Laura Petrolino

Do Selfies Sell?

By: Laura Petrolino | September 9, 2014 | 

SelfiesBy Laura Petrolino

The other night I went to a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game with some friends and my dog.

It was a special night at the ball field because they allowed dogs into the stadium to raise money for the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

(We even got to parade around the in field!)

It was a super fun night full of baseball, dogs, and selfies.

That’s right…selfies.

At one point we were sitting in the stands and in looking around realized EVERYONE was taking a selfie of themselves with their dogs.


Of course not.

Selfies have taken over our photographic lives (and obviously those of our dogs as well).

These ball game doggie selfies were just a fraction of the approximately one million selfies taken daily and showing up across all the social networks.

And when you add in monkeys and other assorted wild life taking selfies, who knows what that number might rise to.

Selfie Sensation

The fact is, we love to photograph ourselves. Everywhere. Everyday.

So much so that 30 percent of all photos taken by those between the ages of 18-24 are selfies.

So of course, when anything is this popular, the question that always wanders into the minds of communications professionals is…

Do Selfies Sell?

Samsung certainly hoped so after the most famous selfie ever, which was taken at the Oscars, scored 3.5 million retweets and 32.8 million impressions in its first 24 hours.

But frankly (and maybe I’m just out of the loop), I had no idea a Samsung camera was used until I was researching for this article.

So, Samsung brand awareness fell short on me.

And for those who did make the brand connection, how many sells can be traced back to the Oscar selfie?

How many people thought to themselves, “Hey Ellen looks amazing in this photo. I need that camera phone”?

I’m simplifying this process of course, but still, things that make you go hmmmmm, right?

What’s Your Selfie Strategy?

So how about the rest of us, who say can’t sponsor the Oscars, get in on the selfie craze, and perhaps even teach Samsung a thing or two about “selfie strategy”?

We’ve talked previously about the power of user-generated content, and selfies are perhaps one of the easiest and most fulfilling form of user generated content there is.

You can:

  • Use selfies as part of contests: Both to build community and your database for subsequent email marketing and lead nurturing tactics.
  • Ask for selfies of customers using your product. Imagine showcasing all the different ways, people, and locations your product is being used. You might even be surprised yourself.
  • Ask for selfies of how they might use your product. Not only does this show your community the need your product fills, but it also will give you a good dose of selfie-fueled market research.
  • Have your team provide selfies: A day in the life, out in the field, or even just being human to help provide a more intimate face to your company and brand.

And then, of course, all of these spectacular selfie submissions (YAY for alliteration) can be integrated across all of your media channels in the PESO model.

Some examples might include:


  • Build your database through a selfie contribution and/or voting contest.
  • Use social advertising to promote your selfie call-out or contest.


  • Leverage the feedback and interesting tidbits you are finding through your selfie collecting to write relevant and engaging pitches.
  • Host a selfie blogger challenge or meet up and get a bunch of industry bloggers involved in a selfie showdown.


  • Share.
  • Share.
  • …oh and share those suckers.
  • Create a branded selfie hashtag for your organization and community to use when posting selfies.
  • Engage your community and encourage their participation and interaction.

Selifes are closely tied to our ego and self-esteem so always being encouraging and supportive.


  • Put together a selfie video montage and provide a backstory about those included.
  • Pick a community or customer selfie each week and profile that individual.
  • Do a selfie Q&A as a result of a product use selfie, asking the contributor some basic questions about how they use your product.

Have Selfie-Control

Selfies can be overused and the world of user-generated content.

And it requires this tactic to match up with clearly defined objectives in context of your overall strategy.

Don’t be let your organization be that girl who posts 20 selfies a day.

That being said, the world is the limit on how you can set up, support, and use an integrated “selfie strategy.”

Making your consumer, prospect, and overall community part of your brand in this fun and shareable way can add an effective user-driven element to any communications plan.

Photo credit: My dog Oliver and I taking a selfie at the Portland Sea Dogs game.

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.