They say a picture speaks a thousand words, therefore we strongly recommend using high-quality, exciting images when creating and sharing content across your Social Media platforms. Of course, on some platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest, this is vital to the post.
Your imagery should always be relevant to the copy posted alongside it and suitable for your brand, audience, and the Social Media platform in question. Don’t forget that each platform allows for different numbers of images to be shared on each post, whether it’s four on Twitter or up to ten on an Instagram Carousel.
The best form of imagery to share is any owned by the business, such as product photography.
Increasingly over Social Media, you will see ‘flat lays’ or strategically places products in lifestyle shots. These are also the safest form of imagery to use, as there will be no licencing complications.
User Generate Content
Next up would be customer-generated content that, with their customer’s permission, brands can share on their own channels. By asking the original photographers permission, you can avoid licencing issues here too.
That being said, it’s still a nice touch to credit the photographer somewhere in the post.
Although the first two options are ideal, not all brands have the time or skillset to create their own imagery or photograph their products to a high standard. Furthermore, the quantity of imagery required to maintain consistent and high-quality posts to be shared regularly can be overwhelming.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of our top five free stock image websites to help you generate a library of suitable assets for your business.
Canva is a content creation website that offers a range of templates, fonts and – of course – stock imagery. Therefore, you can source suitable stock images for your posts, and you can add text or graphics in one handy platform. You will find some photos on Canva are only available with a paid membership, but the free version should have enough to get you going.
FreePix offers free stock imagery in the following options:
- Vectors for personal and commercial use which are available to Download in .AI and .EPS format.
- Photos for personal and commercial use which are available to Download in .JPG format.
- .PSD files for personal and commercial use.
The site collates ‘Collections’ of images to help businesses create a theme across their Social Media posts. If that’s not enough, FreePix also provides free customizable icons, presentation templates, editable illustrations and an online template editor.
Pixabay pride themselves on offering ‘Stunning free images & royalty-free stock with over 1.9 million high-quality stock images, videos and music shared by their talented community’. When you download images from Pixabay, you’re also able to choose which size suits your needs the best.
The creators who share to Pixabay do so because they have a passion for photography. Although the images are free to download and use, the website offers an optional donation to the creator, which we think is a nice touch!
Last but not least, Pexels is a stock imagery platform made up of, you guessed it, free stock photos and videos shared by talented creators.
Stock videos are an easy way of sharing a mix of more visual content without the added cost or stress of producing and editing your own footage.
However, you must ensure the video is relevant to your brand, audience and the copy you pair it with otherwise you’ll just end up confusing your followers.
Although the five websites above have very similar offerings, businesses will find their own preferred platform, which will become their ‘go-to’ for imagery and videos.
By using the same website, you’re more likely to be able to keep a consistent look and feel across your social media platforms.
Each of these five sights is designed to make your life easier but, if you have the time and patience, it’s definitely worth learning how to take, create or shoot your own creative so you know it’s super on-brand.
Alternatively, if the budget allows, outsourcing your creative needs to a professional (or training an existing employee) will ensure high quality and relevant assets are always on-hand.
Another plus side to this would be the ability to create and share consistent content across all your marketing mediums, including email campaigns, website banners and print where relevant.
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