Vehicle Review: This is one fully loaded, super-sized SUV.
The words you write in your status updates, the links you share, and the images you post work together to help your followers paint a picture of you.
What picture are your followers painting? A tired reprint of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or a vibrant, wholly original piece concocted from your own experiences and interactions?
With every opportunity you’re given on social media, you should always strive to be original. You want to stand out, which is why you shouldn’t steal images from Google searches.
“What? I’ve been taking images that aren’t mine and posting them on social media for years. You’re telling me I can’t do that now?”
Yes. I am. Here’s why. Visual copyright laws protect content creators from people like you and I from using their works without their permission.
Attribution helps and fair use applies in some instances, though there are certainly limits. Fair use is determined by:
1. The purpose of your use of content — whether you are sharing it for educational or commercial reasons
2. The type of work
3. The portion of content used in relation to the entire body of work
4. The value of the work and the effect your use has on it
Fair use mainly applies in instances where a business is informing versus selling. Naturally, that line can get blurry really quickly.
So, when you’re crafting social media posts, there is content that is simply off limits if you want to avoid lawsuits and heavy fines. Which I’m assuming you do!
The good news is this: Managing your social presence and producing new content on a daily or weekly basis doesn’t have to be a hassle.
But, you will have to take some extra precautions to ensure the images you post follow platform and copyright protocol.
DO: Use YOUR Photos
When creating a visual online presence, the best route is always producing your own content. You don’t have to be professional photographer to have appealing content. All you need is consistency with your OWN content.
When running a limo business, sometimes it’s difficult to create engagement with only pictures of your vehicles. That’s why it’s important you interact with your customers! If they post a photo of their time using your service, ASK them if you can use their photo on your sites! They’re going to enjoy that you took notice, and will almost always let you use them.
DON’T: Take Photos from Google or Another Website
The number one crime you can commit when building a visual presence online is using someone else’s photos or taking photos from Google. If you didn’t create the content or grabbed images from a stock photo site, then DO NOT USE THEM! I cannot stress this enough.
Every social media site has a three-strike rule, and every copyright violation against your account is a strike. Once you hit three, your account WILL be deleted and all that hard work you put into building your social media presence will have been for nothing.
So, promise me any photo you post will be your own. If it’s not, make sure you have permission from the party you’re posting from and be sure to credit them! Tag them in the photo and mention their account handle(s) in the caption.
DO: Use stock photography
It is crucial you’re posting steady, consistent content. Every day may be a struggle and that’s completely understandable, but at a minimum, you should be posting four times a week.
The best way to build your online following is to engage with them and your original content, but sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to get enough content for a week. And that’s completely understandable. That’s why using stock photos is the best way to keep your content consistent without stressing you out.
Obviously, there are both free and paid stock photo sites, and the quality will vary depending on which one you use. So, when you’re crunched for time, but still want to get content out to your followers, these will be your best bet.
It’s best to defer to original content, but these sites are convenient to lean on during busy times when you just can’t execute on your own.
DON’T: Just Post About Your Business or Service
This is where the content from your clients comes into play! When a group uses your services for a wedding, a wine tour, or anything in between, be sure to grab some photos! When you’re tagged in a photo from your clients, be sure to first ask them if you can use their photo sometime in the future, and second, credit them when you do post.
Everyone wants exposure online, so both parties benefit from you sharing a client’s experience. Your audience will see your service in action and you get the benefit of using original content! It’s a win, win!
Keep these dos and don’ts in mind as you move forward with your social media strategy. Remember, it’s always best to use your own content, but use stock photo sites when you needed to keep your audience engaged.
Now, watch your online presence skyrocket!
Related Bill Faeth LCT column: 4 BIG Essentials To Building Your Brand
Bill Faeth is the founder of Limo University (www.LimoGrowth.com), Inbound Marketing Agents (www.inboundmarketingagents.com), and 23 additional startups, including Silver Oak Transportation of Nashville, Tenn. As a successful former operator and active advocate for the industry, Bill continues to invest into educating and training operators on how to grow, manage and sustain a more profitable business. You can reach Bill at [email protected]
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