Tag: photography

#PlanAhead – Using Stock Photos in Your Social Media Marketing

One of the challenges with building your social media presence is figuring out the visuals. You can create graphics with no photos, but I’m sure you’ve heard that photos grab more attention. However, since you haven’t done any professional photography, you aren’t sure what to use. What’s a small business owner to do? What are your choices?

Your Own Photography

Hands down, the best option for anyone building their social media marketing is to take and use your own photos. The bad news? Professional photography (while worth it) is expensive. The good news? You have a smart phone with a decent camera and most audiences are expecting some level of raw and real when it comes to social media. In fact, people tend to engage more with social media posts that represent the authentic you.

Back Away from Google Images (And No One Gets Hurt)

Seriously, I’m still having conversations with small businesses that don’t realize it’s not okay to just grab a photo off the Internet and use it on their website or in their social media marketing. Every image has some level of copyright protection. If you took the photo yourself (always the best bet) then you are given the same level of protection because that’s your intellectual property. It’s doesn’t matter how pretty it is, or how perfect for your business, you can’t use another person’s images without permission.

Stock Photography

What is stock photography? Stock photos are taken by photographers and uploaded to stock photography websites for use by others. Check the copyright license before using, but many photos are free to use. You’ll find two different types of stock photography websites – absolutely free with an open creative license (so you can use however you like) and paid stock photography websites that requires you to pay per image or sign up for a monthly subscription to access their photos. The free websites tend to be more limited on choices (because photographers don’t get paid as well, or at all, for submitting photos there). The paid photography websites typically have a bigger library of images available because photographers are incentivized to upload their photos.

Here are three popular free stock photography websites to help you get started:




If you are just getting started with social media marketing, use the free tools available to you to get going. Something is always better than nothing and you can start building your audience using free stock photography this month!

However, understand that if you are trying to build authority, become an expert, or establish yourself as an influencer, stock photography won’t cut it for you. Especially for those looking to build a presence on Instagram, those users want to see YOU, not generic images that aren’t related to your brand. Depending on the impact you are trying to make, investing in either taking your own photos or hiring a photographer may be the direction you need to go.

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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 LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#BePrepared – Don’t Steal Images Off Google!

We’ve all been there. A quick Google search and the perfect photo pops up. A couple of quick keystrokes and it’s all yours. Your troubles are over. But are they? No, in fact, post that picture and your problems may just be beginning. Using a photo that is protected by copyright without permission is stealing. So, before you “borrow that photo” consider the following.

  • Taking photos that don’t belong to you is not a victimless crime. Stealing a picture hurts the artist and deprives him or her of the royalties to which they are due. Remember, even though photographers may love what they do, it’s still a job and how they earn a living. Artists deserve to be paid for their work.
  • It can cost you. If you “borrow” a photo and you get called on it you are subject to fines. Sure, having that picture solves a problem but is it worth it if you end up having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for it? Sometimes a copyright owner will be kind and simply send you a cease and desist letter. However, they don’t have to warn you first. They can simply send you a fine for illegally breaking copyright laws.
  • You don’t need to steal photos. There are many pay per use stock photo sites that charge a reasonable price for the pictures they carry. You can find some amazing images and pay their creator for the right to use them.
  • Free stock photography is a great option. Luckily, pay sites aren’t your only option. There are plenty of free stock photo collections you can take advantage of. Let’s talk about three of the best.
  1. Canva – You may only know Canva as a powerful graphic design tool. In addition to being an excellent site for creating fliers, collages, and infographics, Canva has a substantial library of free stock photos that can be used for both personal and commercial use. Plus, if you use the tool to create your designs, using the photos within the site is quick and easy.
  2. Pixabay – This site has over 1.5 million royalty free stock photos, and some videos, shared by their community of artists. They are public domain without licensing restrictions so you can feel comfortable using them for your business needs.
  3. Unsplash – Similar to Pixabay, Unsplash has a large catalog of royalty free images gifted by their community of photographers. While Pixabay is a great tool if you are seeking specific photos for a project, Unsplash has beautiful images fantastic for attention-grabbing designs.

Without a doubt, finding free stock photography that is high quality and right for your specific needs can be a challenge, and it is always tempting to take the easy way out and grab something that you find through a Google search. There are tools that photographers use to track their images online and, eventually, your actions will be uncovered. This happens nearly daily. There are many small business owners that aren’t even aware that what they are doing is illegal. Be aware and educated. There are plenty of legal alternatives and doing the right thing will save you a headache, and money, in the long run.

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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 LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#AwesomeBios – Picking Images For Your Bios

When inputting your bio information on the various social media platforms that you want to associate with your business, it can be tempting to rush through the process in order to get started. I implore you to avoid this urge, and set aside time to really flesh out the bio areas of each site to optimize your profiles. Why? Because it will make it easier for your target audience to find you.

