Do you want your content to stand out in today’s crowded social media landscape? Then it’s time to get visual with social media.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that great visuals make for great marketing. Visual content can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool, one that increases message association, brand awareness, and encourages engagement and shares.
The continuing growth of visual platforms, such as Pinterest and Instagram, confirm that incorporating visual content into your social media strategy is a must. Not only do these platforms drive more traffic and shares, research has shown that tweets and Facebook posts with images encourage more engagement. You should also add an image to every single blog post you write and use images to break up the tedium of text.
But when it comes to using images don’t be tempted to reach for the nearest stock photo.
These days there’s no excuse for using boring stock images you can find all over the web. In this article, you’ll learn my favorite recommendations for sourcing images you can use to enhance your social media posts – and best of all they’re free!
1. Freepik offers users, high-quality graphic designs: exclusive illustrations and graphics resources. It operates on a freemium business model which means, the majority of the resources offered at Freepik can be used for free, only having to credit the author of the illustration to Freepik. In addition, for a small fee, you can subscribe to the Premium plan and use the illustrations without any accreditation whatsoever.
What I really like about this site is many of the images are quirky and fun — no cheesy stock images here!
3. ISO Republic provides over 3,000 images under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for personal or commercial purposes with no attribution required.
4. Life of Pix is a collection of free high resolution stock images donated to the public domain by the Leeroy Advertising Agency in Montreal.
Their sister site Life of Vids offers royalty-free videos, clips, and loops for you to use to your heart’s content.
5. Morguefile is a free photo archive “for creatives, by creatives.” The photos have been contributed by a wide range of creatives from around the world, ranging from amateur photo hobbyists to professionals.
6. Pexels provides over 3,800 high-resolution photos, collated from other free image sites — making it one of the largest free image directories.
Pexels has also added a large library of stock videos to its site under Creative Commons license. Use the site’s list of popular searches to find the most in-demand stock videos.
7. Picjumbo is free stock photo site created by designer and photographer Viktor Hanacek in 2013.
Users can click through the different categories of over 600 free high-resolution photos, with the option of upgrading to Premium for new unpublished images to power your social media marketing. No attribution is required.
8. Pixabay hosts over 650,000 free stock photos, vectors, and art illustrations free of copyrights under Creative Commons. On the home page, you’ll find a small, curated collection of images and a search bar for more targeted results.
Pixabay also has a collection of stock videos for use in your marketing.
9. Rawpixel prides itself on having the most diverse collection of stock photos on the web. It wants to change the face of stock photography by creating design resources that reflect today’s society as it really is. To this end, it has started the (one) world face project with the ultimate goal of photographing people from every nation in the world.
10. Unsplash gives you access to a bank of 50,000+ free-to-use photos. You can subscribe to receive ten new images every ten days directly into your inbox.
Creating compelling visual content can be a powerful way to connect with your audience. People connect more emotionally with images than text, and in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, when our minds are attracted more readily to content that draws our eye, images can break through the online content clutter to quickly communicate your marketing messages.
Spend some time this week perusing these sites and download a selection of your favorite images to your desktop. Then get creative with the help of an image editing tool such as Canva and edit your chosen images into something more interesting for your brand. Save these images to a Dropbox folder so you now have your own library of unique images to draw on each time you write a new piece of content or post something to social media.
For more image editing tools check out my weekly cool tool recommendations.
You might also like to read How to Add Visual Appeal to Your Social Media Campaign