Selfies… are you friend or foe? If you were to poll a crowd of people with this simple question, there is no doubt the responses would run the gamut.
But regardless of how you feel about people relentlessly taking photos of themselves, the selfie is a fad that’s still very much alive. Forget Facebook profiles… selfies can be found just about everywhere these days. Think about how many of these “gems” you come across on Instagram feeds, let alone group text messages, billboard ads, dating websites and apps, etc. And we can’t even talk about SNAPCHAT.
Yet, you have to admit – the selfie concept is actually working for businesses. Airlines are incorporating selfies into their video marketing campaigns. The tagline “Show Us Your #Shelfie” has been exploited by a number of companies, selling anything from books to beauty products. And major cell phone retailers are even advertising how easy it is to take a perfect selfie on their mobile devices!
Though perhaps the most noteworthy development took place when the word “selfie” was officially added to the dictionary. Yes, folks. “Selfie” is now part of the modern English language. Not to mention that according to Google AdWords, the keyword gets approximately 368,000 searches per month. But that’s really no surprise when the term has been popularized and reinforced by the likes of TV personality Ellen Degeneres, soccer star Lionel Messi, “Big Papi” David Ortiz, and even President Obama himself.
However, most of this hype around selfies is characterized by one common denominator – B2C marketing. So this begs the question: Is there truly a place for selfies in the B2B world?
HubSpot Inbound Marketing Specialist Dan Sally seems to think so. At the 2014 INBOUND conference, taking selfies became a running theme. Sally egged on the massive audience with the annoucement of his mission to complete a 10,000 Selfies Campaign, encouraging conference attendees to pull him aside at random throughout the week in order to snap a photo and then upload it to social media.
Does this accomplish anything? Some might say that’s debatable, but if anything, it showed off HubSpot’s energetic and customer-oriented corporate environment. One that people clearly enjoyed being a part of.
On the other hand, if you Google “B2B marketing and selfies,” you’ll come across naysayers who compare selfies to a narcissistic, product-centric marketing strategy. And I suppose they aren’t entirely wrong. As inbound marketing best practice dictates, the content you publish online should be customer-focused, with an emphasis placed on utility and providing answers to common prospect questions.
But I say this… a little branding never hurt anyone. Certainly not in HubSpot’s case.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am well aware that while some people are exuberant selfie fanatics that simply can’t take enough of them, others merely hear the word “selfie” and roll their eyes. And I am certainly not advocating that B2B marketers immediately start whipping out their phones, vigorously taking a boatload of photos, tossing on a flattering filter, and posting them all over the company website.
However, with that disclaimer on the table, I DO believe posting a thoughtful, tactical selfie (yes… I strung those words together) here and there could make a difference for your B2B company’s branding efforts. So hear me out…
Why Selfies Can Work for B2B Marketing
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, you have a product or service to sell to an online audience. So why not think outside the box? Though selfies may seem frivolous at times, they can serve a strategic purpose. Sure, they exemplify a potentially fun and compelling way to resonate with your target prospects – but selfies also address several B2B-specific challenges. Here’s how:
Challenge: B2B sales cycles are typically much longer – and the perceived buying risk is higher. So building relationships and a sense of trust with prospects is critical.
How Can Selfies Help? Your target customers want to connect with the people behind the business. They want to “humanize” your company and put a face to a name. Buying from an actual person to whom they can relate is much easier than buying from a logo. In a sense, selfies provide a sort of social proof – a glimpse into the digital relationship the buyer (and researcher) is forming with the seller.
Challenge: B2B companies are often perceived to be boring… even when they aren’t!
How Can Selfies Help? The fact of the matter is… people like to laugh. Selfies give business owners and employees the opportunity to showcase a little personality, as well as the company’s culture and values. If people have fun working at your office, why not show that it’s fun every now and then? B2B buyers want to work with like-minded people, and an entertaining photo can provide them with a window into your world.
Challenge: Cultivating an engaged audience on social media is becoming increasingly important for B2B companies.
How Can Selfies Help? Visuals still dominate the content marketing world, and it’s no secret they increase your click-through rate. But visuals also generate social interactions – comments, shares, retweets, etc. And with that comes excitement. As long as you are keeping your selfie content relevant to your target buyer personas, your social following could increase as a result of a single photo! Which ultimately means more eyes on the useful and valuable content you publish down the road.
Challenge: It’s every B2B marketer’s number one priority to generate qualified leads, but this is easier said than done!
How Can Selfies Help? Selfies might drive more traffic to your website, but they don’t necessarily rake in the right visitors. And the last thing you want to do is to increase your site’s bounce rate. However, if your image on social media (for example, a selfie with an industry influencer) links to a relevant blog post topic (let’s say… insights from an interview with said influencer), make sure you include a CTA button at the bottom of your post that directs readers to a landing page and form (for a related eBook, white paper, or another kind of offer). A few new lead conversions could end up being attributed to that initial selfie social post!
5 Ways You Can Implement Selfies into Your B2B Marketing Strategy
Okay, selfies aren’t for every company. Depending on your business, your audience, and the industry in which you’re selling, you are potentially walking a fine line between humor and tacky self-indulgence. It’s important to find that balance of fun & approachable and professional. How? It’s all about posting selfies in the right places through the right channels. Here are some quick ideas for where you can effectively utilize a selfie without compromising your B2B company’s reputation:
Instagram – Does your business have an Instagram account? Every once in a while, try mixing in an employee selfie with a tip of the week, quote, or piece of advice from that person. Make the selfie useful! Your B2B social posts should be adding value, no matter what type of content you are publishing.
About Us Page – One of the first pages many B2B buyers check out on your website is your About Us page, especially those buyers looking for a long-term solution. This is a great place to showcase your company culture. Could selfies play a role? Even if it takes the form of one giant employee group selfie (in the style of Oscar-hosting Ellen DeGeneres), feel free to show a little team unity.
Testimonials – Perhaps your clients have a good sense of humor. A thumbs up selfie for social media? A website testimonial about your services? Customer selfies with one of your products? You could even use selfies to promote a brand awareness campaign for an upcoming or new offering. Remember, B2B marketing is about building trust with target prospects... and customer reviews and feedback go a long way.
Twitter / Facebook – Did you attend an inspiring conference or an awesome event? Snap a selfie or two with a coworker and let your followers know you are dedicating time and energy to keeping up with industry trends. Then link to the write-up or takeaways from the event.
Blog Post – Is your B2B firm demonstrating thought leadership? With a little imagination, selfies can be cleverly applied as visuals to DIY “Do It Yourself” posts, field expert interview pieces, or even timely holiday-themed or news-related entries.
Speaking of blog post selfies… *ahem*
Now, I’m going out on a limb here... but I’m going to see how this works (please see my selfie below).
Welp, what do you think? Is this even remotely effective? Or just crazy... I’d love to hear some feedback.
As always, thanks for reading – Have a great week, everybody!