If you want your social media profiles to stand out, represent your brand in the best light, and attract new followers, it needs to look great. High-quality, royalty-free images for social media are an essential requirement to a successful social strategy.
Fortunately, there are various resources available to discover new creative images and photos to use in your social media marketing efforts – without the worry of staying on the good side of copyright.
You can get started with all of these resources for free, so if you’re ready to start creating engaging content for your Instagram or Facebook profiles – without spending a dollar – this guide is for you. We’ll look at ways you can quickly find royalty-free images, create professional designs, harness the power of user-generated content, and more.
Let’s jump straight in.
Use Metigy’s royalty-free image database
The first way to find creative images to post to your Instagram profile is using Metigy’s content library.
You can access our creative asset library from your Metigy dashboard, which gives you access to some of the best image libraries around, like Unsplash — without having to leave Metigy.
Once you’ve chosen your images, you can write engaging captions, find trending hashtags, and share them directly to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Once your posts are published, you can see insights on what content your audience engages with most to help you guide future creative choices.
A key benefit to using Metigy is that you don’t just get access to stellar creatives — you get access to a whole suite of Instagram publishing tools that let you create, schedule, and analyze your posts with ease.
Stock photo sites like Unsplash and Pexels
If you only need high-quality images, you can use royalty-free stock photo sites such as Unsplash and Pexels.
There are various other similar sites out there, but these two generally have the best quality photos. You can download the images for free and use them for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
Unsplash and Pexels work on a keyword basis — you can search for terms like food or celebrating. Then, photos that are relevant to your search will appear.
You can also browse by category, making it simple to find photos that relate to your business and industry.
The major downside of stock photo sites is that over time, all of the images on there get used by brands, and your audience will realize that you’re not behind the creatives.
That said, it’s still an affordable way to access professional photos if you don’t have a large budget for your Instagram marketing.
Share UGC from your customers and followers
Instead of searching the web for hours looking for the perfect picture, take advantage of the user-generated content that your customers are already creating.
For example, footwear and clothing brand Allbirds repost pictures that their audience takes wearing their clothes. As you can see, they give credit to the original creator.
The team at Allbirds doesn’t need to create any original content. They just need to create great products that their audience wants to share with their friends and followers. Then Allbirds can re-post the best photos that match their brand.
This doesn’t just work for product businesses, either. If you run a local business, ask your customers to take photos when they’re at your store or location. You can then repost them, giving credit to the original photographer.
UGC has a bonus – 79% of people say that UGC influences the brands they buy from. It’s the perfect way to discover and publish creatives that look great on your Instagram feed and generate more trust with your followers than a regular stock image would.
If you’re going this route, we’d recommend sending a message to anyone whose image you wish to use. Most will be glad for you to use their photos, but some won’t be. Asking for permission is a simple way not to get on the bad side and ruin your relationship with a happy customer.
Now, it’s time to publish your royalty-free images on social
Having engaging creative is one thing. Taking action and publishing on a regular schedule is another challenge altogether.
To make sure you hit your Instagram growth goals, create a content calendar and stick to a regular publishing schedule.
Invest in multiple types of content, from regular posts, to Stories, to Reels. You’ll quickly learn what type of content your audience engages with, and the most effective ways to grow.
With time and patience, you’ll hit your targets.