One thing I really believe in when it comes to social media branding is quality. People are visual-oriented, so one of the biggest aspects of branding, to me, is how you use images (I touched on this a little in my post about commonly missed social media opportunities). And that means customizing your images.
But not everyone can budget for custom images: it takes either a lot of skill and time on your part to do yourself, or hiring a digital designer, plus buying rights. So, what’s a gal to do??!!
Why Unique Images Matter
I know what you’re thinking, I can just grab some images from any old database. Wrong. How do you expect to establish a unique branding image if you’re using the same generic images 5000 other brands are using?
Look at any major brand – they never use generic images. They have whole departments for developing their own, and there’s a reason for that.
You want certain visual cues to spark emotions in people that they will tie to your brand, and that means high-quality, unique, personalized images. Case in point: you’d be hard-pressed to find any pic from the PO website anywhere on the internet!
Fair Usage vs. Illegal
Unfortunately, that’s how simple it is. Either you have legal access to use an image for commercial purposes (and, possibly, editing/altering), or it’s illegal. You can’t do a Google search and just past any old picture into your site content – even though you’ll most likely get away with it.
If you’re using an image to promote your brand, you need to have the right to, usually meaning you paid someone. My favorite site for this is 123rf.com – I think they have great images with decent pricing. (Sometimes we use these and then alter them for that PuTTin’ OuT touch!)
Don’t want to pay? One of the best resources for free, legal images is flickr. In the Advanced Search, you can select to filter only images for commercial use and/or permission to alter. Download and use those for free, but just be sure to credit the photographer. If you see one you like with no specs for usage, you can even message the photographer and work out a deal, possibly for free.
Once you’ve got your pics, don’t forget to about properly tagging and titling images for SEO. That’s a major search ranking opportunity a lot of people forget about!!
Have any more royalty-free image resources or tips? Do share in the comments!!