Selfies: the ‘Secret Ingedient’ for Social Media PR?

The selfie that went viral: celebrities at the Oscars, 2014.

The selfie that went viral: celebrities at the Oscars, 2014.

Let’s be honest, everyone loves a good selfie. Just ask Ellen Degeners about the selfie she took at the Oscars that crashed Twitter! ‘Selfie love’ is actually a fact; a study has proven that Instagram photos featuring peoples’ faces get 38 per cent more likes than any other photo subject.

The popularity of selfies boils down to the fact that humans are essentially social beings; human interest is crucial. Selfies have become a social norm and can be used by companies to engage with publics in a way that is socially relevant to publics and stakeholders.

But before we delve any deeper into the realm of selfies, lets review what we’ve laready  discussed in my previous posts:

  • In my first blog post, we discussed how social media PR is like popular culture icon, Grumpy Cat, as practitioners are able to connect with publics in an engaging and relatable way.
  • In my last blog post we discussed how PR practitioners are beginning to harness the humanising powers of User Generated Content (UGC) in their interactions with publics and stakeholders.

Grumpy Cat, UGC and selfies all have one thing in common; they generate human interest. If you want to successfully utilise social media to engage your publics, your strategy needs to include content that is relatable and interesting to your target audience.

There are many examples of companies successfully jumping on the selfie train in their social media campaigns as well as many unsuccessful examples. The key, as with any PR campaign, is to know your publics. Selfies have the potential to boost the confidence of your publics and, if used cleverly and creatively, can assist in the construction of a healthy brand community.

An example of an effective selfie campaign is Axe Deodorant. The company recently ran a social media campaign in time with Valentine’s Day, encouraging publics to submit selfies of themselves ‘kissing for peace’ with the hashtag #kissforpeace. The campaign generated over 10,000 tweets.

Certainly, selfies are not the only way practitioners can use social media to engage and maintain relationships with publics; just like practitioners should not solely rely on UGC. However, the nugget of advice to take away from this blog-post series is that there is no set formula for success when engaging publics and stakeholders through social media. Be creative, know your target audience and exploit human interest.


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