Everyone likes a good photo
I get it.
The desire to have a plethora of beautiful images at your finger tips is OVERWHEMING. Something to make your website pop out, something to cover the blemishes of a company that doesn’t have overly pretty pictures.
But is it ok to promote your business online, on SOCIAL, using only stock photos?
Do they really help? Or do people see through it?
Disclaimer: There are a LOT of stock photos on my website, some I have paid for, others are free licence, some I sourced from fellow content creators as a part of their membership. I totally understand that there is a need for beautiful, stylized images.
But are they what your company needs when it comes to building their brand online?
Specifically as it relates to social media!
Is padding your profile, your posts, everything you put out there, with pretty pictures you can grab from Pixaby or Unsplash what people are looking for?
I am going to be bold and say NO!
Sure, you can use them here and there to make a statement or to add visual filler with a post that may not have a specific “picture”, but they don’t hit the same way with your community and your customers.
They don’t scream, THIS IS US.
They do scream stock photo. In a way they make your content, which may be helpful, seem otherwise ingenue.
And more so when the photos are FREE stock photos and are being widely circulated all over the inter-webs.
Here’s my take on it.
Stock images certainly have their place in your content development. They add visual interest, they are polished, they are professional.
The problem, they aren’t YOU.
They don’t reflect your brand, they don’t showcase your unique flavour, and they are obvious.
So what do you do?
The gold standard
Hire a photographer to come in for an afternoon and snap shots of your team, your showroom or your truck. Have them take tailored photos that are beautiful, branded, and so true to you.
A pretty compromise
It’s fine to sprinkle in stock photos to help create a professional brand. Mix it with day to day photos to help your followers feel engaged for a solid mix.
OWN your DIY
It’s social media, it isn’t a billboard or a television commercial (though I have known people who have made wonderful things on their iPhone). Be authentically you with all your own pics.
Always keep in mind:
Lighting matters. Make sure the pictures you are sharing aren’t overly dark or grainy (unless that’s your brand and – in that case – RUN with it)
So, at the end of the day, my recommendation for small business owners who may not have a budget for a professional photo shoot, find a happy medium between sharing stock photos and pictures of the REAL you.
Just do your best to use stock photos that aren’t already over used, search the archives of the lists and browse different FREE STOCK resources to get something eye catching and original. Consider investing in Shutter Stock monthly Stock Licence.