Behind the Image

Images can enhance your social media posts if used in the right way.   You will have seen posts that use images that don’t seem quite right, or posts that use too many images and appear so trendy they overwhelm the message they’re trying to convey, or perhaps posts that are crying out for an image but don’t contain one.

When you are planning your posts, articles and blogs, take some time to think about the imagery.  Whether you need it, what sort it should be. 

There are some things you should consider.   At the front of your mind should always be permissions.  Do you have permission to share an image you have seen?   You are not allowed to simply take an image off the internet and share it.  It may be protected by copyright.

The default best position for all of your images is that you have taken them yourself and you own the copyright.  But whilst we may have some pictures available, few of us actually have a good library of our own images to use in our social media marketing.  

This is where stock image sites come in.  There are many fabulous sites that provide stock images free of charge, under what is known as a Creative Commons CC0 License, meaning you are free to use the images and share them for commercial purposes, without having to purchase the rights or even credit the photographer.  Although, I do believe it’s important where possible to credit the photographer.   They have shared their photos freely, so it’s only right to credit them.   I do this on my site with a footnote at the bottom of the page. 

The site I use most is Unsplash, but there are plenty of others that include photos shared under Creative Commons License, including:

Pixabay, Pexels, Creative Commons Flkr, Stockvault, and Gratisography.

When browsing these sites, do always make sure to check that the photo you select is properly licensed.  This is usually covered either on the photo page or in the site’s Terms. 

More information about Creative Commons License CC0 can be found at the Creative Commons website here.

Also to consider when you are planning your imagery is the appropriate size for your social media platform. This brilliant guide from Social Media Examiner has it covered, with key information about sizes and differences between the platforms.  

I use a free online programme called Canva to make images too, and this has templates set up in sizes for the main platforms. 

So you’ve chosen your image, you’ve  made sure you have permission to use it, and you’ve inserted it into your post at the correct size.  You’re good to go.  Or are you?

Can everybody visiting your site access the image properly?  

You need to make sure your images are accessible to all users and that they include Alt Tags.   Alt Tags are used by screen readers for users who are blind or partially sighted.  They provide an alternative way of understanding the image – using text.   Your Alt Tag should be descriptive and useful and not written for SEO, but for your users’ access. 

There are of course many brilliant and comprehensive blogs on our World Wide Web that will guide you in more detail through the nuances of using images for your website and social media but hopefully this will get you started.   

Image credit: 

Female photographer header image – Eric Mclean on Unsplash

Please note I do not work for or am affiliated with any of the websites I have listed in this post.  I include them for reference.  I am also not responsible for any content on external sites that I have linked to.