Some Stock Image Mistakes that Small Business Owners Should Avoid

by / Wednesday, 25 June 2014 / Published in Small Business Marketing


Here's an example of a random stock image

Here’s an example of a random stock image


While creating content, one naturally has to deal with stock images. This can actually be pretty entertaining since there are stock images out there that hit every aspect of human (an non-human) behavior. Looking at random stock images is actually so entertaining that it has become something of an internet sensation, with blog profiles dedicated to finding the strangest and showcasing them for laughs. That said, unless your business is in the market for comedy, picking a silly or outright bizarre image to represent your business is not really in your best interest. On a more practical level, picking images can be made tougher purely from a design standpoint if you are going to be using them where they must blend in with a color scheme or serve as a background for text. While there are a few questions raised when trying to choose a representative image, the benefit of including visual elements in your content is well worth the time and thought.

What are you trying to say with your stock image, and who is your audience? Sometimes images seem disconnected from the subject of a landing page or post, and the reason is that the image was picked on a whim without any thought put in to how another person would perceive it. Avoiding this pitfall is simple; try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. If you are having a hard time deciding yourself what kind of stock image to use, ask someone whose reason you trust to help you decide. A good test to see if your stock image choice makes sense is if another person can guess what the meaning of it is without the benefit of the written content that would go with it. If people “get it” just by looking at it, then you can be pretty sure that it will not be able to be misconstrued.

Your stock image should match the tone of your message. Sometimes a stock image makes sense logically, but seems contextually out of place when dropped into the middle of your website. Before choosing a set of images, it is a good idea to evaluate the theme and tone of your business’s message in order to keep things consistent. Your tone should be one that is appropriate to and resonates with your target demographic. Ultimately, how you approach all of your marketing, including content creation, should be informed by both your historical data and market research.

Avoid vulgar images or images that have the capacity to be misconstrued. Unless it is your express intention to create a little controversy, it is a good idea to steer clear of images that are intentionally or unintentionally provocative. It’s already tough to manage a business’s digital reputation, so there is no need for you to make it harder on yourself by creating reasons for people to get upset. If you have any doubts as to whether or not a stock image is appropriate, you should probably just scrap it and find a new one. There are plenty of stock images out there and it’s just not worth putting up something with any potential for conflict.

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