But First, Let's Understand the Selfie

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What is the most retweeted tweet of all time?

What was the most viral content of 2014?

What do the previous two questions have in common?

The answer to both is a selfie. Ellen’s selfie at the Oscar’s with a group of nominated actors and actresses, to be more specific.

A selfie is defined as an “image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks”. The second part of the equation, about posting on social networks, is what makes a selfie a dynamic bit of self marketing content.

People view selfies as pointless, narcissistic, and well, self-indulgent. And while that may be true, selfies do have a purpose. And selfies work – they get attention, engagements, and interaction.

Ellen’s selfie has been retweeted more than 3 million times, making the most retweeted tweet ever. The previous record holder was President Obama’s re-election tweet, which has 750,000 retweets.

Ellen’s tweet beat that record in half an hour.


According to Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis, Ellen’s selfie is worth $1 billion to Samsung, the smartphone she took the photo with. Consider that it was created ostensibly for free and spread across a free platform, it represents an infinite return on investment.

Brands hire marketing firms for millions of dollars to get this type of interaction and virality.

Ellen did it better than anyone. And it didn’t cost a thing.


What started out as a grassroots movement of people taking pictures of themselves to put on Twitter and Instagram is now monetized. When the Boston Red Sox visited the White House, David Ortiz took a selfie with President Obama on his Samsung Note 3. Samsung played up the connection, which drew the ire of the White House.

But it got engagements and interactions. It got attention. As far as marketing plans go, it worked.


There are 145 million images on Instagram with a #selfie tag. Just by sheer numbers alone, selfies represent a huge audience.

Outside of Samsung, many brands have already explored selfies as a means to marketing. Axe Deodorant launched a campaign featuring kissing couples uploading selfies, which resulted in 34,000 hashtagged tweets.

The marketing equation for using selfies in your campaign is to enable customers to take a selfie of themselves in a brand specific location, and publish the results on Twitter or Instagram with the proper hashtag.

Selfies are the most cost effective marketing campaign for brands. It’s also the most cost effective marketing campaigns for individuals. All a brand, or a consumer, needs is a smartphone and a social network.

The three biggest buzzwords on social media are virility, engagement, and humanity. The selfie checks off all three marks. And with its costs (nothing), it will continue to be the most effective marketing campaign for 2015 and beyond.

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