Are Selfies and Businesses a Social Media Match Made in Heaven?

Selfies are the new norm and will continue their strong trending on social media. Businesses that want to reach a larger audience need to tap into this evolving technology.

Before the digital age, selfies were self-portraits taken with cameras by creative photographers. Selfies evolved as the years rolled by and, in 2013, the word “selfie” was ranked as the most popular of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.

Fast-forward to 2016: Taking selfies has become a normal lifestyle impulse. This craze is growing rapidly. As a result, serious business owners should contemplate using selfies. They are powerful social media enticements for attracting new customers and engaging existing ones.

Examples of businesses already capitalizing on this trend are Urban Degree Clothing, GoPro and Turkish Airlines, the latter of which created a selfie ad in 2013. The ad went viral and received more than 77 million YouTube views in one week.

Follow their footsteps and turn the selfie phenomenon into a well-projected, successful marketing campaign.

This article will explore how businesses are using selfies as social media strategies to win customers and change lives.

Make the most of selfies to promote your business

Selfies are powerful for touching the hearts of customers because they remove any hierarchy barriers or aloofness attached to some businesses. Instead, selfies show employers and employees as real people. This creates an emotional connection between the customer and the business, which ultimately strengthens the brand.

Businesses that are aware of the vast benefits of combining this unique method in their social media marketing are ahead of the game.

There are many creative ways of integrating selfies in your marketing campaigns, such as:

  • Introduce a new product with a selfie of your followers on Facebook or Instagram using hashtags linked to your products: Encourage them to share the image by posting it on their walls or in their feeds for friends, family and others to see. In addition, having customers recommend your product is an authoritative personal endorsement.
  • Give away products or services by holding selfie contests: The most unique and original selfie wins a prize. This is ideal for Instagram, the image sharing platform, with the use of hashtags and keywords related to your business. Bloomingdale’s is capitalizing on this growing trend by using Instagram as a fundamental part of its selfie marketing campaign.

Colby Richards, managing partner of Seattle-based agency Brown Box Branding, recommends using selfies to boost the performance of your discount offers:

To attract new hair and beauty customers, use selfies to promote products. Entice clients with discounts, free makeovers or money-off coupons when they take a selfie of their new hairstyle or makeover. Promote the selfies on your social media platforms and ask clients to post it to theirs, as well, to earn discounts.

Incorporating selfies as a branding method will distinguish you from your competitors. It’s a fun and creative way of setting your business apart.

Engage your customers with innovative concepts by getting them involved in your social media marketing campaign. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are perfect for showcasing selfies of eager customers. People love posing and showing off, so put them in the limelight and they will happily create unique and personalized content that promotes your brand.

Identity and selfies

A dating application developed to create friendships, socializing and networking has gone a step ahead of other social media platforms. Bumble validates profiles of users’ selfies. The photo feature confirms if an individual’s identity is genuine based on their selfie. This will sift through and sort out the fakes from the genuine, which is a necessary security precaution.

Bumble has more than 50,000 likes on Facebook, so clearly, people are loving the selfie features and not deterred by the identification process. The public is assured of knowing that they are connecting with people they can trust, especially with the growing number of individuals pretending to be who they are not, mostly on dating sites.

James Kaen of Check Them agrees with Bumble’s technique of endorsing identities and selfies in its marketing plan:

Incorporating selfies as a precautionary method of protecting people’s identity is a fun way of telling users that we’re interested in your security, without the usual discomfort associated with it.

How a popular company used selfies in its ads to boost self-confidence

Unfortunately, selfies can also highlight an individual’s negativity about their appearance–particularly teenagers, who are bombarded by the picture-perfect body images of models. However, Dove used a potent seven-minute documentary in its new ad campaign called “Selfie” to address this issue. The company emphasized the growing concerns teenagers have about their self-image after taking a selfie of themselves.

In the documentary, mothers and daughters are made aware of how their relationships with each other impact their self-esteem. They were asked to take selfies and point out the features of their bodies they didn’t like. Dove took this further and displayed their selfies (blown up) in a photo gallery.

Dove’s research confirmed that social media has more power to impact beauty discussions than traditional media.

The evidence is overwhelming: Selfies are the new norm and will continue their strong trending on social media. Businesses that want to reach a larger audience need to tap into this evolving technology. They either move with the crowd or fade into obscurity as the digital age grows.

James Jorner is a content strategist and marketer at Effective Inbound Marketing. His company specializes in online branding and digital marketing for businesses.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.