Use of Selfies in Marketing
The word “selfie” has become rooted in the vernacular of the millennial generation from all corners of the globe. This phenomenon is usually associated with taking portraits and posting them accompanied with a caption on social media networking sites (Rettberg 22). As a fact, selfies tell others who you are. Mostly, they are used for entertainment. However, business owners can exploit the potential of selfie behavior grow their businesses (Wan et al. 1). This implies that selfies posted in social media can be used as marketing tools to attract and maintain customers. Studies have shown that companies and corporate are incorporating self images and other photos in their marketing plans (Kiprin Para 7). This has made selfie advertising a major sales-driving force in the current market.
Research has also asserted that selfies are also used in the promotion of certain brands such as Coca-Cola and Samsung. Therefore, selfies can be used in marketing; business organizations can use self images to drive their customer engagement, show their personality, give social proof, show the humanity of a brand, and ‘share a laugh’.
What marketers have realized is that selfies are not only taken and viewed by the millennial generation, but also by the elder generations. On the other hand, social media networking sites are widely used all over the world. This makes them the two (social media sites and selfies) huge tools that marketers can use to facilitate wider reach to potential clients (Rettberg 23). Additionally, the use of these sites is simple and completely free. Users can, therefore, open an account and connect with others by posting photos and selfies within a short period. In this regard, social media networking sites offer cheap and simple methods that various businesses can use to promote their businesses (Rettberg 23).
Companies can use selfies to share the “story” of their company or the zeal that they have for their businesses through selfies (Kedzior 13). Simply put, self images offer a free way for marketers and business owners to visually show their potential customers why they should consider their businesses. For instance, many companies and businesses are using Instagram to display their new products and new ideas. It is free, fast and has limitless potential regarding the number of people marketers can reach.
Moreover, the wider reach of clients is facilitated by the fact that selfies have become viral. This implies that when selfies are posted on social media networking sites, many people will share and react to them, which increase their effectiveness and reach (Wan et al. 2). Therefore, the use of selfies in marketing enables products to be viewed wide and fast.
There are various ways that companies and businesses can use selfies to drive their customer engagement (Wan et al. 2). This implies that business people can use selfies in their marketing strategies. Marketers can use the selfies to attract customers by showcasing the personal side of their businesses, and by providing an innovative outlet that they can use to show their products (Rettberg 21). Moreover, selfies can be used to create awareness about a business by showing a client what a business does and setting up a familiarity between a company and its potential customers.
Companies can use selfies to show their personality. Traditionally, customers view authenticity as a top feature they look for when connecting and doing business with companies. Self images are very personal. Additionally, company selfies tell more about the conditions and the employees of a company (Kedzior 14). In this sense, they are very effective for connecting to clients and customers.
For instance, a selfie of smiling employees may be understood to mean that the company employees are satisfied, friendly and social. If such a selfie is posted by a company that specializes in giving services, it may help attract many clients because of the notion that the company’s staff is friendly (Rettberg 28). This is a marketing technique that is used by many companies to portray their good personality and thus, attract customers.
Selfies are also used by companies to give social proof. This mostly happens when customers post selfies in social media networking sites with a company’s products. This acts a recommendation of the product. Mostly, selfies are accompanied by captions. A good message on the caption is equally important. Since this selfie comes from a customer and not the company, it is interpreted that the customer is satisfied with the product and thus, serves as a good advertisement (Rettberg 33).
It is also assumed that clients will not post what they do not like. In this regard, many companies have hired celebrities to take selfies with their brands (Kiprin Para 7). When these selfies are posted on social media networking sites, there is a possibility that many people will be aligned to buy and consume a brand that is associated with their favorite celebrities.
Marketers also use selfies to ‘create and share a laugh.’ Wittiness can be widely used to promote various types of brands. Marketers post funny and hilarious photos because they have a great ability to go viral and spread all over the web. These hilarious selfies can carry certain messages that the marketers want to deliver (Wan et al. 5). In this way, they do not only create and share a laugh, but also pass their marketing messages over a wide area.
Selfies also show the humanity of a brand. Connecting with people is much easier than connecting with abstract concepts such as companies. Thus, posting selfies helps companies show that there are actual people behind their brands (Kedzior 13). This creates strong emotional connections for those associating with the company’s products. For instance, selfies of a company’s staff make customers realize that they are talking to actual people. In this way, companies have been using selfies to promote their brands.
Though selfies can be good marketing tools, they also pose a great risk. A competing business, companies or people with malicious ideas about ones’ business may post self images that a company may not be willing to associate with its brand. Though marketers can edit selfies posted on their websites and their social media networking sites, they have no control over what is posted by others on their sites. This is a big challenge for many marketers. They have to be watchful on what others are posting on their sites.
All in all, this paper discusses the use of selfies as a marketing tool. This marketing strategy is not only cheap but also fast and simple. Marketers can make use of self images to promote a company’s brand, attract, and retain customers. Selfies are innovative ways that marketers can use to create awareness of their brands and persuade consumers on the superiority of their brands. Though selfie marketing is a good way to promote a company’s products, marketers should also be watchful of selfies that may damage the reputation of their brands.
Kedzior, Richard, D. Allen, and J. Schroeder. “The selfie phenomenon–consumer identities in the social media marketplace.” European Journal of Marketing Special issue (2015).
Kiprin, Borislav. “Go Selfie Yourself!.” (2013).
Rettberg, Jill W. Seeing ourselves through technology: How we use self images, blogs and wearable devices to see and shape ourselves. Springer, 2016.
Wan, Jinlin, Tailai Wu, and Yaobin Lu. “The Effect of Product Endorsers in Social Media: The Role of Self-Disclosure and Social Interactivity.” (2015).
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