions of images that are available on these sites!

FREE IMAGE SITES

Find the right size images for your social media posts

Photo Credit: Myriams-Fotos via Pixabay

As a small business, your marketing budget is likely too small and you want to be careful with every penny you have which; as a business owner myself, I completely understand. Royalty free images (that are available for commercial use) are a great way to achieve this.

The biggest limitation with using free websites is that if you’re using them, you can bet your bottom dollar that others are too! Whilst this will go fairly unnoticed for the odd social media post, it doesn’t look so good when it comes to the main images on your website or for the lead post about your big launch.

Limitations aside, free images are a great, cost-effective option if budgets are small. The first step is to find the images and there are a number of sites that offer this. Some of our favourites are pixabay.com, unsplash.com & canva.com (free & paid for options available).

Tip #4: {THIS IS AN IMPORTANT ONE!!} Be really careful to check the licensing of any images that you source through free sites. Small businesses have been caught out by using an image that they don’t have the right license for. And, “I didn’t know” isn’t an excuse you can use if it goes to court!

I’VE FOUND MY IMAGES…NOW WHAT??

Once you have chosen your image (that you have appropriate permission to use), you’re going to want to edit it. It’s unlikely to be the right size for your blog or social media channels. Also, you’ll likely want to add text to it to add further context.

There is an abundance of great tools out there and the good news is that many of them are free. Gone are the days when you have to be a design god, with Photoshop and InDesign experience. It is, of course, great if you have the ability to utilise these design tools, but if; like me, you aren’t an Adobe genius, then rest assured, this doesn’t have to limit your ability to market yourself visually, with great custom images. In fact in our next blog, we’re going to be going through your options!

Tip #5: Explore the different platforms available. Play with them to find one that works for you. This will give you the ability to create quality images that are unique to you and your brand.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is just information based on our experience, before downloading images from any website we recommend you seek advice from a legal professional to ensure you don’t infringe another company’s copyright.

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I'm a bubbly marketer who works with coaches, consultants and service providers to help them to attract their ideal clients, grow their business and let their natural personality shine through their brand. I'm a girl with big ambitions who never stops growing and developing and I love helping my clients to do the same!