Selfie – Selfie -Everywhere a selfie!
We think they are new, but there is actually a longer history to them and a reason why they may not always be as narcissistic as one might think.
June 21 is National Selfie Day – so let’s look at the role they play in marketing tool and connecting.
But first, some historical context:
People took self-portraits way before Facebook and smartphones were even thought of. American photographer Robert Cornelius took a self-portrait daguerreotype (the first practical process of photography) of himself in 1839 and this image is also thought to be one of the earliest photographs of a person.
Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna (aged 13) took a self-portrait in 1914 using a Kodak Brownie box camera (which was invented in 1900) and sent the photograph to a friend with the following note, “I took this picture of myself looking at the mirror. It was very hard as my hands were trembling.” Historically, she appears to have been the first teenager to take a selfie!
The modern-day selfie was invented when a group of Australians created a website and uploaded the first digital self-portraits onto the internet in September 2001.
The first broadcasted use of the term “selfie” to describe a self-portrait photograph, occurred on the Australian internet forum (ABC Online) on September 13, 2002. The anonymous poster wrote the following, along with posting a selfie of himself:
“Um, drunk at a mate’s 21st, I tripped over and landed lip-first (with front teeth coming a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole about 1cm long right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.”
A Hollywood cameraman named Lester Wisbrod claims he is the first person to take celebrity selfies, (a self-taken photo of himself and a celebrity) and has been doing so since 1981.
And now in 2022, selfies are a part of brands. They are the foundation of Instagram and maybe even TikTok – and to a lesser extent, Twitter.
And when used to also shine a light on others and even Great Work you are doing – to reference Dr. Amanda Crowell– there is much potential in them! They can help build community, showcase others, and celebrate people doing great things. As keynote speaker my goal is to help businesses, organization and individuals Show UP using a simple three-step process: Sign Up. Suit Up. and Show UP using curiosity as a tool and certainly selfies can also provide a way to help you do just that.
According to Wikipedia, a selfie is defined as follows:
“… a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a digital camera or smartphone, which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie stick. Selfies are often shared on social media, via social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.”
A fellow livestreamer and social media rockstar Russ Hedge is a Marketing Coach and may love selfies as much as I do. He has his own hashtag related to selfies (#Russselfie) because he takes so many of them! He loves taking them so much because he seeks to inspire others to connect.
My friend and leadership mentor Nathalie Gregg – the founder of the #LeadLoudly movement and author of a book entitled “Leading in Stilettos”, also started taking selfies recently because she believes it helps her connect with her tribe.
“The #selfie is a powerful #marketing tool! It invokes the power of storytelling through visuals,” says Gregg. She says it also creates a unique opportunity to:
- Share a branded experience
- Increase engagement on the platform
- Improve likability that leads to conversion
- Makes user generated content soar!
“My goal was to catapult the 3 V’s of personal branding through selfies for the #LeadLoudly Movement! My goal was to accelerate my #voice, #value, and #visibility!”
After completing the #niche assessment with Maiko, Gregg was completely shocked she wasn’t the archetype she had expected. She thought she was Community Builder (which she does well) BUT in fact her main archetype is New Content Creator!!
“So, I had to show up differently! It was now time to execute!”
She contacted the Selfie Queen, Rebekah Tozer and they went to work!!!
“Rebekah has an incredible selfie system for personal brands that I paired with her Sound Check System!”
Gregg says as a leader her level of development, engagement, and connection will always set the bar for what is expected. “I have leveraged selfies to celebrate my teams’ success. It serves as a constant reminder of our vision and standard of excellence! When challenges occur, I reminded them to remember the celebration selfie when we exceeded our goals!!!” Gregg also leveraged selfies as a networking tool to break the ice in person and online.
“In person, I will ask the person their name and for a selfie to commentate our conversation. I usually post it on Twitter.
Online, to curate conversation, my selfies celebrate #women owned businesses while featuring their product. This has started a conversation with other female entrepreneurs about creating content that converts.”
And so, now you SEE the Queen of Leadership showing up online with some selfies that also celebrate others, support businesses and pull back the curtain to her personal life – including the amazing Buster who lives with Nathalie’s mom, but is definitely very attached to Nathalie!
Gregg does love her Starbucks, as well as some local coffee shops. And she is now shifting from a Twitter Chat to Twitter Spaces, so don’t miss it Thursdays at 7 p.m. EST
Rebekah Tozer, is a Brand Strategist who teaches a workshop called “Selfie Systems Guide” where she helps her clients Debunk Selfie Myths and shares the secret to using them effectively as a marketing tool for your personal brand. She also shows you how to create a month’s worth of branded content in less than HALF the time (less than 10 min a day!) and position you so your ideal clients see you as the perfect solution to their problem. This includes 30 days of posts/video prompts to start turning your selfies into sales TODAY!
“Selfies are not dead,” says Tozer. “In fact they are a powerful marketing tool for personal brands. Selfies are free and fast and long gone are the days of just the typical look cute cheerleader selfie. Your audience needs to see your face. Our brains are hardwired to see and notice faces. A face will stop the scroll. Thank you science.
“ Your brain also loves variety. So variations in your selfies are important for visual interest. When your selfie and your messaging can match, that can create a vibe for your brand!”
Tozer says every personal brand needs a power pose selfie on a regular basis.
“Power Pose tends to be a pose that evokes confidence. directness, and “I got this” attitude. A power pose means taking up space with a tall posture showing confidence.
Oftentimes I ask people how do you posture to show power whether you’re a parent, a coach, an online salesman.
If you can’t strike a power pose for yourself then who will believe your power pose with your selfie?
