How using Stock Photos On Instagram Can Drive Store Traffic
A picture may generally be worth a thousand words -- but can they be worth hundreds of store visits? And in this age of social media authenticity, can old-fashioned stock photos be worth anything? Tyler Walch makes his case
It’s recommended to post on Instagram between one and three times a day to maximize engagement and reach. That’s a lot of high-quality original photography.
Many businesses, who realize the incredible benefits of growing their brand on this platform, don’t have the time or the budget to conjure up that level of creative imagery.
Thankfully, stock photo websites provide an effortless opportunity to post fantastic filler content on social media.
If done correctly, this can help business keep momentum with their social media marketing without ruining the overall quality of their account.
Below, we suggest some tips to ensure the best use of stock photos on Instagram – and how this can boost traffic to your retail store.
What Photos to Choose
It’s generally recommended to maintain a consistent aesthetic throughout your Instagram photos. This helps you create an attractive profile, grow brand awareness and build a bigger following.
Images from a cheesy low-quality stock photo website are likely to ruin your aesthetic and stand out like a sore thumb.
Thankfully, there are some websites that specialize in issuing high-quality lifestyle stock images taken by professional photographers.
These images are less likely to look out of place within the context of your profile, especially if you add filters or typography that are on point with your overall brand. Ideally, you choose images that aren’t already heavily filtered, as this will make it easier to add your own aesthetic.
If you’re not an expert photographer and don’t have the budget to employ one, it’s likely that these websites will be able to provide more eye-catching images than you can create yourself.
This should go without saying, but please ensure you only post images that you own the rights to. Instagram’s terms and conditions state that you are solely responsible for all content you post. Essentially, this means while it’s not violating their rules to break copyright, you can get still get in legal trouble if you’re caught.
There’s plenty of free stock photo websites, which grant you royalty-free rights for commercial use of images without having to credit the photographer, so there really is no excuse to post stock photos you don’t own the rights to.
Driving In-Store Customers with Stock Photos
High-quality stock photos will make it easier for you to post more often, but how can you turn this into additional traffic for your brick-and-mortar store?
Geo-tagging your post is a great start, even if it is based on a stock photo. Not only has it been shown that geotagged posts increase engagement by 79%, but it also allows users to discover the exact location of the store.
Users need only click on the name of the location to access a map, which they can zoom in and out on, if necessary. Clicking this link will also allow them to see all of the other photos that have been tagged at your location.
Adding typography over the top of a geotagged stock image is a great way to advertise an in-store offer. There are plenty of simple image editing apps that allow even the biggest technophobes to do this.
Many businesses are incentivizing their existing in-store customers to spread word of their brand on Instagram. For example, many bars offer customers a free shot if they share a photo of themselves inside the location.
Retailers could follow their lead by offering a small freebie or a discount on their next purchase. Make sure the incentive is good enough to encourage a share, but not the campaign ends up costing you a fortune.
You can use these techniques to promote an online offer if you prefer. Many businesses promote blog posts on Instagram using stock photos with the article title placed on top of it, for example.
Bear in mind that URLs posted in image captions won’t turn into hyperlinks, so you’re better off making use of the link you’re given within your bio, and directing people there with a call to action in your image caption.
Instagram business accounts now have the ability to drive people to a URL from their Stories, so it’s worth adding promotional stock images there as well.
How Often to Post Stock Photos
The key to getting away with using stock photos on your Instagram account without ruining your account’s aesthetic is to use them sparingly. Perhaps pepper in a stock photo once every four or five images at the most.
Unique imagery should make up the majority of your content, as that’s what’s this platform is about.
However, with a good choice of stock photo provider, it is possible to add even more quality to your account without the effort of shooting high-quality photos every day.
*Tyler Walch is a Product Growth Hacker and is a huge fan of everything media. He’s your guy for everything from geeking out on marketing tactics, to trading photography tips, sharing your latest new music finds and chatting about Netflix’s latest original series.