Is it possible to use your own image to help further propel your brand and add that oh so important personal touch? – spoiler alert – it is.
A quick scroll through Instagram or Facebook will show you those whom enjoy sharing their own selfies. It’s probably quite a few… but are they just being “vain” or is there something deeper to it?
Before we start, for those of you who have been under a rock for the past 10 years, the Oxford English dictionary added ‘selfie’ to its pages back in 2013 when it was awarded ‘word of the year’, giving it the description – “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media”
There is so much more to ‘the selfie’ than just being a photo of your face. It can also be about establishing yourself in your industry and getting yourself known.
Kids nowadays are brought up to believe that sharing images of themselves on social media is a normal part of their life and we can prove it. Take 30 seconds to jump out of this blog and open up Instagram, (but please come back) scroll through the images until you find a selfie of someone… didn’t take long, did it?
Those over the 30 landmark (or so my boss says), will see selfies as a vain and narcissistic approach to self-affirmation. Before selfies, the only time we saw our own images were in accidental reflections in car windows and shiny objects. Most selfies for those over 30 are usually covered in plastic in the front pages of a passport.
Selfies have since moved on.
Whilst the sharing of selfies has become a lot more prevalent, a recent survey found that 90 percent of participants consider other people’s selfies to be self-promotion, with less than half (46%) of those same participants viewing their own selfies that way. This fascination with selfies has always interested me (as a so-called Generation Z), as a whole it would seem the general stance on them is quite negative.
But hey, is self-promotion really that bad? From a business point of view, sharing your image can help you be recognised at events and be a great reminder of a piece of content you produced that really sparked a potential customer’s interest.
All it needs is a simple tweet or social post letting people know you’ll be there, now you’re back to the front of their mind again and who knows, this might even be the moment they decide to convert.
You’ve potentially opened up an opportunity by simply putting a face to your name. A potential talking point – just like that. People, especially those who are introverted (see our blog introvert’s guide to networking) love anything that will make their life easier, and if that means checking Twitter on the way to an event to see who’ll be about, rather than having to scan every awkwardly placed lanyard in the room when they get there, then that’s what they’ll do.
Researchers at the University of California found that taking selfies can lift your mood by helping you to recognise positive things about yourself and letting others share in that too.
But how else can a selfie help with branding?
For small and freelance businesses, making your own image part of your brand is important as it’s who you are and we all like a personal touch! Selfies may seem less relevant if you are a larger business, due to the multiple personalities involved, however, using images of people (real people!) is still important. People want to know who they are talking to, they want to see you aren’t a robot and are actually capable of human emotions, after all, people buy from people.
These are just some of the reasons we share selfies online (as well as to show off the brand new designer glasses we just bought). But in all seriousness, people notice faces first. Just think back (if you can) to being a newborn baby, faces and facial expressions are the very first thing we see – we learn through our parents and it’s also been proven online through eye tracking on platforms such as Facebook. You’re automatically going to stand out from those who have a photo of a car as their profile picture. (Do people still do that?)
The image shows how people look at a webpage, you can see by the heat spots that people focus mainly on the profile pictures. The most focus being on the red spots while they glaze over the written content. This brings us back to the previous point we’ve made in our Social Media Matra about using images in every bit of content where appropriate. It’s a brilliant opportunity to capture people’s attention – then you have the hard bit, keeping their attention while you say what you want to say.
Seeing the people behind the business can make your brand appear more trustworthy and promote confidence from your customers. I go into a little more detail on how you can create unique images quickly and easily in our “Stop Using Stock” blog so be sure to take a look once you’ve finished up here.
Your own image is the ultimate way to showcase personal style. So celebrate it.
Take a look at our social media or brand and you will see that amongst the purple, we also ensure that each individual Giant is represented across our marketing. We’re proud of who we are and we aren’t afraid to show it. Think about what your personality can bring to your brand, share images, videos and opinions. You could even end up being the next big thing, and if you are, don’t forget about us! We were here at the beginning.
I hope I’ve convinced you of the power behind a shameless selfie when it comes to marketing a business and establishing your brand. I’m hoping to see a lot of smiling faces on our news feeds soon.
If you’re interested in learning some more about taking images for your business take a look at my previous blog “Stop Using Stock” for some advice and tips on getting started or if you’d like to know more about what to do with them once you’ve got them you can take a look at our Social Animal course for some in-depth training from the experts at Sleeping Giant Media.
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