The selfie chronicles

Is it time to ban corporate promos disguised as selfies? Not a chance!

First, it was the selfie of all selfies taken at the Oscars when host Ellen DeGeneres enlisted Bradley Cooper to capture a shot of Hollywood A-list stars in the middle of the show. (As a side note, it did not go unnoticed that Ms. DeGeneres used a Samsung for her audience-enlisted masterpiece — Samsung just so happened to be a major sponsor of the Academy Awards — while using her iPhone backstage for her personal selfies!)

Regardless, less than an hour later, the corporate selfie was forwarded on Twitter more than 2 million times, causing the site to briefly collapse! Selfie victory # 1.

More recently another corporate selfie phenomenon occurred when World Series MVP David Ortiz pulled out his Galaxy Note 3 during a White House visit capturing another press-worthy selfie moment with and President Obama.

Although many of us didn’t know Samsung had just signed a promotional deal with the Boston Red Sox baseball great prior to his White House visit, the picture triggered another Internet frenzy! Selfie victory #2.

As a rule (most corporate marketing and social media policies dictate this) the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes.  Unfortunately, with today’s selfie movement it’s evident not even President Obama is immune to the trend of corporate selfies and product integration.

Another noteworthy corporate selfie circus took place last month from a cancer-awareness campaign that debuted under the name “No Make Up Selfie.” It began as an innocent single selfie posted by an author who uploaded a picture of herself sans makeup in support of an actress whose looks were under scrutiny.

The movement resonated across the world with hundreds of thousands of women posting pictures of themselves minus makeup to heighten awareness for cancer research. Charitable organization Cancer Research UK quickly noted the popularity of the photo posts and decided to take advantage of the opportunity by tweeting, “We’re loving your #cancerawareness #nomakeupselfie pics.” As of March 2014, the charity group has received numerous donations including a staggering day in March when $1.5 million was raised in a 24-hour period. Selfie victory #3.

Corporate social media can be tricky especially in today’s world where there is no such thing as too much exposure. But it’s also important to accept that few will be drawn to you, your hotel or brand if they haven’t heard of your property or seen it in an alluring light. The manner in which you get your name out there via these outside-the-box, people-oriented campaigns is crucial because the shelf life of this trend isn’t seeing an end anytime soon.

Corporate selfie ideas for hotels

  • Pictures of your staff participating in a community or philanthropy outreach
  • Behind the scenes with your management team and staff
  • Onsite events, holiday ambience or celebration photos
  • Pictures featuring humans generate the most attention; 38% of the images on Instagram featuring faces are more likely to be liked, and 32% are more likely to attract comments.

Posting corporate selfies

  • Focus on the positive, your best amenities and strongest selling points.
  • Never mention the competition.
  • Don’t exaggerate or falsely advertise what you offer, as it could have an adverse reaction with guests plastering negative reviews across the web.
  • Find your “campaign niche” so you stand out from the plethora of social media users. Don’t be afraid to try a different approach.

While the selfie phenomenon may continue to puzzle some, to those who have grown up with the camera phone, the selfie is simply a means of communication, just like email and phone calls are to others. Once corporations buy into the selfie being about capturing people in a moment, I believe this trend will reach all generations and many more business sectors. Remember: corporate selfies are about collaborating with your guests and customers.

What are your thoughts on the corporate selfie upswing? Are you participating personally or professionally? If so, I’d love to hear!