Ah, the selfie. A type of photo that has gained a ton of popularity in 2013 and has now become a staple in digital media.

There are 2 famous selfie’s that come to mind over the past 12 months that have really legitimized (as much as possible) the selfie:

Obama’s famous selfie with British and Denmark’s Prime Minister while Michelle scowls:

selfie obama


The ever famous Oscar’s selfie that shook the world. Millions of tweets, retweets, views and links. Impossible to even calculate the popularity of this one.

oscar selfie


While these 2 famous selfies rocked the planet with popularity, there really weren’t any brands that took credit for these stunts. Sure Ellen’s phone got some attention but there are tons of ways that you can market a selfie to drive home brand recognition without being too blatant about it.

samsung ellen phone selfie

Enter The Branded Selfie

Enter 2014. Brands are fighting for every inch of the public eye. Business owners and marketing teams are constantly scheming up ideas to deliver their brands message to their targeted audience.

There have been dozens of ad campaigns involving the selfie over the past year, some more memorable than others.

Case #1: Friskis & Svettis Selfie Ad Campaign

I ran across this really cool for a Swedish gym (by Ad agency Volt) while researching this post. This was an uber-cool ad campaign made up of the following components:

  • they sent branded tshirts to the most active gym goers
  • they then asked in return to post a selfie of themselves wearing the shirt while working out
  • post the photo on Instagram with the most popular gym tags
  • the campaign ended up generating millions of views in a very short period of time


selfie friskis2

Case #2: New York Public Library

The New York Public Library installed a photo booth inside the library and encouraged library visitors to snap a selfie and share it to social media. Of course, the selfie had a huge red NYPL brand overlay across the bottom to drive home the notion that going to the library was still fun and cool.

The photo booth is another way companies can encourage the selfie without having to worry about self-facing phone cameras and tinkering with uploading, etc.

new york public library selfie

This campaign was a huge win for the New York Public Library. What a cool idea.

Case #3: Fuzz Off

I originally saw this one last year on the TV show “the Pitch” and don’t remember much else about it. This is a “fuzz” or hair removal product that you apply to your lip area to remove hair.

The campaign held a contest to “post your most creative ‘stache” and upload to Instagram.

It was really cute. Not sure how effective this one was but it was a great idea.

fuzz off social campaign

Companies Without Huge Ad Budgets

It is still possible to run a “selfie campaign” for your brand without having to hire an ad agency.

There are dozens of ways to attract attention for your brand if you have a loyal following of people that love your brand.

Sure, some industries are harder than others but anything is possible. For example, asking followers of a band to take a selfie would be much easier than a local pest control company.

Here are a few easy ideas that will not only help you with brand familiarity but your SEO and website traffic as well:

  • Hold a contest on your website. Come up with a gift such as a TV or an iPad. The person that most creatively incorporates the brand into a selfie is the winner of the prize.
  • Send a branded postcard with a slogan out to your followers. Ask them to take a selfie with it and post it to social media with a tag on it. Offer a reward for every selfie taken such as a discount or cash back.
  • Another contest for the person who can most creatively use your product in a selfie. For instance if you sell bicycles the person riding your bike most creatively or in a weird place (like in a convenience store) will win a prize.
  • Bring in a photo booth! Everyone loves a photo booth and they can be rented for cheap almost anywhere.


elite strategies selfie

Hi my name is Patrick and I work for Elite Strategies. Can you tell I love our brand?

Optimizing the Selfie

There are tons of ways to optimize your selfie’s. In essence, it is just like any other image but selfie’s typically exist more in social media than on the traditional web.

For starters, make sure to name your image something that you are going for. For example if you are going after the keyword “SEO blog” then title your image that.

Same goes for image alt tags and captions. You want to try to pack some keywords in there.

antonino blogona elite strategies

Nino, SEO technician at Elite Strategies is definitely a #rowdySEO


This is the key part right here. There are 2 primary ways to jump in on the hash tag bandwagon:

  • Make your own hash tag and start your own revolution. This is much harder to accomplish and takes a lot of hard work and dedication
  • Jump on someone else’s bandwagon and use a trending hashtag from your industry

Make sure to encourage your followers to use the specific hashtag that you are going for. Hashtags are kind of a mysterious realm that mainly exist on Twitter and Instagram, but are also beneficial on Google+ and Facebook.

You can go one step further and create a custom landing page for your campaign if you want.

People love taking photos of themselves. If they love your brand / company or product that is a huge bonus and promotion will take care of itself.

There are tons of ways to market selfies. 1000’s are taken everyday of people holding (Starbucks / Dunkin’ / Coke / Etc) products in them.

The world has fully embraced the selfie, now lets start levering them.