Instagram loves when you become a content creator and curator.
What do we mean by this? When you share original content in your Instagram feed along with reshared images from other accounts, it tells Instagram that you are highly active on their platform. This, in turn, boosts your engagement!
Sharing other account’s images can also help you tap into larger audiences, but you’ll want to be careful before you start resharing images. There are a few steps to make sure you are doing it in a legally protected way that prioritizes the creator and protects your reputation too.
HOW TO LEGALLY REPOST IMAGES FROM INSTAGRAM
There are basically two kinds of people on Instagram.
One uses branded hashtags and loves when brands repost their images since it usually leads to several new followers and a fun feature they are proud of.
The other doesn’t mind tagging brands in their photos when it’s relevant but don’t want them to repost their content unless there is a fee attached, or not at all.
Neither is wrong, which makes resharing photos a little confusing.
So how do we repost and share Instagram photos without getting into legal trouble?
That’s what we’ll be digging into today.
It’s important to first say that any content creator has the right to determine what they want to do with their own content. They own what’s called the copyright of their original content. That’s why the best way to legally reshare content is to take the extra step of asking for permission.
ASK FOR THE INSTAGRAM USER’S PERMISSION
When you are thinking of resharing someone else’s photo, start by asking if you can reuse their content. This acknowledges them as the original content creator and gives them the chance to decide whether or not they’d like you to use their image.
Most content creators will say yes, but there are always a few who would rather keep their photos only in use on their feed. That’s fine, but it’s better for you to figure it out in private rather than welcome in a furious storm of Instagram users who are upset with you for incorrectly using a photo that isn’t yours. It’s just not worth it!
Some bigger Instagram accounts may not have the time to get back to you, but if you see a lot of other people sharing their images with credit, you can do the same.
Asking for permission doesn’t have to feel like rocket science! Here are a few simple prompts to help you get started. You can literally copy and paste them if you’d like.
- Best Option: Share their Instagram image through a private DM – Hi [name here]! I really loved this image because [reason]. Would you mind if I reshared it on my feed with proper credit? Thanks so much!
- Comment on their Instagram photo – This is an awesome photo! I love how it [reason/personal detail]. Do you mind if I repost it to my feed with proper credit and tagging? Thanks!
There’s usually no need to email them or contact them on a different platform to ask. Most people prefer to keep the conversation on Instagram.
Also, give them a few days to respond. If you don’t hear back, it’s best to leave it be and not use the image. You wouldn’t want to reach out and then assume that it’s fine to use it when the creator didn’t give you permission. Not a good look.
Instead, search for other images or user generated content that may be a good fit with your feed. There’s always more photos to choose from!
You’ll want to ask for permission even if the person is using your branded hashtag. Take Get Found Stock, for example. We use the hashtag #getfoundhq.
If we were going to reshare any of the photos our audience members posted with the hashtag #getfoundhq, we’d first ask for permission. Just because they used our hashtag doesn’t meant they are granting us permission to repost their images.
Many companies get in hot water because of this, so protect yourself by asking first!
DON’T EDIT THE PHOTO WITHOUT ADDITIONAL PERMISSION
Even if you get permission to reshare the user’s Instagram photo, it doesn’t mean you have permission to change it to fit your feed. This can include:
- Cropping the photo
- Putting another filter on the photo
- Using the photo in a video
- Putting text over the photo
- Add a logo, symbol, or watermark
- Editing the photo in any way
Any of these edits change the content from its natural state, so you’ll want to get explicit permission from the Instagram user that you can edit the photo once they give you permission to use it.
You can also offer to send the person a copy of the edited image (like if you want to put a quote on top of the image) to make sure you get their approval. This might make it easier to get permission if they can approve it before you publish it, but also be prepared that they may say no.
WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK!
That’s the best mantra to keep in mind when you plan to curate your Instagram feed with other people’s content.
Think about what you would want someone to do if they hoped to use your image. You’d probably want them to reach out to you privately to ask if they could repost your photo.
Taking the extra step not only protects you from legal trouble but also preserves your reputation in your industry. It could even connect you with a new Instagram bestie in the making!
What questions do you have about legally resharing photos on Instagram? We’ll do our best to answer them in the comments below!