Tozer says it’s important to match your selfie to your message.
“If you’re taking an inspirational message or an encouraging message or an authority message, be sure and take a selfie or use a selfie that matches the presentation,” she says.
“When it comes to your brand, you have your voice, your brand voice, the visuals of your brand and the vibe of your brand. The essence of a selfie can represent all of those. And when a good selfie is matched with the right message, your message becomes that much more impactful.”
Look at your selfie like a marketer. Think of your selfie as a product versus just a picture of you. “There are many types of selfies, but before I share the types of selfies, let’s talk about taking a good selfie. We already talked about the power pose. The next thing you should be aware of are the angles of your body… Think about your body, your arms, your legs, how can they extend from the body in an angled position? Think triangles with your arms and the legs and check your arms and legs to expand away from the body into triangles. You can also cross arms and legs across the midline of the body. This creates visual interest in composition.”
Best tip: Your selfie doesn’t need to be perfect!
Instead, it needs to be larger than life: channel and leverage your inner character, the characteristic that you’re trying to share in the selfie.
“Think about emojis. Channel the emojis and get really good at stepping into being the feeling the emotion that you want to share in your selfie. Your audience will reflect that back.”
Tozer also has Selfie Systems!
“Using a selfie with your messaging system will help you create content that is quick, resonates with the audience and helps you be paid because it’s not enough to just be seen.
Myth number one: selfies are all about me.
“I don’t want to shamelessly self promote,” says Tozer. “Selfies are not all about you. They’re in fact about your audience if used intentionally.
“Selfies can be about your ideal client when used to mirror your clients emotions or experiences. Use your selfie to show the story, the voice or the vibe of your brand. And let your message tell the story or the voice or the vibe of your brand.
Tozer says when you use both together your message is more impactful. When creating a content plan, you want to include your visual which is your selfie, or other photos or graphics.
Myth 2: You must create new and exciting content every day. “Good content is actually repetitive content,” says Tozer. “Your overall brand message should not change. And the real secret behind this is making content systems work with a strong brand message AND your selfie. “
Tozer offers 10 ways you can use your selfie and your content:
- social media posts
- carousel posts
- email header
- email signature
- branded gif
- sticker cover photo.
- reel or TikTok
- YouTube thumbnail
- your profile picture
- social media ad
These are 10 different selfie types every personal brand needs in their marketing plan:
- the critic,
- the entertainer
- the VIP
- the teacher
- the influencer,
- the host
- the sage
- the emoji
- the expert
- the cheerleader
Tozer’s selfie systems help you take those 10 Selfie types and use them with 30 prompts that match each selfie type to quickly have a month’s worth of content using your selfie!
Cosmopolitan featured an article that lists the following as 5 Flawless Tips to Taking Your Best Selfie:
- Look up toward the camera.
- Extend your head away from your neck.
- Instead of holding your phone in front of you, hold it to the side for a flawless angle.
- Relax your mouth, and exhale, blowing air through your lips.
- In your selfie-ready position, slowly spin until you find your best light. Then, snap away!
One of the best ways I have used selfies is to also meet cool people and then keep in touch via posting a selfie on social media!
One of my favorite stories is about meeting Ron Tite. When working as the Advertising and Promotions Manager at Cypher Systems Group, my co-worker Natasha Vandenbroucke and I attended an event with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Ron was the keynote speaker. I saw him before his talk, grabbed a selfie and then was blown away by his talk. That selfie was the beginning of a great friendship and he played a big part in me attending Heroic Public Speaking.
He was also a guest on my #ShowUP with GailNow LIVE recently and our selfie was part of that show, too! It is the selfie that tells a great story and certainly showcases our personalities.
I have many more stories about selfies – including impromptu selfie lessons and just starting conversations with people at events over a selfie! I love to include others and celebrate them – often people who need to be the spotlight by shy away for showing up alone!
Selfies are part of a cultural phenomenon and people often use them, like myself, to be part of a group, make others more comfortable while being in a photo, celebrate participation in an event, and quite frankly, it’s become a way to celebrate my 3 step process: Sign Up, Suit Up and Show Up. It is OK to own our power and celebrate some of the great things we are doing. We need to show up, not just for ourselves, but for others, as well. Taking part in photos and posting them are all part of celebrating some of the great things we may be doing, which in turn will help others to join in as well.
Of course there are stats to further explain the Selfie Trend!
Key Selfie Stats – Editor’s Choice
- 92 million selfies are taken every day, accounting for 4% of all the photos taken (2.3 billion) daily.
- Over 50% of millennials have published a selfie at least once. Over 95% of young adults have taken a selfie.
- Individuals spend 54 hours a year (or 7 minutes a day) taking selfies.
- People smile in 60% of selfies.
- An average “selfie-taker” is 24 years old.
- Women take 1.5 times more selfies than men.
My favorite stat is 52% of adults have never taken a selfie, 4% take it daily.
I fall somewhere in between; not daily, but certainly weekly. And they are a great way to meet people!
I did some social media ambassador work recently for an event at Wolfhead Distillery with the #SimplyQueen tribute band and I did a selfie-style video at the end of the show.
People loved it and were so happy to take part.
We need to build connections and selfies can help.
Selfies have been steadily gaining in popularity since they came into existence in 2010. We can expect selfies to affect related industries in the future even more. For example, smartphone manufacturers already leverage the use of selfies in their ads and promote new devices by incorporating ever-improving selfie cameras.
Photo editing apps and filters will keep improving and become easier to use. Developers will base the apps on artificial intelligence to automate photo editing, which will make creating beautiful selfies accessible to everyone.
Happy National selfie Day – not just on June 21 but EVERYDAY!