You've heard all the tips and strategies for visual social media.
But now it's time for “what NOT to do”. It's time for a visual social media smackdown.
In this post I share 5 things you may be doing that you need to stop doing.
Like… right now.
The rise and rise of visual content has been huge, and we can select from a virtual smorgasbord of opportunities to create, share and benefit from visual content.
However, with new “things” there is a period like the Wild West…. where anything goes.
Then it's time to throw out your lasso and reign in the behaviours that are a little unruly… things we maybe know we shouldn't be doing but we keep doing them anyway.
Here are 5 things you maybe doing with your visual content that you need to stop.
Let The Visual Social Media Smackdown Commence…
#1 Say No to Google Images
Let's get one thing straight. Google Images is not a stock library.
I know… it looks like one, feels like one, allows easy downloads like one.. but it's not one.
If you download a Google Image from Google and use it on your site you could be on the fast track to a smackdown.
A copyright smackdown.
That little image you used on your site to make your blog post look pretty? It was created by a photographer who wants you to pay up for using it. Or perhaps it's owned by a big stock photo company who want payment.
So, just presume you can't download and use them. Be scared of Google Images. Do whatever it takes to NOT download and use them.
Are we agreed? Cool.
No. Google. Images. Ever. Nien. Nope. Nuh uh. No no. Zilch. Zip. Nada.
#2 Go Easy on the Branding, Young Grasshopper
This one should be pretty obvious but, alas, maybe not so much given the number of times my eyes hurt from over-branding.
Here's the deal – when you create a visual – be it an image, infographic, slidedeck or more – you don't need to brand the thing with your URL, website, logo, business name and what you ate for breakfast.
Seriously you don't!
Branding is about consistency. Pick something and stick to it. For me, it's my logo, for you it might be your website URL.
But just pick one thing.
Now, I do believe that some subtle branding on most images is a great idea – for identification and marketing purposes.
It also protects your image in a copyright sense from people wanting to pass it off as their own (see #3).
But you don't need to include ALL THE THINGS when it comes to branding an image. Just one thing will do.
If you want to add more just branding, remember this – most images have a space for adding a description – add the extra bits there (ie your URL, business name, etc). Your profile will also have a link to your website and if you are smart you will have a call to action to visit your website on many images or listed in the description.
Trust me. People will find you.
#3 Play fair and SHARE.
I have been harping on about this for a few years now. There is nothing that irks me more than seeing a business page on, say Facebook (because that's where it mostly happens) take an image from another page, download it, then upload it again and post it.
People, this makes the image look like your own. Which is not cool. Just not cool.
Not only is it a copyright risk (as the original owner may report the image or ask for payment) but it is just not cool.
And what's the harm in sharing someone else's image by hitting “share” on Facebook rather than doing all the downloading and uploading? Nothing.
And no, attributing the image with “Sourced from… xyz Facebook Page” is not really cutting it. Facebook may still deem this to be breaching copyright if you are challenged.
Not to mention the owner of the original image deeming it a breach of their copyright if you do not use the in-platform share function. And when it comes to your website refer back to #1 – don't use any images without a licence or explicit permission.
And when it comes to Facebook, you can get some pretty good “Facebook Reach” juice by sharing an image from another page, especially if that page is getting some good reach and engagement. Facebook likes Facebook.
But seriously, you don't need to do it. You will still get good reach by simply sharing an image “within platform” (repinning, retweeting, sharing) and the best part? You get to pay it forward to the person creating the image – by sharing.
And social media is all about being social, right?
#4 Don't do the visual vomit
You've created a great image and can't wait to share it. But I need you to wait.. a little.
Whether you use scheduling tools or your own posting-power, it's really important that you try to avoid posting the same image everywhere at the same time.
Firstly, it's best if you tailor your images to different platforms. Consider the native content on that platform – the shape, size and content of images that works on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook.
Then create images to suit those platforms and post them at different times. You might get to cross post – one image may work on two platforms, but just try to avoid blasting them all out at once.
Just remember: Some of your fans will follow you in more one place and the virtual visual vomit ain't so fun on the receiving end!
#5 You don't have to be everywhere with visuals – just yet.
Whoah Nelly… hold up a little.
If you bolt out of the gate wanting to post visuals on every platform you will burn out.
In fact you probably won't get to burn out as you will be so overwhelmed, you might not actually create any visual content at all!
Trust me, I have been there.
Instead, here's what you should do. Pick a platform. Pick one that you love and where your content resonates with your fans.
Then start creating a visual content plan for that platform. How often will you post? What type of images? What shape, size, style? Will you post in series of images or via themes or post a daily image type?
Then set yourself a minimum goal of consistency. How many images will you post per day or week at MINIMUM? If you start out thinking you need to post 10 per day, you won't achieve it (trust me on this), but if you start out with, say, one original image per day then you have a good shot at it.
Then WHEN (and only when) you are consistent, start posting a second or third image per day, and so on and so on (eventually moving on to other platforms when you have systems in place).
Promise me you will put the reins on?
Stepping off my soap box… rant over.
I don't usually rant too much on this blog as I prefer to focus on the fun and creativity and business building aspects of using visual content and content strategy in the right way.
But these 5 smackdowns are things that bother me on a daily basis (not just because they bother me, but I can see it hurting businseses), so I hope the rant has benefited you. Keep these “smackdowns” in mind when creating your next batch of visual content.
Over to You
Do you agree? Are you guilty of doing any of these and realise you need to stop? Have you done any of these in the past? Let me know in the comments (and feel free to add your own smackdown if you have one!).
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