How to Use Stock Photos for Social Media

By May 24, 2017Social Media

One of the issues that arise when managing our clients’ social media accounts is a lack of image/video assets to accompany a post. We all know that visuals tend to grab attention far greater than text alone (every social platform sees more engagement with images than without); however, a business might not have the budget to do a photo shoot regularly. That’s where stock photos for social media come in.

When looking through stock imagery sites (or even Google Images), you’ll notice that there are different licensing and copyrights of images available. In addition to the photos that are free for commercial use, look for the images that are under the Creative Commons Zero license (CC0), which “enables scientists, educators, artists and other creators and owners of copyright- or database-protected content to waive those interests in their works and thereby place them as completely as possible in the public domain, so that others may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any purposes without restriction under copyright or database law.” In other words, you can use any image under the CC0 license for any purpose!

So you’ve found an archive of stock photos for social media that you can legally use. Now what?

  • Make sure all the images are relevant to the content. Rather than selecting an image that can be used for practically anything (a person on a laptop), select one that’s likely to grab the audience’s attention.
  • Download the image in the highest resolution available. However, make sure you size it down according to whichever platform you’re planning on posting it.
  • Edit the image (make sure the images are labeled as “modifiable”). The trick to using stock photos for social media is to, well, make it not look like a stock photo (ironic, right?). Add logos, insert text overlay, zoom in/out, change the color scheme, etc. There are plenty of user-friendly apps and sites that allow you to edit social media content easily.

Here are a few stock imagery sites (all under the CC0 license) for you to start using now:

  • Pexels – curated images from other stock sites
  • Pixabay – includes not only photos but illustrations and vectors
  • Unsplash – offers ten new photos each day

What are some of the other struggles you face with social media? Tell us on social media, and I’ll try to cover them on next month’s blog.

Ready to cut through the noise? Access our white paper “Social Media Square One: From Concept to Plan to Post to Analytics” now!

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