In the past week the social media marketing world has been set alight with the release of a brand new piece of software called Instamate. In simple terms Instamate is very similar to Sociocaster, it is a cloud based web application that:

  • Enables Rapid Viral Content Discovery
  • Enables Automated Schedule Posting
  • Allows A Months Worth Of Traffic To Be Scheduled In Minutes

Whilst Sociocaster is designed to be used with:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • WordPress

As the name suggests Instamate was created to be used with Instagram. Instamate is the perfect companion for Sociocaster as it allows us to tap into an amazingly engaged and targeted source of traffic which we can then direct to our Facebook Fanpages, Twitter Streams, Linkedin or WordPress Blogs.

I picked up Instamate Luxury Edition last week and I am pretty excited to integrate into an overall digital marketing strategy that I am working on and will documenting and using as a case study for this blog.

As soon as I signed up for Instamate, I immediately joined their VIP Facebook group. Facebook groups are great as you can really find out what people within that niche (In this case social media marketing) want to learn, the problems they are facing and the things they are worried about.

As soon as I was accepted into the group by the admins – I quickly introduced myself and explained that I am Sociocaster brand ambassador – I was quickly greeted by a few other group members. When I joined, the group had reached about 2000 members and as I am writing this it has reached nearly 4000 members! At present the group is absolutely buzzing with energy and is full of people ready to devour any information they think will aid them on their quest to be successful Instagram marketers.

insagroup

I have been speaking and writing about context in social media marketing a lot recently and on Sunday whilst I was browsing through the group – I had a light-bulb moment!

Posting quotes in visually stunning and inspiring backgrounds gains massive traction on all social media platforms, but on Instagram (and also Pinterest) and great way to become an authority within a niche pretty quickly.

Reposting other peoples content is fine (and I encourage this some of the time) but its hard to build authority by posting other peoples quotes (especially if they are water marked with their branding).

In late December 2015 Adi (Sociocaster Founder) asked me to create a video outlining our top ten resources for finding these amazing free images. That video was a little rough around the edges (certainly will not be winning any video production awards) but because it contained information that our target audience were hungry for became one of our most successful posts to date!

My light-bulb moment was to share this video with the Instamate group – below you can see the post that I shared with the group:

post

The response has been great – I shortened the link with bit.ly just so I could analyse how many people were actually clicking through to the video. In less than 24 hours the link has received just over 204 clicks!

bitly

I always recommend using a bit.ly or similiar link shortening platform as you have to take into account that most people are passive consumers of content. If I had not used bit.ly to track the amount of clicks It would of looked liked only 25% of the total amount of people who felt this would be useful enough to be compelled to click had clicked!

In certain niches (digital marketing being one of them) everyone is trying to fake it until they make it and do not want to let on to their peers that they have actually gained some value from other peoples posts, so if you go based on likes and comments alone – you can seriously under estimate how interested and engaged people actually are.

On the scale of things these are not huge numbers but this is absolutely the highest quality traffic as we have managed to get the Sociocaster brand in front of 200 people who are hungry and passionate to learn about social media marketing and who already understand that automated tools are an important part of being about to pull off a successful campaign having to be awake 24/7 or breaking the bank.

So back to what I was saying about context – when you produce content that provides value to a hungry and passionate audience in the right context you will generate high quality engagement.  This small case study just provides evidence that is possible to get your brand in front of a highly targeted audience for free!

This case study also serves as inspiration to create new content that I can be sure that people are going to find useful – its obvious from these statistics that there is a massive demand to find royalty free images that can be used for any purpose for free.

I am going to satisfy this demand by dedicating the second half of this blog post to giving you my top 20 sites for finding awesome free images for your social media marketing campaigns!

Types Of Copyright:

Copyright is an image that causes a great deal of confusion so before I give you the list and few words about each site I am going to attempt to briefly provide some clarification on the different kinds of copyright:

Public Domain – These are creative works whose creators have either chosen to give up all rights to the works or whose copyright has expired. Public Domain is a free for any kind of use (including commercial). However it is worth doing more research if the image contains a famous or easily recognizable person. You could not use an image of Bob Marley as his likeness is copyrighted even if the image that contains his likeness is not.

Royalty Free – This means that you pay a fee to “buy” the image once and after that your not liable to pay for any further fees or royalties again.

Free Royalty Free – In this post we are looking free royalty free images – these are our favorite kind! You never have to pay anything for them and you are free to use them any purpose you like!

