Using Stock Photos


If you use photos you find on the Internet in your social media posts, make doubly sure that you have permission to do so! If you do not, you could receive a bill in the mail for royalties, and that bill could be for thousands of dollars. That is a mistake that lots of people have made, and it can really sting! So just be careful.

However, there are some sites that are a repository of royalty free images. What you are looking for are images that are listed as (1) free for commercial use, and preferably (2) no attribution required. The ‘no attribution’ part just means that you don’t have to give them credit for using the image in a social media post.

There is a large number of sites to peruse for images. Below are a few:




Note that some of these sites also sell images, so if you’re looking for free ones, be sure you search the free sections.

Social Media Engagement

Is your business active on social media? If it isn’t, it should be. But that’s for a different discussion. For those of you who are active, what activities to you undertake in social media?

It’s important to understand that social media in a business context is more than just a tool for advertising. Advertising is one-way communication. You send out a message in some form, you hope people see it and ultimately act upon it in some way.

However, social media is very much a two way communication tool. It is super easy to gather insights on what people are saying about you, and it provides you a platform to respond to comments.

So, if you are using social media solely as an advertising platform, you are doing it wrong. There are a number of activities you should undertake as part of your social media strategy that will help generate awareness, followers, and business.

  1. Listen. Feedback from consumers is invaluable. Before social media, it was hard to hear what was being said about you. But not so much anymore! You should continually scan social media for any mentions to your business, good, bad, or neutral. That feedback could help you improve your operations, marketing, etc.

  2. Respond. We as humans like interaction. This is no different in the social media space. When you see comments about your business, respond to them. Customers like to know that they are being heard. If someone makes a positive comment, thank them. If someone makes a negative comment, apologize for whatever the problem is, and work with them to try to fix the situation. However, if the negative comment is absolutely incorrect, don’t be afraid to defend yourself….politely.

  3. Entertain. This one is a little weird, but let me explain. Some of the most popular business social media accounts out there belong to companies who bring it upon themselves to go beyond straight up trying to promote their products. They crack jokes, make random references, and respond in a humorous way to consumer or competitor social media posts. For a good example of this, check out the Twitter account of Wendy’s. The attention that Wendy’s attracts for its quirkiness is great for business.

This all sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. You’ll need to designate someone to be in charge of your accounts. You’ll also need to specify a plan of action, e.g. how often to check the accounts, when to respond, how to respond, etc. If you can figure out how to work this into your day to day operations, it’ll improve your presence in the social media world and likely help your bottom line.

Answering Negative Comments Online

Social media is a beautiful thing. It allows you to get closer to your customers and get instant feedback. This provides companies with lots of really good feedback, both good and bad. However, the question is….what do you do with the negative comments found on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, etc.? This is a big question.

You basically have three options:

  1. Do nothing. This is the easiest alternative. You can choose to ignore the comments. However, this is not a good idea. Ignoring the comments don’t make them go away, nor do they fix a potential problem. The complainer may cut off patronage and continue to say bad things about you.

  2. Apologize. You can say you’re sorry for what happened. Thank them for their feedback and promise to prevent the problems from happening again. This resonates with customers. They like to know that you are listening and care about their customers. With this alternative, you could also provide some sort of reparations as well, e.g. refund, coupon, etc., but you don’t necessarily have to.

  3. Refute. Finally, you can refute the negative comments. Maybe the customer did something wrong or had unrealistic expectations. In these cases, defend yourself. The mantra ‘the customer is always right’ is wrong. Customers shouldn’t necessarily be able to get whatever they want, whenever they want, especially when they are being unreasonable. In fact, some chronic complainers use online complaining as a form of blackmail, expecting you to apologize, give them their money back, etc. If you use this option, be sure to be tactful, thanking them for their feedback before refuting their claims. Other customers who see this course of action might be impressed that you didn’t simply lay down for unreasonable customers.

Being able to effectively respond to online complaining should be a crucial part of any company’s promotional strategy. Need help with this? Feel free to contact me.