7 uncommon ways to use your photos online for your business [blog post]

What do you do with all your photos?

If you’re anything like me, I bet you have thousands of photos on your computer, cell phone, tablet, in Dropbox, or in your Facebook albums. But what can you do with your photos that might be useful for your business…you know, show a little more of your personality?

Photos of you can run the gamut: from fun photos like selfies, scenery, holiday snaps, and your friends and family, to business photos at events, conferences, trade shows, or speaking on stage, or to professional headshots and lifestyle images taken specifically to represent your brand.

Why not put some of those pictures of you to good use in creating a memorable image online that shares what the real you is really like?

As online marketing evolves, being authentic, sharing what matters to you, your values, your success stories and your challenges, behind the scenes of your life and your business – they all help to connect you on a deeper level to those people looking to do business with someone exactly like you. It makes you more relatable than some internet marketing cheeseball who we can see is all about making the next product so he can fill his bank account.

Besides that, you don’t need to worry about copyright infringement if you’re using your own photos. So not only does it set you up as a thought leader and online celebrity in your niche, but using photos that you take or of you in the spotlight means that they are unique to you. And we all want to be unique and stand out online.

If you are updating your website, DIYing it, or starting from scratch with a professionally-designed website, then investing in hiring a professional photographer for a special business photo shoot is going to give you a collection of amazing photos that will make you stand out online.

I suggest that when you are ready to update your photos, you have some poses and styles in mind (search Pinterest or other websites and blogs you admire), so you walk away with high-quality images that can be used in various ways. That way you have a consistent brand identity across your website, social media, blog, newsletter, webinars, sales pages, and other places online.

So instead of keeping those fabulous, fun or quirky photos of you tucked away where nobody can see them, let’s dive into some places online that you could use (and reuse) your photos.

 

1. Your website

There are so many places that you can use photos of you on your website. This is especially useful if you represent your brand, such as a consulting or coaching business, blogger, speaker, or YouTube celebrity.

  • Website headers (hero images)
  • About Me page
  • Contact page
  • Services page
  • Blog post images
  • Graphics/buttons

Often images on web pages are combined with text such as a catch-phrase or job title, or they might have a text overlay with a button that makes the web page more clear. It’s a perfect way to lead into a marketing funnel or encourage the website visitor (aka potential client) to take a specific action such as “contact me today to schedule your discovery call”.

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You can even show your personality with a little flare by adding graphic elements that fit with your brand image, like the watercolour paint splashes on the JLT Image Consulting website where the photos I shot of Jennifer were embellished and adapted by her web designer to create customized, very recognizable photos.

If these types of branded images are carried through in other marketing graphics such as social media posts, newsletter header image, and sales pages, then it helps to solidify your brand identity and make it easy to spot your photos as people scroll through their newsfeed.

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2. Speaker’s Page

If you do public speaking, keynotes, workshops or presentations, the first step is to have a specific page on your website that  announces to people that they can hire you as a speaker.

Photos of you running a workshop, doing a presentation or keynote, or in sitting amongst a panel of experts, can all demonstrate the type of speaking work you wish to be hired for.

Don’t forget to include the topics you speak about, a list of past speaking gigs, well-known events you’ve spoken at, and even a brief outline of your most popular speeches, presentations, workshops or breakout sessions. It makes it easier for event planners to identify if you are a good fit for their own event, conference or panel.

 

3. Speaker’s One-Sheets

The next step is to create a Speaker’s One-Sheet (ironically, it often has 2 pages) and make it available as a pdf to download on your website, or to email along with a speaking proposal or application.

The one-sheet is a summary of your skills, testimonials, speaking topics, bio and contact details, and typically features various images of you speaking. The design should showcase your personality and your brand.

The example below is the one-sheet from Brenda Lainof’s speaker’s page. Brenda’s photos were taken at the Centre Stage Live event where she did her presentation live in front of an audience. Speakers also had their one-sheets created for them as part of the Centre Stage program.

 

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Many conference and event organizers hire professional photographers to document the event. Depending on the agreement, speakers might be provided with the images to use themselves for self-promotion, so it’s worth inquiring or contacting the photographer directly.

With many events encouraging real-time posting and sharing on social media, you’ll often find some high-quality images take by event attendees. Look for a Facebook group dedicated to the event, and keep an eye out for photos posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If the event has a specific hashtag, it’s easy to search those social networks and find not only the tweetables and a-ha moments, but any images that have been posted too.

Most people would be flattered if you asked to use their photo of you speaking on stage, and you can easily retweet or share the image to your own newsfeed and followers.

You could also ask permission to make changes to the photos, and add relevant text or graphics that you could use as your website header photo or on your Facebook cover photo for instance. (More on that in the Social Media Graphics section below.)

 

4. Contests, Giveaways and Promotional Campaigns

A great way to promote an event, product launch or a new business is to run a contest or giveaway. This tactic can also be part of an overall marketing strategy such a list-building campaign or sales funnel, and you’ll need a variety of images for your contest assets.

You can run a simple contest with an easy to win prize (such as a gift card or book), which can promote awareness of your brand or feature a new product or service. This can easily be done using a free app such as Rafflecopter or Gleam.

Or you can set up an entire promotional campaign which typically includes:

  • a landing page where participants can sign up to get freebies or a chance to win in exchange for their email address (Leadpages or Clickfunnels are good resources for creating optin pages)
  • a thank you page (telling them what to expect next or how to download their free gift)
  • the final web page where they free gifts live
  • promotional branded graphics to market the contest on social media and via emails/newsletters
  • Facebook ads to help get the giveaway seen by more people

An example of a promotional giveaway campaign is one that I created for the Shine Live event use images of the event host as a feature, since she is a well-known speaker and celebrity in the online world, as well as photos of the speakers who were donating valuable prizes for the giveaway.

