In marketing, pictures and images play an important role in defining your message, your ethos and your content strategy.

They also allow you to personalise your brand, giving your customer an insight into who you are, what you do and how you do it. This where the “selfie” comes into play, offering you as a business the chance to present an authentic image of yourself and your operation.

Used well, the selfie provides an avenue for your audience to get a true insight into your world, forging a deeper connection with your business.

The Selfie

Think selfies and social media immediately springs to mind, but the selfie’s use extends far beyond happy snaps with friends on Insta.

As Wikipedia kindly explains a “Selfie” typically refers to self-portrait photos taken with the camera held at arm’s length”. It is renowned for being immediate and candid, with an implied message of “look what I’m doing right here, right now”.

In business marketing, the great thing about a selfie is that it’s quick, easy and accessible, utilising a tool you have at hand pretty much every day – the smart phone.  Importantly, due to its perceived authenticity, the selfie has the potential to build trust in who you are and what you do, lifting the veil on you and your brand.

Why use them

Selfies can be used for a host of reasons in marketing, but the key thing to remember is they don’t replace the professional or stock images you use to help define your brand. Instead, they add another dimension to your content to give your audience a deeper connection with who you are.

  • Selfies are used to create personalisation
  • Add trust
  • Create hype
  • Elicit engagement

Ways to use a selfie

There are a variety of ways to use a selfie to great effect in any marketing strategy, so let’s delve into a few:

To show who you are

Selfies are innately personal images that reflect what you are up to at a particular point in time. This allows your audience to get to know you better and forge a deeper connection with your brand.

If your marketing is built on you as an individual or your team, selfies have the potential to allow customers an insight into your world.

In this case a  selfie might show you attending an event, readying for an event, at a stunning or interesting place, with another person of interest or going about your day.

To illustrate what you do

Selfies don’t just have to be about people, they can be people doing things. This means a selfie can feature you doing the average tasks associated with your day or something interesting you encounter during your work.

They can also show your products being used, including how they work. They can be before and after shots, or feature members of your team in recognition of the role they play in your business.

And again these images all add up to allow an audience to get to know you in a more authentic way.

To provide insight into your operation

Just as people like to feel they know you personally, they also like to know what you do, and in this case the selfie offers huge potential to business.

Selfies can include candid images of your manufacturing process, work environment, team at work or preparing for a product launch/release.

It might also include a series of selfies that take people through the entire process of creating your products, thus allowing your audience an understanding of how your products are made or your services work. The upshot of this is it creates interest and hype around what your business does.  

It also allows your audience to trust your methods.

To foster engagement

Where once marketing was all about getting your message out, in the age of the internet and social media, it is very much a two-way street where engagement and interaction are a critical aim.

The selfie has the potential to harness this power beautifully, particularly when you ask the audience to turn the camera on themselves.

Ways to elicit engagement through selfies include:

  • Competitions or campaigns that encourage your audience to take selfies of themselves using your products or services
  • Contests where people take selfies at your place of business, thereby creating hype around a bricks and mortar store or office.
  • Selfies of the week, where a fan takes an image of themselves to feature on your site or social media
  • Cause-related selfie campaigns where people take an image and tag it to promote an issue or cause

To create hype around people and products

Selfies of people and products help to generate hype, and you can also use engagement to build this effect. Say you’re about to launch a new product you might post a selfie of that item and ask your audience for feedback.

Or say you’re welcoming a new member to your team, a selfie helps introduce them to your consumers.

Great examples of selfie use

Used by celebrities and successful businesses alike, there are a host of great examples of effective selfie use.

  1. Only recently the Logies saw selfies play out beautifully when it came to personal brand promotion, with an example of note being Lisa Wilkinson and Tracey Grimshaw’s selfies of themselves getting ready for the event.

    The images showed them before makeup and after, offering their audience an insight into their world. The upshot was an authentic association with their personal brand and who they really are as people. 
  2. Meanwhile in WA, real estate agent Emma Guthrie has built a huge following on Instagram based on selfies which showcase her region and the sights she sees.

    The selfies include images of her at local businesses, local events and undertaking local activities. She now has 5000 followers and is renowned as an expert and champion of the local community. 
  3. Early in the selfie trend, Dove launched a notable campaign that saw young girls take an “honest selfie of themselves and encourage their mums to do the same. Images were posted to a gallery and the audience was encouraged to debate what beauty is using the social media hashtag #beautyis.

How to take a great selfie

Although a selfie is by no means a professional photograph and isn’t intended to be, there is an art to creating a good one and using it well. It comes down to the following.

Purpose – Know why you are taking the image and craft it accordingly. The last thing an audience wants to feel is as though this is purely your personal album. Ensure your selfie has a purpose relevant to your business in some way, and includes the right businessy background.

Keep it business – Although it isn’t taken by a professional this is still an image reflecting you professionally, so photos of you on a night out with the girls or guys aren’t appropriate, but an image of you attending an industry-related event is.

Lighting and framing – There’s no point having a selfie where you can’t see the people or products in it. Ensure your selfie is well-lit and well-framed.

Watch the background – Even professional photographers come unstuck with this one…before posting your selfie online, run your eye over it to check what’s happening in the background. This is to ensure there’s nothing inappropriate like someone wearing a t-shirt with swear words or an image that does not befit your business.

Keep an eye out – At their simplest, selfies are about interesting things, so if you see something intriguing in your day that’s relevant, snap it – it might just be the thing that goes viral.    

Key takeaways

Selfies offer the opportunity to inject some unique, personal and authentic content into your marketing strategy. What’s more they are easy to create and cheap. Just remember to:

  • Consider their purpose
  • Ensure they are well-lit and well framed
  • Are relevant to your business or personal brand
  • Allow them to elicit engagement