It is no news that social media has become a crucial part of Marketing for businesses. Not only is it an effective way of attracting new potential customers but also a way to consolidate your brand and its personality. In this context, creating good social media photos is essential.
Certainly, the images you post on social media can drastically influence the perception of your brand, just like it does for personal or influencer accounts.
Finding the right social media photo can be hard, let alone creating it. Furthermore, when it comes to brands, it may be difficult to think of what to post because you want to do multiple things: reach the right audience, increase credibility, strengthen the relationship with your customers, get more followers, improve brand awareness, go viral, and much more.
The good thing is you can do all those things, one post at a time. Therefore, in this article, we tell you all about using stock photos, UGC, product photoshoots, Branded Stock, and more ways to ace the photo game on social media.
Which photos you should post on social media?
Different platforms require different content strategies. Thus, depending on which social media platform you are using, the photos you should post will vary. Make sure to match your content appropriately with your audience’s intent on the platform you choose.
For instance, the same photos you post on Instagram will not perform the same for a text-heavy platform like Linkedin. Likewise, images that perform well on LinkedIn, will most likely perform well on a platform like Pinterest that focuses on visual appeal and not really on text or products. You may know that the same happens with videos – i.e Instagram reels and Tiktok – the strategies are different when posting on different platforms even though the media format is the same.
Nonetheless, as a business/brand is important to keep the images you post coherent across all channels. In general, the photos you should be posting on social media need to be shareable and branded images and follow the right formats.
Shareable photos can be aesthetically pleasing media, fun images or memes, influencer content, and tips. While branded images contain explicitly your products, your team, new launches, and ad material. A mix of both works great, but branded content that is also shareable works better.
If you are selling directly to the consumer, you need to make sure that all of the pictures you post will direct people to your brand. Any image you share has the potential to end up in people’s feeds whether from their explore page, hashtags, stories, main feed, or reposts. Thus you need to make sure the photos you publish are branded.
If you need help with creating shareable content, we have gathered for you some key insights to create content that’s worth a thousand shares.
Are there photos you should not post on social media?
You must treat social media as an extension of your brand. Your products and services – and the brand itself – should be portrayed as best as possible.
As a rule of thumb, review every image from a customer point of view – as your customer persona would you like, comment, or share that picture? (Why?)
If yes, then think about how that aligns with your brand’s strategy and goals. And if not, then discard.
Can I use stock photos for Instagram?
Short answer: yes. However, stay away from cheesy or generic images!
The convenience of stock photos is that they are ready-to-use and, usually, you can post them on social media without having to gain permission from the original content creator.
It can be hard to constantly create photos for social media, and stock photos ease the work of marketers and social media managers as they can be used right away. Just make sure that your stock photos are royalty-free and copyright-free.
Generally, stock photos can work great for lifestyle images but not so much for product photography since they are not custom-made. If stock photography is not your thing for social media, keep reading, or check out our article on Stock Photography Alternatives.
How do I find good social media photos? What are good sources?
There are multiple ways to find and create the best social media photos:
The concept of user-generated content, or UGC, is pretty self-explanatory. It consists of media created by your users and published on social media and/or other channels. Indeed, these media can take the form of images, videos, testimonials, reviews, or even extracts from a podcast.
UGC can be used by your brand for marketing and commercial purposes upon given consent, or simply re-shared with image credits on your respective channels. Keep in mind that the UGC you choose to share needs to be aligned with your brand’s aesthetic and photography style for a consistent look and cohesive feed.
Using UGC has become increasingly popular among brands as it fosters a ‘word of mouth’ effect while connecting with one’s customers. Furthermore, it is an inexpensive method for creating authentic and relatable content.
Thus, big and small brands have jumped into the UGC wagon such as H&M, Calvin Klein, Netflix, Adobe, Glossier,
Similar to UGC, this content is created by other people for your brand. It consists of a (usually) paid collaboration with micro or macro-influencers.
Ideally, when picking influencers to promote your products, make sure they align with your brand’s aesthetic and personality, so their images or videos created can blend seamlessly with your campaigns.
H&M and Lays are great examples of brands effectively using influencer content.
Stock photography websites
You can get great stock photography from free or paid websites, here are some free examples:
- Unsplash: More aesthetic & artsy stock images instead of your traditional stock visuals.
- Pexels: Their filters ease the search for the ideal stock photo, you can even filter out by color!
- Burst: Powered by Shopify, their stock images target new businesses and entrepreneurs.
- Pixabay: apart from over 2 million stock photos, it also provides audios and music!
Custom traditional photoshoot
Traditionally, entire photoshoots are planned in order to create content to use for socials, websites, ads, campaigns, etc. Several people are involved in this process: makeup artists, stylists, photographers, assistants, caterers, marketing managers, etc.
The pros: get results exactly how you planned them. The cons: costly time and money investment, advance planning months prior, no room for photographer creativity.
The easiest way to leverage a traditional photo shoot is to create images in a versatile format that can be used for multiple platforms so you can get a good return on investment.
If you want to DIY your product photoshoot make sure to check out our How-To guide and our insights on how to take good product photos for Instagram.
If you want to shoot with a professional photographer, you can do so through Cherrydeck.
Planning, shooting, and editing branded photographs for Instagram takes time and money investment. Moreover, stock photography does not feature your own products.
Instead, there is a solution that combines the best of both worlds. Cherrydeck Branded Stock facilitates creating custom visual content for your brand in a time and cost-effective manner. Like stock photos made just for your brand!
Basically, businesses send out their branding guidelines and products, and Cherrydeck finds the right photographer in your area or remotely to create your needed imagery. The outcome? You receive hundreds of custom-made images featuring your own products. It is a stress-free way to create social media photos for your brand.
Photoshop products into stock photos
This is a great method to make those stock photos your very own. If you have good photoshop skills you can always create branded content out of ordinary stock photos.
A brand with a fun take on this method is Koi Footwear. The popular vegan shoe brand photoshops their products onto public images of celebrities. Certainly, this engages their audience in a fun way, promotes re-sharing, and builds their brand personality. Whether badly or perfectly edited, people seem to love it!
Let’s sum it up!
Treat social media as an extension of your brand in order to decide which photos to use on social media. Here is how you can find and create good social media photos:
If you liked to read our insights on how to create shareable content, stay tuned to the Cherrydeck blog, where we regularly share insightful content for your brand!
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