What started as an embarrassing, narcissistic and Myspace-esque habit now finds itself among the annals of the human condition; you can find it in most people’s phone galleries, the dictionary, or in a Google search for “most retweeted file in Twitter’s history”. But recently, smartphone users (or anything with a camera, really)—and brands—have decided to strip the stigma from the “selfie” and, instead, embrace it.
If you think about it the way Samsung thought about it after the Oscars, the selfie is a free, fun, and effective marketing tool. Ellen Degeneres’ selfie received close to 3.5 million retweets on Twitter and is thought to be worth over $1 billion to Samsung. Yes—that goofy picture of your favorite celebrities that seemed to be mocking the selfie phenomenon, was actually a brilliant marketing strategy.
But, don’t feel duped quite yet.
Ellen kick-started one of the silliest (and most fun) promotions: the genius idea of selling with selfies. Events beyond the Oscars have adopted the selfie concept, using them to promote their own company in a memorable and fun way. Here are a few steps and suggestions to incorporate the selfie at an event to create buzz around your company:
1. Provide the proper stuff. Whether it’s a logo, a hashtag, a frame, or another creative way to get your company’s name in the image, you’ve got to give your selfie-taker the physical necessities, even if it’s just the basics. Your selfie station should be easy to understand without much instruction, but it should also be fun. Give guests a good reason to have that photo saved on their phone or shared online. Make it funny, or sexy, or relevant: A mirror with a moustache that you can align under your nose? Hilarious! We had tons of fun at AIBTM last month with a (much) larger than life Instagram frame.
2. Staff up. Gather your selfie squad! This specialized staff features great smiles and enthusiasm to grab guests’ attention and get them to take a picture. They’re the ones in charge of making sure guests know the steps in the selfie process—y’know, if it’s more than just the snap-n-click type of selfie. The squad gathers excitement around the idea, ensuring that you achieve your initial marketing goal of your selfie strategy.
3. Incentivize or bust. Make it a competition or give an opportunity for a “prize” of sorts. Perhaps if your guests share their selfie and use your hashtag, their picture is displayed somewhere cool. Or they get free swag. Or they get a retweet by your brand’s Twitter account. Because let’s be real: free stuff is awesome and totally worth a share on social media.
4. Again, get creative. If you’re an event planner, you can use selfies as décor, showcasing the shameless selfies to get guests excited about their images.
5. Know the legal terms. According to the law, whoever takes the image has ownership of the picture. While it might seem excessive to have your selfie squad speak to the legal rights of your selfie-takers, a release form is never a bad idea, Rivals and competitors can use your selfie station with your brand and use it for bad (gossip in the public domain that you may not want shared). Be aware of these consequences—and make sure your guests know them, too.