It is perhaps one of the thorniest issues, particularly installers. The use of images of work by installers by other installers and fabricators. It was a subject that flared up earlier online this week and caused a bit of a stir. If you were on Twitter at some point this week, you may have seen it.
The social media side of our industry is very good at promoting it’s products in a very visual way. Solidor, for example, has an army of installers who regularly post pictures of their work on Twitter and Facebook for all to see. Quite often, those images are picked up by fabricators of those products with the intention to use those images either on social media again or in printed literature.
It is there when the waters begin to muddy. How do fabricators use those images if they have been given permission to use them. Who gets the credit for them? Can other installers of that fabrication business use the collective sum of images, even though some might not be theirs? You can see why installers can get a bit firm over the use of their images at this point.
So, what to do?
One simple way to ensure that no one gets frustrated about the use of their images is to ensure that the installers is always credited.
For example, John Fredericks do a good job on social media when promoting the products and projects of their installers. Every tweet with an image goes out with the installer mentioned on that tweet. It means that everyone who sees it knows who carried out that work, and the company responsible for the work also gets the well deserved credit.
I also think that it is the way to go when it comes to printed material. If fabricators and manufacturers are asking their client base for images, I think it is only right that in the printed promotional materials, there is some credit given somewhere in the brochures to those companies kind enough to donate their work for the greater good of the fabricator.
Don’t loan out images
One other thing that should be done to ensure arguments over images are limited is for fabricators to make sure they don’t allow their installers to use other installer’s images for use in their own marketing.
For example, if I saw an entrance door fitted by our installation business being used by another installer, I wouldn’t be best pleased about it. Especially if the fabricator gave that other installer the image and even more so if the owners of that image weren’t credited in the right ways.
We have to remember that installers are rightly proud of the pictures they take and post online, so if they are passed on for other installers to use by their fabricator, they are going to be annoyed.
My advice would be for fabricators to take it upon themselves to put together an organised photography schedule, under the control of their marketing departments, and take the photos themselves. And there are benefits to this. Firstly, the budgets of fabricators would allow for professional photography to be undertaken. Also, it would leave installers to focus on their jobs, rather than having to find time in their busy schedules to go back to site and take photos.
In the end, there are simple measures we can all take to make sure the misuse of images is limited. But control has to be taken by fabricators so that marketing of these images is done in the right ways.
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