 

Social media graphics for the Shine Giveaway – the colour scheme, fonts, and water colour feel of the brand is carried through from the sales page to all the social media graphics and the giveaway page, making the brand easily identifiable.

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Landing page header photo for the Shine Giveaway

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5. Social Media Graphics

There are endless opportunities to use your on images or photo of you on all your social media channels. Don’t just use professional photos, but share some of your personality and fun, especially in places like Facebook and Instagram. These work well as status updates/posts, and also for cover photos on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Adding text, your logo, or a call to action can be extremely effective if you also add a website link in the description. These can lead to your website,  your services page, or a landing page with your valuable freebie (lead magnet) to help grow your email list.

Shareable social media graphics can be used as part of a sales funnel or marketing campaign such as the giveaway described above, or for standalone images as status updates or cover photos, such as the examples below.

Facebook cover photos

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If there are several people in a group shot, or if you have taken photos of others at an event or conference, you can share those images and tag the person, helping them to get seen in front of your audience, and create buzz about the event. If possible, use the event’s unique hashtag when sharing images on your social networks.

One of my favourite iPhone apps is WordSwag. When I attend conferences or other events, I often make note of a few key phrases that the speaker uses, and add them to a photo of them using WordSwag. I then share the images to my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter profiles and use hashtags relating to the topic as well as the specific event hashtag.

Since part of my work is as a photographer and social media strategist, this means my images stand out when seen in a newsfeed full of plain-text tweets or standard photos. I’ve been had my photos shared in post-event newsletters and on sales pages, and it’s helped me to get hired to work behind-the-scenes at several conferences.

Creating images that stand out in some way has made my photos (and me) more memorable, and it’s given the speakers or event attendees some nice photos that they can use. And when shared on social media, it helps us all by having those images seen by each person’s followers. It’s a win-win situation!

 

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6. Photo Collections and Aggregators

If you are snap-happy yourself, you can collect your photos in one place, such as a Facebook album, that you can then embed on your website. Then benefit of this method is that people can like a page, or comment and like specific photos without ever leaving the web page or blog post.

An option for collecting photos from different users or contributors is to use an aggregator such as Tagboard that collects all the photos with a posted to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using a specific hashtag. You can do the same with your Instagram feed or Pinterest boards on specific topics.

These are a great way to showcase numerous photos together from an event, and use strategically on blog posts or sales pages. Some of these tools, such as Tweet Binder (formerly Lumicatch) can use their stats to analyze the most popular content shared, or find active users with large social media followings to recruit as “brand ambassadors” for the next event.

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For instance if you search for the hashtag #ShineLiveKelowna in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you’ll find hundreds of status updates, photos, videos and photo-quotes that attendees shared about the event.

You can also find free or paid plugins or widgets that will display a collection of photos, videos and text posts. The screenshot below is of the #ShineLiveKelowna Tagboard. For a fee, the live-feed widget could be added to a web page or blog post, which would be perfect for an event organizer. You can also do something similar for free by embedding a Facebook album, a Twitter feed or Pinterest board.

 

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7. Slideshare, Presentations and Webinar Slide decks

Whether you are presenting a live, in-person speech or workshop, or sharing your expertise online as a webinar, you’ll definitely need to create a strong set of PowerPoint slides that visually grab people’s attention and look and feel recognizable as your brand. If YOU represent your brand, especially if you are uplevelling yourself as a thought-leader or change-maker, then using professional photos of you in your slide deck is a good way to help you be seen as an influencer and expert in your industry.

The obvious place to start is with an introduction at the beginning of your speech or webinar. By sharing not only a business-style headshot of you but some images from your past as you went through your entrepreneurial journey is a good way to break the ice and introduce yourself to people in the audience who might not know you.

But don’t stop there! You can hire a graphic designer or VA to create a set of powerful, eye-catching slides with photos of you, interspersed between text slides, to subtly encourage viewers to see you as a thought leader.

Some influencers using their own photos in webinars and presentation slides are Tony Robbins, Amy Porterfield, Marie Forleo, David Siteman Garland.

Here are some example slides from the presentation slide deck at the Shine Live event. The speakers were given a choice of two simple, colourful, branded background slides, but for the event host Chantelle Adams I created some feature slides using her own professional photos that she’d had taken, and to keep the branded look consistent I used graphic elements from her website and sales page. This whole theme was continued throughout the promotional launch including the Shine Giveaway, Facebook ads, social media graphics, and newsletter header for the Shine Live campaign.

(In an upcoming blog post I’ll be sharing my step-by-step process and favourite design tools so you can easily do this too).

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You’ll also see slide decks that other people have created with online celebrities (a clever marketing tactic to draw on their recognizability and search popularity) such as these ones in SlideshareWhat Would Steve Do (with Steve Jobs) and Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint (with Seth Godin).  They are fun, creative, and best of all, they feature captivating images instead of slide after slide of boring text.


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Key Takeaways To Using Your Own Photos Strategically Online:

  • Review the list of places to use your photos online and pick two or three that you can update with your own graphics and photos this week.
  • Be strategic when taking photos – think of how you can use them as more than just memorable snapshots.
  • Celebrities and influencers post photos, tips and memorable catch phrases – be a thought-leader yourself and create photo-quotes with your own photos and tweetable sayings.
  • If you see a good photo of you that was shared on someone’s social network, contact them to see if you can use the photo on your website, speaker’s page, or add text or a call-to-action to use as a Facebook cover photo or status update.
  • Don’t be afraid to use quirky or entertaining photos of you – being authentic, sharing your fun side, and simply being real will help make you more engaging and relatable to your followers.

 

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Your turn!

Where can you use photos of you, or pictures you’ve taken, to help create a memorable brand online?

 

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