We are constantly seeing brands get in trouble for using images that they have curated from various places on the Internet. It’s shocking how many small business owners don’t understand copyright law or the trouble they could get into by saving something from Google or another social media channel and then sharing it on their own social media.
The biggest trouble comes when you use an image you didn’t create and attach your brand colors and logos to it and brand it as yours. You have now violated trademark and copyright laws.
Most of the time, it’s innocent. Businesses aren’t experienced enough in this area to understand that what they are doing is wrong. Seeing other business owners do the same thing is just reinforcing dangerous behavior.
Here’s what you should do instead:
Create Original Images
The best way to avoid this problem is to create your own images to share on social media. If you don’t currently have photos of you or your biz that work, there are plenty of stock photography websites you can use to download images that are legal and appropriate. A few of these websites are free to users. The better images will involve some sort of investment.
Here are some websites to explore for creating your own images:
If you are struggling to find stock images that resonate with the brand messaging you are trying to create, it may be time to invest in making your own. Brand photography utilizes the services of a professional photographer, skilled in the process of capturing your company’s personality and values on film. Not only will this keep you from getting in trouble with the copyright police, your audience will respond so much more to photos of you than random images of anything else. Just be sure that your agreement with the photographer allows you to share the images digitally. Not all photographers allow for that so you’ll want to look for a brand photographer that specializes in images for social media marketing and pay close attention to your agreement with them.
Connect with your Audience
If you spend your time sharing other people’s content, you are not inspiring them to work with you. This type of content does not relate to your brand, your story, your messaging, or your company culture. It’s easy to confuse those mindlessly scrolling their social media feeds and they won’t connect your post with your work. When you are creating your own branded images for social media you are using your photos, your fonts, and your brand colors. This is the ideal situation for online branding and marketing for any business. These types of posts are instantly recognizable to people who know you and are 1,000 times more interesting to people who don’t.
Are you struggling with not knowing how to use social media for your business? Not sure when to post, how to post, or what #Hashtags even are? Over three months, we will develop a roadmap of exactly how to use social media for your business in our Quarterly Roadmap Sessions. Branded images and content are just one of the things we’ll work on together. We will also work on ads, reporting, creating posts for higher engagement, and break through the fears and frustrations small businesses experience with social media marketing. Let’s chat.
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and the tools to manage them.