Selfies are here to stay. Why not leverage them to build your brand?

If you have negative feelings about selfies, let go of them. You’ll feel lighter when you’re not burdened by perceptions that selfies are attention-seeking or self-indulgent. The debate over selfies only makes them more relevant.

Everyone takes selfies. People have been taking them as long as they’ve had cameras. (Buzz Aldrin took one in space in 1966. Try to beat that.) And if you count paintings we’ve been taking them for centuries.

This is a self portrait from 1338. 

Sargis_Pitsak

(That eyeliner, though.)

Photos that give good face give good engagement.

People like looking at faces. They don’t have to be young faces or old faces or pretty faces. They just need to be faces. In fact, a recent study showed that faces in photos increased engagement by 40 percent. You know what kind of photo always has a face in it? A selfie.

Engagement is good for you. It means people are listening and interacting. Including photos (even selfies!) in a blog post can actually increase how well the reader retains the information you shared. Instead of always relying on stock photography to spice up your imagery, lean on natural photos with real people doing real things.

big sea selfies

Selfies are content. Content is good.

Content is critical if you’re doing any kind of digital marketing. Right this second, you might be stressing out about how to create useful, relevant content. But what if people generated content for you? For free? That’s the theory behind user generated content.

User generated content campaigns can be a gamble and a leap, but when they work, they really work. You don’t have to be a Starbucks-sized brands to capitalize on the consumer desire to be heard. Pair the need to be heard with the popularity of the selfie and you have a recipe for fun, spontaneous user generated content. (Selfies!)

cat selfies

Create a way for your fans and customers to share selfies with you. Use those selfies to grow brand awareness and add engaging visuals to your content. Everyone wins. (But especially you.)

Have goals in mind.

Consider your goals. Don’t go into a user generated content campaign expecting a unrealistic boost in sales or followers. Think in realistic terms. Your goal might be to gather content to use in social posts and blog posts in the future. Your goal may be to encourage your existing fans to evangelize for your brand and get your name out there on visual platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

Once you have your user generated content, don’t stick selfies where they don’t belong. Engagement increases far more with relevant imagery. Get creative and set parameters from the start that ensure selfies that work for you. Even if you’re selling copy machines, you can encourage your customers to take photos with the machines as opposed to selfies they took at a red light. Invite college students to take selfies with a famous statue on campus. Ask customers to take photos wearing your clothing brand.

big sea selfies

Come up with a game plan.

Like any good strategy, this involves some planning. You shouldn’t hop onto Facebook ten minutes from now and ask people to post selfies in the comments. (Though that might result in surprising engagement!) Think about how you want this to go. Here are a few ideas:

  • Host a photo contest with a specific hashtag. Make the prize attractive!
  • Encourage visitors to your brick and mortar store or attraction to take selfies and tag your brand.
  • Set up a selfie station at your doctor’s office or veterinarian’s office.
  • Create your own Snapchat filter.
  • Pair your selfie campaign with a charitable cause to build goodwill around your brand.

Don’t forget video.

Selfies are typically photos, but don’t rule out video. Your digital marketing strategies should include video whenever possible. Anyone with a phone has the capacity to create video, and every social media platform has video sharing capability. Supercharge your selfie campaign by encouraging your followers to share video.

  • If you’re hosting an event or speaking at a conference, invite attendees to livestream it on Facebook or Periscope.
  • Host a contest for video shorts with a theme related to your brand.
  • Pose a unique question and invite followers to share their thoughts and perspective.
  • Encourage (and incentivize) customers to leave video reviews about your product.