Sometimes I think I should have been a nun instead of getting into marketing and social media. Not the kind of nun that sings, like on Sound of Music or Italy’s “The Voice,” but the kind in the 1950’s who walked around with a ruler, ready to smack children on the knuckles when they used crappy images on their social media posts!
There are only a few things that send me over the edge when it comes to how poorly some companies are using social media: One is when they don’t respond to a comment or question left for them on one of their social sites, proving they don’t really want people to talk to them, they simply want everyone to read their stuff.
Another is when people use those idiotic services like TrueTwit validation to make others on Twitter prove they are not robots by going to a robot site and jumping through a bunch of hoops. (See a past post for more on that rant here).
And the one that my team, here at SocialKNX, has heard me preach over and over again (with my ruler in hand) is when people and especially brands, use crappy images on their social media sites. I think my issue started back in the days when Microsoft’s Screen Bean characters were all the rage in corporate presentations and marketing material.
I wanted to rip things apart when I would see them. (Anger management courses have helped a bit.)
But today it’s even worse when great visuals are available everywhere and the cameras we carry in our back pockets take fantastic photos, there is just no excuse for poor images being used on our websites, blog posts or social media sites.
Every social platform allows for very large images and we want to take advantage of every pixel we can. I love using Canva to ensure we are sizing the images correctly. Their templates for social media sites are very helpful, and they do a pretty good job of keeping up with the ever-changing sizes.
Here are some of the types of images that will get knuckles cracked, and why:
Clip Art (of any kind)
These just have the same smell as my great grandmother’s TV room. They are old and stale. A great photo of an actual boy on a tricycle or a cool close up of a tricycle would be more intriguing and interesting than this one. Take a trip this weekend and snap some great photos to use instead.
Why not go with something more interesting?
Phony team or corporate porn
Oh, these are bad on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start! First, any of the overly staged, fake corporate team photos tell the world you don’t even try. You may have purchased these photos from Shutterstock or iStockPhoto, but you didn’t look past the first 3 or 4 choices. A personal favorite is the overly enthusiastic team meeting photo that shows everyone giving high fives around a flipchart! Come on! Show us, REAL people, doing real office activities. I know they are harder to find. You have to look at new collections or unique sites like Unsplash. Better yet, get your own team members to pose for a few shots, or look for great photos that depict the message you are trying to convey. The fake-looking, overly-staged pics are called corporate porn. They should be banned and someone should lose their job for even looking at them on company computers!
No explanation needed! You’re just embarrassing yourself if you are using these anywhere. Don’t make me get my ruler out.
Where to Get Great Images
So where do you go to find these GREAT images? Here are 12 stock photo libraries to get you started. You will still have to look through their collections to find the great ones.
The photographs from the first 8 sites are free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
However, some photos may require attribution. We’ve done our best to identify which license they fall under but we still advise you to do your own research and determine how these images can be used.
The last 3 resources are paid stock photo sites that are great for those who blow through hundreds or thousands of images a month. You need more than one place to find just the right image to tell your stories!
Here you go:
- Unsplash – This website offers amazing and beautiful photos absolutely free. It’s one of my favorites.
- Pexels – Pexels is another great resource offering high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
- StockSnap – This website offers many similar images to the paid subscription sites (probably the images that didn’t get purchased from them). They are free and free from copyright restrictions.
- Life of Pix – a great collection of high-resolution images with no copyright restrictions.
- BURST (by Shopify)– All photos are licensed under Creative Commons CC0 and can be used as you see fit.
- Picography – Beautiful free images to use however you’d like.
- PicJumbo – This site offers free images you can use without copyright restrictions and you will also find a “premium” level for more hidden gems.
- StyledStock -This site offers free “feminine” stock photography for every woman entrepreneur. The collection is totally free for your commercial & personal works.
- Pikwizard– This site offers over 100,000 completely free images on the site and over 20,000 are exclusive to Pikwizard. They have a lot of pictures of people in business settings which is helpful for corporate accounts.
- Deposit Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
- Shutterstock– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
- iStock Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
If you are using a tool like Canva, they also have an incredible library of images you can access (many are coming from Unsplash and other sites listed here). They are included in your pro-level membership or may cost $1 each if you are using the free version of Canva.
Don’t forget that photographer inside of YOU. You can take some great pics with your mobile devices and then add a bit of pizazz with apps like WordSwag, A Beautiful Mess, or even Instagram. Don’t settle for boring images.
Do you have a type of image that makes you cringe? Do you have another great resource that you use for great images? I’d love to continue the conversation here in the comments or on our DIY.social Facebook Group. I also would love to know if you have a String Bean graphic.