Once they have found you, however, you need to grab their attention if you want to convert them to followers or leads. You will only have seconds to do it. What is the best practice for extending the amount of time that a passer-by lingers on your profile? Using the right images.

Visual Content

We are a visual people. In fact, over 65% of people are visual learners, mainly due to the fact that 90% of all data processed by the brain is visual in nature. Before live video came along, photos were the most engaging type of content on Facebook with an overwhelming 87% interaction rate with viewers. Facebook data is so convincing that the social media giant adapted its algorithm so that text only updates weren’t given as much priority – and then implemented a method to the color the background of text only posts in order improve their reach.

The Right Images

Understanding that you need to use images in your bios and profiles is just the first step. It’s even more important to recognize what makes a great visual! Just grabbing something off-hand is not ideal. The image needs to be clear, crisp and engaging. It should also match your branding.

This means understanding resolution. The detail that a photo or image holds is its resolution. The higher the resolution, the better detail which makes the image look better. It’s measured in various ways but the key is to understand that you always want to use an original, or high resolution, version of an image in your marketing. Find out more about resolution at this website.

Ask around. Gather your brand advocates, your fans, and your cheerleaders, to make sure that the images you’ve selected are not only visually appealing but they make sense for what you are trying to accomplish. A confused lead is a prospect that moves on and finds something that makes more sense for them.


The other error we see way too many small businesses doing is using images they do not own. The temptation to grab a stunning graphic off the internet and use it for your purposes should be avoided at all costs! What you don’t know about copyrights, trademarks and licenses can hurt you.

The best practices to engage in are to:

1. Purchase stock photography from reputable sites like Shutterstock, iStock, Dreamstime or Deposit Photos.

2. Download FREE stock photography from sites that offer images with no copyright or license concerns. (Always read the details on each image to be sure!) Our favorite sites are Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash.

3. Take your own photos! Or enlist the help of a photographer that you know that will take photos that belong 100% to you and your brand.

If you have already uploaded profile pictures, cover photos or other bio images that don’t meet these standards, don’t fret. Just go find better images and get them uploaded as soon as you can. Your images are the perfect complement to your expanded, detailed bios. The bios will ensure that your ideal clients find you and the images will make certain that they stick around to find out why you are the perfect fit.

Just another way The Social Media Advisor team is encouraging you to #BeAwesome with your online presence and social media!

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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 LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

#SocialIsntScary – Fear of the Camera

Are You Afraid of Using Photo or Video in Your Social Media?

There are a variety of different ways to generate marketing content but do you really need to be on video? Is it truly necessary to get some professional headshots done? The truth of the matter is audiences are becoming more and more visual. Social media effectiveness is greatly enhanced when visuals are involved. What is more visual than having a video conversation with your target audience? Don’t you feel more comfortable when you can get a feel for the person you are interacting with? Video also opens up what you offer to a segment of the population that doesn’t enjoying reading. It makes you appear more personable and really adds to that Know, Like, Trust relationship building that great companies can establish.
Knowing that you need to get in front of the camera is one thing. How do you get past all the fears associated with getting started? Worried about how you will appear in video or look in pictures? Don’t know where to start? Here are some basic tips to getting started with visual marketing.
Visual marketing involves utilizing images, graphics and other visuals to make your content more powerful. Images grab and keep attention much longer than basic text. When putting together a marketing or social media plan, it’s essential to incorporate visuals into your content management strategy.
Do they have to be pictures of you? No, they don’t. However, the added benefit to using professionally done photographs of you and various aspects of your business are worth the investment. Photos of you establish a connection with the audience. It makes them more comfortable. The more conversations you have and visuals you put out there, the more your clients feel like they are getting to know you.
If you are concerned about how you will look, shop around for a trusted photographer or portrait artist. Express your objections or fears and have them suggest ways to create stunning images that even you will be pleased with. Then come up with creative ways to use those images with your social media and website content.
Don’t let fear hold you back from making an impact with your marketing!
Video & Vlogs
Tip #1: Practice
Do some rehearsals. Record yourself. Work on developing a connection with the camera lens. Talk to the camera and don’t get distracted or look away. As with any new skill, the more you practice the better you’ll become.
Tip #2: Review Visuals
Watch your rehearsals. Turn the volume down. This will give you a chance, without sound, to really examine all the elements of your video. That’s what video is all about. It’s a visual platform.
Examine these elements:
       Facial Expressions
Tip #3: Review Sounds
This time look away from the camera and just listen. By listening, you will hear how you sound on video. Listen for dramatic pauses or overused phrases. Does the sound flow? What can you do to make transitions sound better?
Tip #4: Be Realistic
No one expects you to be a filmmaker. Your videos don’t have to be perfect. Focus on the art of conversation. Have a conversation with your camera, which is really your audience. Vlogging isn’t about fancy special effects or understanding every element of YouTube.

#SocialIsntScary and neither is putting together visual marketing elements that can be a true asset to your brand. If you’d like some examples on how you can #BeAwesome using this techniques, give us a call!
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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.

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