Stock photography has come a long way in the last few years. Don't get us wrong, there is still a lot of it out there that will do your brand more damage than good, but on the whole it's relatively easy to find appropriate, brand-enhancing images for your collateral and online content.

When you need stock photography

You won't always have a collection of professional photos of you and your business. Stock photos are perfect for blog posts, social media content, eBooks and newsletters.

Where to find good (free) stock photography
Unsplash
Unsplash stock photos for finance brokers

Unsplash was one of the first sites to disrupt traditional stock photo offerings (like Shutterstock and iStock). Its images are amongst the most authentic, creative, and contemporary.

Pexels

Pexels stock photos for finance brokers

Pexels is another good all rounder that helps you avoid resorting to daggy stock photography. It also has an excellent collection of stock video, and an assortment of curated collections to browse.

Pixabay

Pixabay stock photos for finance brokers

You'll definitely find some treasures in Pixabay's photo library if you search for long enough. Where Pixabay really shines though, is for illustrations and vector files. Check it out for resources to use for DIY marketing collateral.

Negative Space

Negative Space stock photos for finance brokers

Negative Space is best for corporate and architecture shots. It also has a vast collection of typography images (think street signs, and retro and neon signage) and architecture.

Honourable mention to our favourite paid subscriptions

At Social Broker, we have tried and tested many stock photography sites (there are a good thirty or so that we've not even mentioned here). Sometimes the free offerings – as much as we all appreciate them – just don't have what we need, or perhaps we want to avoid using the usual suspects. Our favourite paid subscriptions are with these sites (in order from most loved to less so):

Twenty20

Twenty20 photos for mortgage and finance broker marketing

Twenty20 is our pick out of the dozens of stock photography libraries we've tried. Browse their artfully curated collections for inspiration or to create your own cohesive library of images. Subscribe through Envato for around $300/year.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock photos for mortgage and finance broker marketing

Adobe Stock is handy if you're looking for something very specific, due to their robust search and filtering functions. You'll find many 'visual pun' / metaphoric images, which is a style we feel has had its day.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock for mortgage broker photos

Shutterstock has the most rigorous search capability, including being able to specify whether an image includes people and even to filter by ethnicity (helpful for ensuring representation). Plus, it's the biggest stock photo library, so it would be remiss of us to leave it off our list.

How to choose the right photo

Avoid choosing images that look overly staged, cheesy, or scream 'I'm a stock photo!' It's one of those 'you'll know it when you see it' scenarios.

If you're using images that include people, consider whether they look like real people in 2020. Bad stock photography can look dated (usually because it was shot many years ago). Good stock photography, on the other hand, will often feature 'real' unposed people in believable settings and natural lighting.

You also need to ensure the photos you choose reflect your target audience – which we're guessing aren't all as white, straight, conventionally attractive and with an early 2000s sense of style as some of the bad stock photography out there is!

To maintain a cohesive visual identity – across everywhere you publish content – you might want to consider sourcing photos in bulk. This way, you can see how they'll all work side-by-side. So rather than searching for, and choosing just one photo, download 50 at a time to create your own library of images.

Need a hand?

We offer an image curation service. What this means is that we'll spend hours scouring premium photo libraries to find the right images that showcase your brand's values and connect with your audience. Find out more here.

Social media marketing is a bit of a misnomer. It's actually less about promotion and more about connection. We all know about the trust deficit in financial services, and in fact consumers are increasingly cynical to marketing activity across every industry.

We've mapped out five ways to build trust on social media and build your personal brand - which is really just another way of saying 'help people get to know YOU'.

1. Be real

Communicate in an authentic, human way. Your customers are loyal to you (not head office). Show them who you are and provide a sense of what it'd be like working with you. Develop a distinct and engaging voice and stick to it.

2. Be social

Have you ever been to a BBQ and complimented the host on their salad-making prowess only to be met with radio silence? Of course not. Don't forget Manners 101. This means responding to comments and interacting with other accounts.

3. Be generous

Sharing insights without asking for anything builds trust, exemplifies your service-oriented approach and of course shows off your technical expertise. People will very quickly switch off if they see you're continually asking for something.

4. Be consistent

Consistency in your messaging, tone of voice and aesthetic builds a strong brand, which conveys stability and dependability. Don't let this stop you from refining content and allowing for variation between social media channels.

