Selfie marketing: The white-hot trend for brands


From Pope Francis to Darth Vader, from President Barack Obama to Kim Kardashian, everyone is taking selfies.

Ellen DeGeneres tallied 33 million views and 2.4 million retweets for her Oscars selfie. Oxford Dictionaries even announced “selfie” as the Word of the Year in 2013.

Whether you like it or not, the “selfie” is here to stay.

I find selfies fascinating. Not so much for myself, although I do take them now and then, but for marketers. The selfie provides a terrific opportunity for marketers to support something people are already doing and integrate themselves into ongoing conversations in authentic ways.

With selfies, brand managers can encourage fans to become part of an insta-community built on an activity or theme that is on brand and serves a specific strategic purpose.

Here are four examples of great selfie campaigns.

Hostess capitalized on the fact that Minions look just like Twinkies, partnering with Universal to create to give fans a chance to win a trip to Paris.

Fashion designer Marc Jacobs put out a casting call to find the “Next Face of Marc Jacobs.” To become eligible, fans posted to Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #CastMeMarc. Within one day, the brand received 15,000 entries, and by the campaign’s end it reported a total tally of 70,000.

Beats held a campaign called Solo Selfie to promote Solo2. With the support of major celebrity talent, Beats asked consumers to take a video selfie from one side of the headphones to the other and post using #SoloSelfie. More than 9,000 users participated.

California Pizza Kitchen designed What We Do For Love during Valentine’s Day and tapped major players, including top talent from “The Bachelor,” to post what they do for love along with #CPKLoveSweeps.

Participants vied for the chance to receive free California Pizza Kitchen food for a year, and all images were pulled into a feed gallery app, creating an insta-community centered on the brand and Valentine’s Day. The restaurant chain followed up with a “Dear Mom” sweepstakes that asked fans to post selfies celebrating their moms for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas.

How powerful is selfie marketing, and how do you measure it?

In today’s cluttered world of advertising, brand managers must build connections with consumers so they’ll engage with branded content. Paid media presence is not as effective as it once was.

The best marketers are coming up with ideas to encourage customers to market their brand to their friends in fun and entertaining ways. According to Nielsen, impressions have three times the value of ads and sponsored posts, as there are few things more valuable than referrals coming from people we know.

Ninety-two percent of people believe in recommendations coming from friends, and only 47 percent and 33 percent believe in TV ads and banners, respectively, according to the Nielsen Global Advertising Trust Study.

The easiest way to measure selfie media versus paid media placements is through cost per engagement. Our company’s selfie and influencer campaigns report CPE rates in the 20- to 30-cent range, which is one-half to one-third of what we see with paid placements.

As for impressions, it’s a little harder to measure, but one way to look at the analysis for Instagram is to tally the average number of friends (843) and use an estimated reach of friends. Tap Influence estimates this number at 35 percent.

What are best practices for selfie marketing?

The idea: Tie the selfie to an activity or theme that is simple, fun and shareable and promotes your brand. The aforementioned California Pizza Kitchen campaigns are good examples.

The incentive: Provide motivation to post and #xyzSweeps to encourage people to participate. The best incentives are those that money can’t buy, such as the Marc Jacobs modeling contest.

[RELATED: Learn how to motivate employees with digital communications at our upcoming event.]

Feed app: Use a feed app that collects all the submissions in one destination (via a hashtag), creating a community that allows you to display and promote all the submissions in a tab or microsite.

Content license: Set up the terms and conditions of your program so that you have the licensing rights to the posted content. The more unique the URL, the easier it will be to claim the rights.

Content approval process: Use a feed app that enables you to approve or reject the content. Though you can’t prevent what people post to their own pages, you can be selective in what you include on your own page through a content management system.

Photos versus videos: Though we are fans of video submission for the right campaign, it is a higher bar to clear than submitting a photo. More often than not, photos will generate more participation, more shares and more reach.

The right social networks: Encourage consumers to use Instagram. Unlike Facebook, whose algorithm limits views to 10-15 percent of a friend base, Instagram posts reach a much higher percentage of friends, estimated at 25-35 percent. Vine is also powerful if you are focusing on video and a younger demographic.

Promote your campaigns: Use paid placements and influencer marketing to promote the campaigns. Influential people lend tremendous credibility to campaigns and encourage others to participate. Remember that every user engagement will be amplified so that your advertising and sponsored content dollars can go even further.

Selfie marketing is hot and is still new, which means it’s the best time to jump in. Getting users to participate is easier than you think, and few things are better than watching your customers endorse your brand to their friends, while having a ton of fun doing so.

John Bohan is CEO and founder of Socialtyze. A version of this article originally ran on


The Rising Trend of the “Driver Selfie”

The Rising Trend of the “Driver Selfie”

The Rising Trend of the “Driver Selfie”


The rapid rise in the popularity of social media is continuing to grow. In the UK alone there are 38 million active social media accounts, with the majority of us Brits spending around 2 hours and 13 minutes of our time every day checking to see who has liked our latest Instagram post or Facebook status.

Social media for most people is a huge part of their lives. Being constantly connected with our peers is now seen as a necessity due to the vast number of ways we can stay in the loop. WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest – the list goes on and on. Sharing every part of our lives with our social following is now a collective norm.SMW2

The social media giants Facebook and Twitter still reign supreme in the popularity ranks, however relative newcomers Snapchat are snapping at their heels, with more than 400 million snaps being sent every day according to recent statistics.

Access to smartphones has increased over the past few years as prices have become cheaper and internet access has improved significantly, and there are now 3.65 billion people who now have access to the internet via their phones. Social media sites now all have apps to download onto your phone, which makes the temptation to use them even greater.

The obvious benefits of social media are huge, the ease in which communicate in this digital age is fantastic.  We all like to keep our family updated with how the kids are getting on, and staying in touch with our old university friends since we all went our separate ways is so easy. Is it really any wonder we all feel compelled to share pictures of everything from our pets doing something funny to our latest shopping purchases?

But for all its benefits, social media is now playing an integral role in distracting drivers, and increasing the number of road accidents across the globe. Although using a mobile phone whilst driving was made illegal in 2003 in the UK, statistics show that some of us are still blatantly flouting the law and putting other road users at risk.SMW1

In one update, photo sharing app Snapchat included a feature whereby with one simple swipe, users can access a screen function which displays to recipients how fast you were moving when the image was taken, leading many to take photos and videos of themselves whilst driving.

Snapchat do remind their users not to “snap and drive” when using the time stamp feature. But looking at Instagram you can see that there are currently 27,262 images uploaded with the hashtag #DrivingSelfie.

That is a lot of people endangering their lives – and the lives of others – in such a reckless way, just so they be a part of the latest trend.  Many of these photos feature passengers who have children with them in the cars which is also exceptionally unsettling.

Whilst social media have bridged the gap in communication for people all over the world, every now and again it can spawn an unsavory trend that people feel the need to be a part of.

Not only does it land you a fine of £100 in the UK, as well as three points on your driving license, but it also puts yourselves and others at risk. Using the phone behind the wheel will make you four times more likely to crash, injure or kill yourself and other people. There isn’t a Facebook status important enough out there that’s worth the consequences.

Social Media Week