Stop Using These Crappy Images On Your Social Media Posts

Stop Using These Crappy Images On Your Social Media Posts

images and photos for social media and marketingSometimes 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.

crappy images 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)

bad images

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?

Photo by Rodolfo Mari on Unsplash

Phony team or corporate porn

corny images

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!

where to find great images for social

Photo by Steven Lelham on Unsplash

Corny Images

corny images bad images for social media corny images dont use these in social media





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:

  1. Unsplash – This website offers amazing and beautiful photos absolutely free. It’s one of my favorites.
  2. Pexels – Pexels is another great resource offering high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
  3. 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.
  4. Life of Pix – a great collection of high-resolution images with no copyright restrictions.
  5. BURST (by Shopify)– All photos are licensed under Creative Commons CC0 and can be used as you see fit.
  6. Picography – Beautiful free images to use however you’d like.
  7. PicJumbo – This site offers free images you can use without copyright restrictions and you will also find a “premium” level for more hidden gems.
  8. StyledStock -This site offers free “feminine” stock photography for every woman entrepreneur. The collection is totally free for your commercial & personal works.
  9. 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.
  10. Deposit Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
  11. Shutterstock– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
  12. 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.

Infographics are another great way to add visual appeal to your social media marketing.  Check out tools like Canva,, Piktochart, Venngage, and if you want a little help, check out 

how to make infographics for social media posts

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 Facebook Group. I also would love to know if you have a String Bean graphic.

Connect with me on Twitter or contact us in one of many ways here!

Twitter Tip: Why Are There Periods Before a Tweet

Perhaps you have seen a tweet begin with a period and thought it was simply a slip of the finger that was not caught on Twitter.

Maybe you’ve asked, “Why do people place a period at the beginning of a tweet? Does it change who sees the content?”


Well that little dot, or other intentionally placed character, in front of a tweet play a very important role in Twitter town.  Let me explain.

If I want to send a PRIVATE message to someone on Twitter, I simply hit the DIRECT MESSAGE icon (They have to be following you in order to send a DM to them).

Who sees a message I send to someone on Twitter

But when I reply to someone or send a message to someone in my public Twitter stream, who sees that message depends on how the message is set up.  Example:

Jana has these folks following her:

  • Jeff
  • Carol
  • Mary
  • Ernie
  • Bert

I have these folks following me:

  • Kathleen
  • Mark
  • Ernie 
  • Bert
  • Tommy

If I want to reply to my friend Jana Axline and don’t mind if others see the message I could simply reply:

why is there a period in front of some tweets

The only people who will see this tweet in their Twitter stream are those who are following BOTH me AND Jana, so only Ernie and Bert see that reply.  Of course anyone who goes to my Twitter profile directly and clicks on TWEETS AND REPLIES will find it there, but it will not be in my main Twitter stream.

See tweets and replies; Twitter Tips

If I start a tweet with “RT” or a word or even a period, it moves it from the TWEETS and REPLIES into my main TWEETS and Kathleen, Mark, Tommy, Mary, Carol, Jeff AND Ernie and Bert will all see that message in their stream when they log in.

Letters RT or a period in the front of a tweet; Twitter Tips


Twitter Tips; how to make sure more people see your tweets


Want even more Twitter Tips for your business?  Check out our helpful Twitter guidebook here:

How to build business with Twitter


Tired of periods, RTs and trying to figure it all out?  Give us a shout, we can help.




Are You On Too Many Social Media Sites?

too many social media sites, which social media sites do I need to be on 

We see them every day. Exhausted and frustrated small business owners waving the white flag of surrender on their social marketing efforts. They have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and even Snapchat, but most have been abandoned after a month or so of random posting and activity with little if any strategic focus.   

With all of the available social media platforms to engage with your customers and share your brand’s message, it can be overwhelming deciding where you should be active. It’s a lot like looking at for a new home.  You wouldn’t run out and buy several houses start moving some furniture in each only to leave them abandoned while you make your choice of the best location. You would research each feature you desire first, look into the surrounding area to see if it meets your needs and make sure the house you want is in a community that you can be active in. The same goes for social media marketing. 

