Just like copying text from another site online is illegal unless you have the express permission of the owner, using other people’s images on the Internet is not legal or ethical and may land you in trouble. Whether you intend using the image on Social Media, as part of your Digital Marketing strategy or on your business website, be extra sure that you own it, have permission to use it or that you took it yourself.
The Internet is a very visual environment and small business owners will want to use images to send messages to their customers. As they say? “A picture paints a thousand words.” I’ve divided the images found online into three main categories.
Pictures You’ve Taken Yourself
You are free to use pictures you’ve taken yourself as you please in your online marketing. If you want to use images of people however, be mindful of whether or not your subjects will want to appear online. This is more especiallydrishane true of children. If your business is in any way associated with kids, be ultra careful about this. I’ve used a photo that I took myself to demonstrate this section. It’s one of the entrance to Drishane Castle in Millstreet, just after they upgraded it earlier this year. Photos you’ve paid for can also fall into this category such as my image on the About Page taken by IC Photo Studio, Killarney. If your business has had any professional photos taken, such as staff headshots or a picture of the shop front, you are free to use these online.
Images You’ve Created
A good example of this is the one I used at the bottom of this page about Twitter for Business. I created this on Canva, the free online design tool. This type of image is useful as part of you digital marketing and social media, as it tells the reader what exactly the article is about very visually and entices them to click the link. Similarly, I created the image at the top of this page on Canva also, but this time I paid just $1 for the background image. The creation of this image took just a few minutes. I found an eye-catching image on Canva using ‘paint’ in the search, then put the text in front of it, in an appropriate font and colour and hey presto, it’s done! As I have paid for the image of the couple, from the Canva stock library, I’m free to use it in this and other online work.
Small Business – OpenIf your business is signed up to an image photo service such as iStock Photo or one of the other stock image services, you will be freely able to use the images you buy. The image of the small business owner here is taken from iStock Photo. There is an expense attached here, which you will want to minimise. There are some free photo services online too, which you could consider.
You’ll probably use a mixture of these methods for your Digital Marketing, but whichever you use, be sure you have permission and that you give credit if required.