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How to choose a stock photo for your social media post?

"A picture is worth a thousand words" rings really true on social media. Whether you use your own photo or you use a stock photo on your post, people are more likely to pause to see what your post is about.

There are thousands of free stock images out there. Here is a list of free stock photo sites that you can use. But, please don't go to Google Images and download a random photo. Doing so can get you in a lot of trouble (i.e. copyright infringement).

But, how do you pick the "right" photo for your post. Here are 5 tips that I use when picking out photos for social media posts.

5 tips to help you pick the best stock photos

Know the type of message you're trying to convey.

Is your post informational or entertaining? What is the topic of the post? Be sure to select a photo that "fits" what you are talking about. You wouldn't want to use a photo of the beach when your post is about how to conduct a performance review.

Representation matters

Embrace photos of people with different backgrounds. Our communities are full of people with different abilities, interests, and more. It's important to show how each person can fit within your business.

Avoid using a "cheesy" photo

Sharing something that is funny can highlight your business's personality or help to make a complex topic more approachable. But, you don't want to push it so far that the images you select are seen as "cheesy". That can turn a smart piece of comedy into something that misses the mark. I recommend you avoid photos like these and choose ones that are more authentic.

Overlay with text and other graphics for added impact

Sites like make it really easy to add text and other graphics to your photos.

Illustrations can be better than photos of real people

Illustrations give you more opportunities to showcase a concept in a way that you may not be able to capture in a photo.

One final tip

When in doubt ask someone to review your post and the photo you'd like to use. Does it make sense to them? If not, keep refining so that your message can appeal to your target audience.

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