The Correct Way to Use Pictures On Your Facebook Page

using photos on facebook the right wayAre you guilty of using those “previews” of pictures from the stock photo sites on your Facebook Page? You can see an example to the right. After all, it’s easy to “save image as” and then post it. You didn’t even have to pay for it!

Stop! Before you add that picture to your Facebook photos, you need to know a few things.

You Are Stealing Artist’s Work

Yes, that’s right. Artists depend on these stock photo sites to help them distribute their work to a wider audience. Every time you use a picture that you didn’t pay for (even if it’s the preview) you are taking money away from those artists. In other words, you’re stealing.
Let’s look at it in another light. What would you do if someone came into your store and shoplifted? You’d probably call the cops, right?
Don’t be swayed by the fact that a digital download of a photo is not a “physical item”. That doesn’t matter in the least. Stealing applies to digital as well as physical products.

You’re In Violation Of The Sites Terms of Service

You might not know it, but using a preview of a picture for marketing purposes is against those stock photo sites terms of service. This time the problem is with digital rights. Artists “sell” the digital right to their work to stock photo sites in exchange for royalties and increased promotion. By using the photos without paying for them you are committing copyright infringement.


What Can Happen?

Well, other than the obvious jail time and fines, you could also lose access to your Facebook Page. If someone reports you to Facebook, they have every right to take your Page down (check out #5-Protecting Other People’s Rights). Also, if some blogger or news organization finds out, you can kiss your reputation goodbye.


I Don’t Give A Damn About My Bad Reputation

I’ve seen what happens when businesses’ failures are subject to the internet’s share buttons. Not only is it bad news for any future marketing efforts, but you could lose a lot of money and business over something that is easily fixed.


How to Fix It

Use stock photos on Facebook the right way by following these three steps.
Step 1: Delete all offending photos from your Facebook Page. Yes, you’ll lose the impact, but that could be a good thing in this case.
Step 2: Purchase or find alternate free pictures to use. I wrote a blog post recently with links to some great free photo sites.
Step 3: Thank your lucky stars that you found out about this before someone else did.
P.S. Yes, I did take a screenshot of a Facebook Page that was doing just this and I have contacted them about it. We’ll see if it makes a difference…