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If Your Business Took a Selfie

Since the creation of “selfies” and the first Instagram #selfie tag in 2011, selfies have become an unstoppable phenomenon. Mashable released an excellent article revealing the positives they have brought to society: confidence and self-expression. They’ve been around for longer than most people think and are more exposing than expected. Essentially, you are putting what you believe to be your best foot forward for approval and for "likes".

But what if the camera was flipped from outward views and pointed towards your company? What would the picture look like? Would it look like a bathroom mirror shot? Puckered-lip duck face? Perfectly edited and filtered glamour shot? A couple’s photo?

Most successful companies have quarterly reviews, goal sets and projections, but what if your company took a look at what their appearance is to the world? Selfies have become common ground on social media. So much so it has even put a comical spin on historic occurrences.

Let’s digest some of these selfie selections that could describe your company’s style...

The bathroom mirror pose.

Unknowingly, this type of selfie exposes more than most people would wish, leaving them vulnerable. This snapshot shows all the dirt on your mirror and depicts the aspect of looking more at yourself than your surroundings. If your business is public record, don’t flood the outside world with added dirt or toothpaste splatter. A prime, overly exposed example of showing just a bit too much is Canada’s Mayor Rob Ford. Being honest is usually a positive practice but know the limits of what you want the world to see. Your company, the detailed and organized structure it is, should be showcased, not the inside of your bathroom.

The duck face.

This flatters no one. Unknown to mankind is the reason this face-distorting photo pose has become infamous. The issues: it transforms your appearance to an unnatural and seemingly uncomfortable presentation and does not give any sense of confidence in the natural abilities your company possesses. Your company may be all about communication, therefore wanting to showcase its mouth, but this display reads vanity, one-sided communication and slight insecurity to the public because you cannot show what you would look like without jutting your best feature forward. This pose has a relatively easy fix: try not to make it all about you. Shane Snow’s https://twitter.com/shanesnow article from FastCoCREATE.com talks about what will earn you friends and followers in the business world, and it’s not by being conceited. Giving your audience free, useful and informative content focused on them rather than shining the light solely on yourself is Snow’s main point.

The filtered and fixed photo.

Taking a selfie is one thing, but when lighting is filtered, teeth are whitened and blemishes deleted, people are transformed from normal individuals to instant magazine models. This is the purest form of false advertising, which never leaves customers with positive reviews. Photo-fixing apps are as popular as word games on smart phones which ultimately give you the opportunity to be your own personal makeup artist and professional photographer with a swipe of your index finger. Companies have been committing this cruel act of getting customers’ hopes up by promising full, large and juicy burgers but serving squished, small versions of the commercial beast. When have you ever gotten a Big Mac or taco packed as full as those on the ads you read in the paper? Pretty pictures, illusion based advertising and unbacked promises may draw people in, but once they realize they’ve been duped, they’ll go as swiftly as they came. Costco has found this out the hard way: twice. Saying you sell Tiffany’s rings and Michael Kors bags is all great marketing until they ind out and inform you that, in fact, you do not sell these high-end products. The truth, the fact that what you have is unique without all the fabricated alterations, is what customers want anyway.

The couple’s shot.

A good start to any selfie, and if we’ve learned anything so far, it’s not to be so uncaringly self-centered. Adding another person to your shoot without a photographer changes the entire dynamic of a selfie. Usually, couples take selfies at romantic destinations to make mark of memories or to sometimes show over exaggerated expressions of their love. If your company has reliably loyal customers or is partners with an equally successful entity, show your appreciation! In Sales Force’s Pardot article, one on one marketing is one of the fastest growing ways to reach customers 24/7. Everyone is grateful for personalized messages and shoutouts, so while you are sending emails, tweaking tweets and updating Facebook, remember the people you are trying to reach. This type of marketing will show your interest as well as give your company the credibility of real, relatable testimonials for future companies to see.

The Oxford English Dictionary named “selfie” as “Word of the Year in Novemeber this year, and after 2013 media was littered, covered and taken over by selfies, marketers and advertisers have begun efforts toward the “unselfie.” LinkedIn recently published an article in hopes to aid the second annual #givingtuesday on social media. Giving Tuesday was dedicated to kick off the charitable months of the year when budgets have some left over funds to give and people are simply in the cheery, giving spirit. Their campaign was to promote the “unselfie” which basically a showcases genuinely generous souls. With social media and online involvement, there was a 50% increase of online giving that Tuesday as well as multiple organizations who pledged, partnered and gave to charities.

If you want an example how you are portrayed through your choice of selfie, take a look at the poorly-timed selfie situation Barack Obama got into. The President is known for his public appearances, whether a good light or bad, but his latest selfie with British and Danish Prime Ministers at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa. There is a slim chance for this to be spun in a positive way, so take it from the President: time your group selfies wisely.

So make this year about the unfiltered selfie. Take a step back and evaluate the type of image you are giving your audience. Don’t distort or present a façade, but be honest and focus on the customers and clients that make your business the success it has become.