These 5 steps will help you decide where your brand needs to be active:

 1. Identify the type of people you want to “live with”

In marketing we call this defining your personas, but it is simply detailing who you are trying to reach with your social media activities.  If you think the world is your market, you will run yourself ragged trying to be everywhere.  Be as specific as possible.  What is the age of the people you are targeting.  What are the concerns or challenges they face?  Problems they have that you might be able to solve? What social media sites are they most active on? Where might they find your content? Write this down and keep it in front of you as you decide where you will set up camp. 

2. Where are your competitors active?

Have you looked on social media sites to see which of your competitors are active there?  Not more abandoned accounts, but real activity. Facebook allows you to “watch” 5 competitor accounts from your own business page.  

3. What type of content will you be sharing on each social media site?

Take time to plan out the kind of content you will be creating for each site BEFORE you set up shop.  You need regular photos if you are using Instagram. Lots of tips and short nuggets on Twitter. Product pictures for Pinterest, and so on.  It’s not the same content on every platform.   

4. Who will be responsible for writing, posting, finding photos, monitoring activity and responding to questions or comments on your social media sites?

This seems obvious, but you might need to recruit some help managing the activity that goes along with posting to social sites. Social marketing is so much more than just posting content.  Talk to your team to see who can help with each activity.

5. What is your goal on each social media site?

Your goal must extend beyond just being present on a social media site.  Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website? Then blogging might be a big piece of this formula so your social media posts have something to share and point people to.  Is your goal to let people know about products you offer and get feedback from your community?  Are you trying to magnify your influence and let people know what your expertise is?  These goals must be kept front and center to keep your activities focused.  

With this plan in front of you, you will be able to identify where you want to be active and you will have  a better understanding of the work involved to keep your social media sites from looking like an abandoned house.   

You may have a few activities that you can cut from your social marketing activities.  Check out our list of 10 Useless Things You Can Cut TODAY!

Amanda Norvell SocialKNX social marketing

Amanda manages the social media content for SocialKNX and is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing Pro. You can always find her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and more for SocialKNX.


Staying Ahead In The Social Business Tool Game

Stay Ahead in The Social Business Tools Game: How to open yourself to new tools, resources and shortcuts.

 Social Marketing Services Colorado Managed Social Media

In a recent client meeting we were discussing taking some of the photos from an event and adding their logo and web address to them in Picmonkey and then taking the market stats and plugging then into Canva, a cool new tool to make an infographic.

Our client’s assistant looked over at us and asked, “How do you learn about all of these cool tools? I’ve never heard of these?”  Hmm, that’s a great question.  We just keep our eyes and ears open through different blogs we read and then we go over to explore them to see how we could use them in our business.  Whether it’s Dropbox to store our documents and photos in the cloud for easy access while on the road, or InstaSize to take those rectangle photos and load them to Instagram without cropping the entire thing, we try them all.

It’s easy to get stuck using the same tools you have always used and get so busy that you don’t make time to explore and learn about new tools and shortcuts to do your job.

Here are 3 things you can do to open yourself to new tools, resources and shortcuts:


  1. Subscribe to 3 random industry magazines

    Subscribe to your interest areas on Flipboard (a customizable magazine that pulls content into a beautiful news display every time you open it on your smartphone or tablet).
    In the “old days” I would suggest subscribing to a few random magazines, but now you can get the same content in a free digital format.  If you are a Realtor, select interests like aviation, wine or meetings and events industry news.  If you are a government position, select industries like travel, mountaineering or auto mechanic news. Break from the traditional sources that everyone else in your industry is reading, or at least ADD TO what everyone else is reading.

  2. Browse your app store (iTunes or Android Play) monthly.

    Looking under business categories to try a new app or two each month.  Read the reviews on apps before downloading and look for those with lots of downloads already (gives you an idea of how popular the app is).  If it has 100-200 downloads, that’s not a whole lot.  10,000 or 200,000 downloads tells you it has been tried and tested.  Subscribe to sites like Mashable/Tech to stay in the know as well.

  3. Talk to people.

    Whenever I am chatting with someone, I ask them what their favorite app or tool is for building business or helping in their marketing.  You will hear all kinds of things.  I also have a teenager and I learn a ton from her.  She is always showing me a great photo editing app or one that allows you to square up those photos before loading to Instagram.

stand out on social media different social marketing

We’d love to learn from YOU.  What are your favorite tools or apps? How do YOU keep ahead of the game and continue to STAND OUT in the social ocean?  Please tell us in the comment section.


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