If you are managing your own social media channels, you are more than likely guilty of using stock photography to accompany your social media posts. With limited time in a day, it’s easy to go to a stock photography website or the internet and download the photos that you want to use.
That being said, there are two major reasons (legal and branding) why you shouldn’t use stock photography with your social media posts.
#1: You might be violating Copyright.
Did you know that you cannot simply “google” for a photograph and use it as your own? Many of the images online include copyright protection by the owners of the photograph. Just because you find it online doesn’t mean that you can use it for yourself.
If you are going to use stock photography, make sure that you use an online platform where you can license or pay for stock photos (ie. Shutterstock, iStock, etc.). This will avoid any legal uses about usage of copyrighted material.
#2: You look like everyone else.
This most recent Memorial Day, we took a look at all of the holiday messages, the companies that used social media to promote their sales, store hours, and general “memorial” messages.
From quick search of Facebook pages that we follow, we noted two different companies that used the same graphic to accompany their Memorial Day post. Quickly doing a double take to make sure the company didn’t post the same graphic twice, we noticed that in fact the same image had been used by two different businesses. Check it out here and here.
Your social media presence is supposed to make you stand out in the crowd, not blend in like everyone else.
How do you eliminate this?
- Hire a Graphic Designer. They can create a great graphic that is both visually appealing AND branded with your company colors and logos.
- Work with a Local Photographer. They can snap photos for you to allow you access to their portfolio for photos that you might need.
- Take Your Own Photos. Everyone has a smartphone these days; leverage it to your best potential and take your own photos.