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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

Why Stock Photography will Sink Your Social Brand: You Need Your Own Social Content

Gone are the days of using stock photography to build your social feed. In order to grow on social, followers expect original content, made specifically for social media and, more importantly, your brand. With over 100 million photos uploaded every day on Instagram, stock photography will no longer make your brand stand out and can actually stunt your growth and ability for long term success on social media. 

 So, what is social-specific content? Social content should accomplish a few things:

  1. Evoke emotion
  2. Drive interaction
  3. Promote sharing
  4. Grab your attention

For example, the images below represent a social image and a stock image. A great social image asset is on the left, while the right image represents a stock image. The main difference? The left image has movement, it evokes emotion, it immerses you in the scene and it tells a story in the image without looking at the caption.


In today’s social environment, you have less than 1 second to grab your audience’s attention. This means you need to think outside of the box with social content. According to a recent study by Sprout Social, Instagram receives over 4.2 billion likes per day. Therefore, your photos need to be intriguing enough to create a pause in their social scrolling and stand out beyond the other images. 

Telling a Photo Story

Images need to be able to tell the story without relying entirely on the caption. How do you create a story with an image? Start by following these steps:

  1. Add movement
  2. Create interaction
  3. Show perspective
Movement | @tytygrove                  Interaction | @stoplookandstyle                   Perspective | @tezza

Custom Graphics 

Graphics are a great way to tell a story and define your brand on social media. However, it is important to think outside of the box when creating custom graphics. Add in unique colors, try a new angle, and create your own branding through the images. Some brands that are doing this well include @themayfairgroup, @takearecess, and @nphilanthropy. Each of their graphics helps to define their brand and show their brand values through design. 

@themayfairgroup                                            @takearecess                                 @nphilanthropy


A social brand is all about standing out from the crowd and building content for long term success. As the social landscape continues to grow, the only way to stand out is with custom content. Need help with this creative direction and graphics? Hawke Media now offers social photography packages that will kick start your social branding. 

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Instagram Marketing: Using Instagram Stories to Grow Your Brand