Social Media at Getty Images

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This is a guest post from Toby Hopkins, Senior Account Manager at Getty Images (sponsor of next month’s BookMachine London).

“Does Getty Images have a social media strategy?” Sam Missingham asked me after one of her tour de force appearances at BookMachine or a similar event.   Myself being new to Getty Images at the time, I couldn’t answer. So I talked to a woman who could. Jen Stanley, based in London, is a member of the global Getty Images social media team.

“With our social media we want to move the world with pictures, to engage, to promote conversation, to inform, to promote our photographers’ incredible work and show how these shots are captured,” Jen told me. “Everyone wants immediate access to information at the touch of a button so it’s important for us as the global leader in visual communication to provide people with the power of images to tell their story.”

As Jen walked me through just some of the content the team has been working on, I got a sense of the number of stories that Getty Images has to share every day. Perhaps the best place for an overview, is our Tumblr hub, where there’s something for everyone: behind-the-lens photographer profiles, street style fashion from around the world, creative visual trends, world news, and more.

The team has seen great success cultivating these new audiences, giving them access to world events and going behind-the lens with our photographers – The @GettyFashion account on Instagram was named one to follow during New York Fashion Week – and during the World Cup in Brazil, the @GettySport Twitter account captured fans’ imaginations, growing more than one million followers.

It’s also about inspiring others. “Sensory: BBC Wildlife Director John Downer & the technology of ‘spy-cam’ filmmaking”  is an example of the team’s work showcasing visual trends in storytelling and unique tech advancements – and was recognised as a Staff Pick by Vimeo.

Knowing that Jen had spent ten years working as a picture editor in traditional media, before moving into her current role, I asked her what is different about social media.   “We really are looking for that one image which tells a story,” she says. “Sometimes, especially in the news agenda it’s a tough story and it’s important to get this message out there.”

“The other part of what we do is promoting engaging content people will want to share. We have a wealth of powerful visual creators working for us – a wealth of great photography and stories. For example Peter MacDiarmid created some incredible composites matching up recent photos with archival stills for the WW1 centenary this year.”

And for book publishers using social media? “The principles are the same,” says Jen. “Know your audience. Tell engaging stories. Use great pictures.”

Jonathan Klein, Getty Images Co-founder and CEO says it this way: “Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language.” Often book publishing is about words, but pictures lead people into the written word, and, as illustrated book publishers have known for many years, there is a special magic when pictures and words are combined.

When I asked Jen about what comes next, she talked about empowering others to tell their stories. Getty Images has opened up its archive for bloggers to embed and share imagery for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media channels – “For us,” Jen concludes, “it’s part of enabling a more visually rich world.”

If you’d like to find out more about how Getty Image work with book publishers, join us at BookMachine London on 6th November. Rebecca Swift, Director of Creative Planning (iStock) will share some insights.


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