Social Media Blogs by Aliza Sherman
Aliza Sherman is a new media entrepreneur, author, women's issues activist, and international speaker.
Using Photos and Images in Social Media
You’ve probably heard how important “visual storytelling” is in terms of online and social media marketing. Using images, and even video, can help you attract more attention. Incorporating images into your online content requires some planning and a strategic approach as well as managing your image files.
Some things to consider before deciding to publish more visuals online include:
1. Sources - Will you generate your own photographs or illustrations or hire someone to create them? You can also find photos, images and video clips at affordable prices on online stock image sites like FreeImages.com, iStockPhoto.com and Creative Commons.
2. Protection - How will you protect the images you upload? Many people now put watermarks or branding on their images to designate that they are the source. You can simply add your company logo or URL to every image you upload. You can also digitally watermark your images using a software tool or service like Digimarc ($49 or $99/year) or Watermarker.com.
3. Credit - If you own the images you use, you can add a photo credit and copyright language to an image in small print. If you don’t own the images, make sure you have the right to use them and include the proper credits.
If you are using stock images, especially royalty-free ones, double-check the licensing details. While some free images allow you to modify them or don’t restrict how you use them, others might require requesting permission or presenting a credit in a particular way. Be careful not to violate anyone else’s copyright when using images you don’t own outright or did not create yourself.
Also be careful what is contained in the images you create. Don’t use elements of other people’s images without permission even if the final image looks very different from the original. If you are taking photographs, pay attention to the details. Who is pictured in the image and do you have their permission to include their likeness on your site and in social media? Just because someone is in a public place doesn’t mean they are expressly giving their permission for you to take their picture.
Be especially careful if there are minors in a photograph you’ve taken. There are many legal issues involved with anything to do with minors online. Be diligent about getting parental permission if you’ve included children in photographs you want to post online. If you are unable to get permissions, go for non-identifying images of people’s hands, feet, or backs turned to the camera or use effects on your images such as blurs and color washes so you don’t infringe on other people’s privacy.
The most effective images online are the ones that are clear, in focus (unless you’re going for an artistic effect), and often ones with more saturated colors. Use images that best represent your brand and that complement the messages you’re posting on your website, blog and social networks.
The main purpose for using images with your social media messaging is to attract attention, but you also want to get reactions from people such as likes and comments. More than anything, you want to create images that are compelling enough that people want to share them with their friends online. Because social media marketing often involves other people sharing your images, taking care of copyrights, credits and watermarking in advance helps ensure that what is being passed around online is accurate and effectively increases the reach of your brand.
Read other social media blogs by Aliza Sherman