3 sources to get free images for social media

Gone are the days when it was enough for your business to be present in social networks. Social media as a business medium has matured. Chances are all your competitors are already there, and possibly thriving. Now that there are no brownie points for just registering, let’s look at practical ways to enhance your business’ social profile and presence.

The rise of images

In the last couple of years, social media has turned very visual. The popularity of image-based social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are the best examples of this trend.

According to a report by Ipsos, the most popular shared content on social media is pictures with 43 percent of shares. Tweets that include photos and links receive 150 percent more engagement, according to Simply Measured. If you aren’t making the most of images in your social media updates or your website, check out these free solutions.

Getty Images — photos at your fingertips

If you’re reading a newspaper online, look closely and you’ll be surprised at how many of the images are provided by Getty Images. They have high-quality photos taken by professional photographers. Now 35 million of those images can be used — for FREE.

The images must be used for non-commercial purposes, meaning you can’t print the image on something and sell it. And, you have to use their embed tool to use the images on your websites, blogs and social media platform. The embed tool includes photographer attribution and a link back to the Getty Images website where the photo can be found.

The simple four steps to embed Getty Images is explained in their website.

Creative Commons — your copyright guide

Navigating copyright issue can be complicated at times. Creative Commons is the non-profit organisation that helps to simplify this. When looking for images that you can freely and legally use, the Creative Commons database is a great starting point. It contains images with different licences, and most of the time, you can find out the legal information on the page of the image. In the screenshot below, the right way to attribute this image is listed in the top left section under License.

Creative Commons

Screenshot from Creative Commons: photo by Thomas Leuthard

When you need more variety

If you’ve already exhausted the two suggestions above, here is a list of great stock photo websites. Most of the images are free or request a donation. The websites in this list are more artistic, so if you’re in creative industries or looking for a more alternative look and feel, check them out. You will likely be required to attribute, although some images are free for commercial use.

It’s very important to craft your post with the right image to enhance your message. Most of the time, the image should complement the message. Your readers will process your copy, and courtesy of the images, they’ll have an emotional connection with it, leading to more engagement. Keep in mind that details like this will help you use social media more effectively, leapfrogging your competition.