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How Stocksy’s fixing stock media

Founded in 2013 as an artist-owned cooperative, Stocksy is a royalty-free stock media company based in Victoria, Canada committed to ethically and sustainably paying creators for their work.

a woman wearing a fur coat and sunglasses.
  • 596%
    increase in reach in less than one year
  • 602%
    increase in total mentions in less than one year
  • 14%
    year-over-year organic growth

A smart social marketing strategy helps the company deliver on its progressive vision, build deeper relationships with clients and artists, and drive business growth

You know it, we know it: Most stock photos suck. But they don’t have to.

Celebrating a decade as a disruptor in the stock media industry, Stocksy is a stock media company with a difference. As a progressive artist-owned company, it’s collaborative and inclusive, with its strategies and innovation efforts guided by a commitment to demonstrating its values and benefiting its artists (who receive 50%–70% of its license fees). 

The company is dedicated to raising the bar on customer expectations, with a focus on correcting for biases and underrepresented perspectives by seeking out media that depict a diversity of skin tones, ages, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, and body sizes. It’s also committed to building meaningful dialogue with its clients (enterprise marketers, creators, designers) and artists (photographers, videographers, illustrators), as well as extending its reach and becoming more visible in the market. 

Plus, Stocksy is really, really picky about who they’ll work with. After ten years in business, their contributor list still features just 1900 collaborators out of countless applications. And it shows: unlike other sites with all those Powerpointy leaning-in-to-peer-at-a-laptop pics, Stocksy’s collections are creative, richly diverse, and just gorgeous.

With a new marketing strategy looking to tap into the power of social media, Stocksy looked for a technology partner with values and a reputation that would complement its own—and Hootsuite was the obvious choice.

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Putting on headphones before picking up megaphones

After getting set up with Hootsuite, Minshull and the team moved forward with an approach she calls “headphones before megaphones”—beginning from a place of listening to customers and artists and exploring the social media ecosystem.  

“The challenge was tapping into our audiences’ and our clients’ pain points,” Minshull explains. “How do we tap into the dialogues that are happening in the social ecosystems on a variety of different platforms? We're taking the approach of putting down that megaphone, putting on the headphones, and listening to our audience. And Hootsuite has helped us with that.”

Even with less than a year’s worth of data from the platform, Stocksy is already using that data to refine the content it creates and the conversations it’s having with its audiences. The strategy has led Stocksy to focus less on creating content about its own business, instead turning up the volume of conversations and engagement around topics including diversity, equity, artists, and the usability of art.

Digging deeper into the creative process to build engagement through authenticity

Stocksy’s company blog and social media channels dive deep into the diversity of the people and subjects present in stock imagery, and of the people who create this imagery. It’s a loud voice among those calling for a more equal, varied, and meaningful representation of subjects to reflect the global audiences it serves. 

Since rolling out its new content strategy with Hootsuite, Stocksy has put more focus than ever on its artists. Minshull has seen newer artists getting more engaged, and attributes this change to the way Hootsuite made it easier to welcome them, give them visibility, and make them more involved in the new marketing strategy.

“We used to just share the product catalog,” Minshull explains. “Now, we're sharing the behind-the-scenes content. We're sharing that real, authentic user-generated content to give a glimpse into our artists’ lives. And that, I think, has really translated well in terms of our audiences. They want to see our illustrators, photographers and videographers, and their processes and thoughts behind certain pieces.”

Using real-time insights to fuel business growth

“Hootsuite allows us to be really nimble in how we approach our marketing in real time,” says Minshull. “We set up alerts in our Insights tool. We also set up weekly reports so we can make realistic decisions on where to pivot, where to allocate more resources, or where to ante up our existing strategies.”

Stocksy tracks content using tagging and campaign tagging, and relies on Hootsuite’s Insights Powered by Brandwatch for competitive benchmarking, share of voice, brand sentiment, and topic analysis for its content and blog strategy.  Data is shared with various departments to drive decisions around content and strategy including tech, product, finance, operations, HR, creative research, and artist relations. 

The whole company gets to see the numbers, ask questions, and get involved—and it’s working really well. 

“Last month we had our best month to date and it just keeps getting better” says Minshull. “We’ve seen increases in engagement rate, share of voice, overall mentions, and traffic. And we're seeing that translate into real business results.”

Increasing engagement with a smarter posting strategy

“We're using all the features of the platform,” explains Minshull. “We're publishing and scheduling, we use it for approval systems and crisis management, we use the content library to help with efficiency, we use tagging to make meaningful decisions, and we use the listening platform to see what our audience is talking about and see where content gaps exist.”

From scheduling its content a month in advance to using Hootsuite Inbox for communicating with clients and artists, Stocksy is using every part of the platform. And it’s getting value from smart features like recommended times to post, which gives personalized recommendations to extend reach, build awareness, increase engagement, or drive traffic.  

“We have people all around the world consuming our content,” Minshull adds. “Knowing when our clients and artists are active helps with our engagement rate. In 2021, we were posting at times that we thought people were active and the Hootsuite data proved the opposite. Since using Hootsuite’s recommended posting times, our engagement rates have skyrocketed. Without that tool, our engagement rates wouldn't be what they are.”

What's next

Next up, Stocksy is planning to put the spotlight on its customers. 

“We’ve been telling the story of our brand and we've been telling the story of our artists,” explains Minshull. “And now it's time to tell the story of our clients.” 

With Hootsuite’s recent TikTok integration, Stocksy is planning to collaborate with the platform’s influencers. The company will also focus more on developing its YouTube channel and investing in LinkedIn—one of its highest-engaging platforms. And of course, all this will be easier with Hootsuite. 

“Our values are collaboration and empathy,” adds Minshull. “Having empathy for your client is key. And collaborating and understanding their pain points and being able to help them on their journey is definitely a big reason why we've stuck with Hootsuite.”

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Hootsuite allows us to be really nimble in how we approach our marketing in real time. We set up alerts in our Insights tool. We also set up weekly reports so that we can make realistic decisions on where to pivot, where to allocate more resources, or where to ante up our existing strategies.
Christina Minshull
Head of Marketing and Design

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