5. Be part of something

No one wants to be accused of virtue signalling, however we all have a role to play in leaving the world a better place. By raising awareness of the causes that matter to you and your community, you can help drive volunteering and donations.

Instagram is the perfect platform for you to connect with a wider audience, but it can be tough figuring out what kind of content to post next. And there’s definitely an imperative to post regularly – because the last thing you want people to see when they click on your profile is crickets!

It's tempting to focus on quantity over quality content for your social media channels. We get it, how else are you expected to get people to notice you?

Now's the time to build your brand and connect with your target audience. This calls for content that's authentically YOU. It's not the time to spam the ether with sales pitches, ads that say 'Call me!' or generic, off-the-shelf updates that do nothing to connect on an emotional level.

To make sure you’re not just posting one sales pitch after another, we’ve prepared a helpful guide. Check out these five content ideas for when you’re feeling stuck on Instagram.

1. Share your expertise

Improve your audience's financial literacy by explaining the ins and outs of finance and mortgage-related concepts. Use plain language, and keep it light, fun, and relatable. Be helpful without being preachy.

2. Showcase your values

Motivational quotes serve a bigger purpose than simply bulking up your feed. Use the captions to link back to your value proposition, and showcase your values, sense of humour, personality, vibe.

3. Explain your services

Let people know what it is you do and how you've helped people just like them. This could be answering commons questions, busting myths, or sharing case studies. Focus on benefits. Stay clear of industry jargon, unless you're explaining it.

4. Amplify social proof

Share your testimonials, Brokermatch, Facebook or Google reviews. Carefully consider how to phrase your caption in a customer-centric way. It should be less: 'Look how good I am!' and more: 'I loved working with this customer!'

5. Introduce the team

Provide insight into the culture of your business by introducing your team and showing some of the behind-the-scenes. To maintain your feed's polished aesthetic, keep the casual, ad hoc photos and videos to your Instagram Stories.

1 in 3 Australians use Instagram, with 9.5M monthly users Australia-wide. It’s the social media platform that gets the most engagement and fortunately it is relatively easy to quickly build a decent-sized audience (in contrast to its sister-platform, Facebook).

There’s immense opportunity for mortgage and finance brokers to build a niche brand on Instagram. However, how can you realistically be expected to create high-quality content alongside mastering the core functions of your role? After all,  you’re in the business of finance broking, not social media marketing.

In response to unmet demand, we’ve developed Social Broker, which provides fully-customised Instagram content to enhance your brand, attract followers, and keep you top-of-mind.

However, if you’d rather go down the DIY route, read on for some practical suggestions of what to consider when crafting content for social media.

Persona

Tone is absolutely everything. It’s about striking the balance between authoritative and engaging. It’s an opportunity for you to showcase your expertise, brand values and your personality. Your audience needs assurance both that you’re competent, and that they’ll enjoy working with you. This is why generic, head office-generated content often doesn’t get the cut-through and often won't be relatable or compelling - simply because it doesn't showcase you.

We suggest defining your persona before creating your content. Write down the attributes you want your brand to personify. Is your brand ambitious, chic, intellectual / conservative, strong, stable / approachable, helpful, direct / confident, witty, playful. Your brand persona should align with the experience that customers can expect to receive from you.

Targeting

While Instagram can help you cast your net wider (than traditional word-of-mouth referrals), try avoid taking a scattergun approach. This means identifying who your target audience is. Are you seeking to connect with a certain demography, profession or buying-behaviour? Be clear on who your ideal customer profile, and then design every piece of content with them in mind.

Messaging

Your Instagram account presents an opportunity to showcase your values, highlight your expertise, educate people, stay top-of-mind and give insight into your personality – so they know what it might be like working with you.

And, to keep you Instagram feed engaging for the long-term, think about what other finance-related topics you could cover. For instance, real estate, interior design, small business/entrepreneurship, financial empowerment for women, growth mindset thinking, financial literacy. The topics you cover will depend on your target audience, and your own expertise and interests. By covering a range of topics you’ll make your account appealing to more people, and improve visibility (via hashtags).

Including a call-to-action in marketing material is something that is drilled into us at every turn. Yet, we need to remember Instagram is a social media channel – so we've got to be social, not 'salesy'. Be very purposeful with your CTAs. Not every post needs to include one, and it doesn’t always have to be a ‘Call me today on 0406 BROKER’. Consider asking questions to build engagement, or provide links to useful tools or articles.

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