When in doubt, no.
You wouldn’t pull a photo off National Geographic’s Website to promote your own business. But what about an image you find on Flickr, Instagram or Pinterest? The answer is still no…with some exceptions. And yet it’s easy to assume that freely shared images online are yours for the taking.
If you are using images pulled from the Internet without attribution or permission, there are two good reasons to stop the practice.
Violating a creator’s rights, no matter who they are, is bad business. Flipping that around, providing an attribution and possibly a link (source, creator’s name, image title) demonstrates your generosity and respect for a creator’s work. And you’ll help educate others on proper image use.
You don’t want to damage your reputation if the author of the image stumbles upon your Instagram feed. They might simply ask you to remove the image, or worse.
Have you let your website languish, turning to Facebook instead as your de facto website? As an art and craft supporter and practicing artist myself, I often seek out artists and makers of all kinds. Perhaps I stumbled onto an image on Pinterest. I want to learn more about the artist, see what events they participate in and view new work.
More often than not, I find a website that hasn’t been updated in ages making me believe the artist is no longer active until I discover a Facebook page with recent updates. Very often, there’s no website, only a Facebook page.
It’s easy to understand why people default to Facebook for their content. It’s easy to use, especially if you couple that with a website that is sorely out of date and/or difficult to update. I still come across people who have to pay someone to make updates, and often wait a long time to do so. That is a thing of the past. No one, least of all a small business, can afford to be hamstrung like that. The world moves too fast. (See this earlier post on developing a new website with today’s tools.)
About pages are the most frequently visited page of a website. A good bio or about page can humanize you and your product or service. It’s where you can forge connections by blending your story, values and interests into a compelling narrative. Why then do so many one-person businesses talk about themselves in the… Read more