Creative Commons – This means the original creator of the creative works waivers all rights to the creative work for others to freely build up and re-purpose to create their own creative work. There are two versions of this:

  1. CC0 – No Attribution Required 
  2. CC2 – You Must Provide Credit The Original Creator

12 Incredible Free Resources For Stunning Social Media Imagery

1.) PIXABAY 

On Pixabay, users can find and contribute quality images and footage films free of copyrights. For uploading files and downloading full sized images, a free registration is required. By uploading files, the contributors waive their copyright and related image rights under Creative Commons deed CC0, thus permitting free usage of their work. Consequently, anyone is allowed to use, modify and redistribute the images freely – even in commercial applications – without asking for permission and without accreditation.

PIXABAY

2.) NEW OLD STOCK

New Old Stock states  it provides vintage photos from the public archives and allows its users to recapture history by providing them with high quality images free from copyright. This is a great site for someone who is looking for vintage/retro/usual and quirky imagery.

NEW OLD STOCK

3.) UNSPLASH

Unsplash is one of my personal favorites and provides a wide array of truly stunning imagery that really lends itself to being used for social media marketing purposes.

UNSPLASH

4.) FOODIES FEED

This is the definitive destination for those of you out there looking for some mouth watering food imagery! Your free to use them for any purpose that does not include reselling them. When we say reselling, we mean as part of a product such as a PLR image collection. For social media marketing – your all good though!

FOODIES FEED

5.) DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

Death To Stock Photo is another one of my personal favorites – its a monthly image club that allows you to receive amazing high quality images for free every month! You can use the images for any purpose but but you may not claim that you are the photographer.

DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO

6.) MAGDELEINE

Magdeleine provides its visitors with one free high quality image every single day! Overall I think the quality of the images is very high and seems to excel in those rustic hipster kind of vibes. If your trying to cultivate an arts and crafts, rootsy – hipster type image this site really is one of the best out there! I think some of the images on this site are better than many of the paid sites. If this is what your are looking for – you definitely need to check this out!

MAGDELEINE

7.) PUBLIC DOMAIN ARCHIVE

Public Domain Archive is another great site and this how they describe themselves:

“We are a public domain image repository. We are a site where you come to explore and discover treasures by other great photographers. A place to find inspiration and photography that you can re-use in your creative projects. If you are expecting shutterstock, you will probably be disappointed. We aren’t trying to re-create the wheel, we are trying to create one place where you can come to be inspired to create something amazing.”

PUBLIC DOMAIN ARCHIVE

8.) GOOD FREE PHOTOS

If your looking for images of the United States, this site absolutely awesome and contains really high quality images from every single state in the USA.  Very useful and highly worth checking out, especially if your a travel blogger or marketing something Americana esque.

GOOD FREE PHOTOS

9.) PHOTOGEN

Photogen says ” Still paying for your stock photos and images? Forget royalty-free – Photogen images are totally-FREE! Download and use Photogen stock photos FREE for both commercial and personal projects. The Photogen FREE photo gallery is regularly updated with new quality, high-resolution free photos and images.

This site has a lot of images, so unfortunately you will find that some of them might not be as appealing as other sites. However if you take the time you will find the diamonds in the rough.

PHOTOGEN

10.) PICK UP IMAGE

Pickup image is the largest collections of free photographs. Free download high quality premium free stock images, public domain photos. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

The great thing about this site is the fact that you can search for what you are looking for – not all of these sites make searching possible, which can be a bit of a pain at times!  Overall the image quality is great and there are some incredible gems on this site.

PICK UP IMAGE

11.) GRATISOGRAPHY

If your looking for something a little weird, whacky or indeed wonderful – Gratisography has got you covered!  A lot of the images have been manipulated and are works of art within themselves. There are a lot of strange characters of objects of interest that could definitely be used to create a talking point and encourage conversations!

GRATISOGRAPHY

12.) LIFE OF PIX

We are ending on another excellent site – Life of Pix. The images are all of a really great quality and highly useable for a variety of applications. The added bonus here is that this site also provides you a range of extremely high quality video clips as well! This little known site is definitely one of the best out there – make sure you check it out.

I hope you have enjoyed this post – I certainly enjoyed writing it! I feel its a little different from the kind of thing we have covered so far. I definitely think that its great to be able to cover some factual case studies to back up the things we talk about – these small victories are great learning processes for us all.

As I mentioned earlier I am working on a brand new marketing strategy that is going to be using Sociocaster, Instamate and a few others. I am looking forward to sharing my progress with you all – so stay tuned as I will be lauching that in weeks to come! In the meantime I will be back on Wednesday with another blog!

Have A Great Week & Thanks Four Your Awesome And Continued Support!

Gary

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