How not to go horribly wrong with business selfies

Sylvia Pennington

Snapping selfies and sharing them on social media has become commonplace, courtesy of the smartphone revolution.

Business selfies of yourself and your team on the tools can be an effective way to personalise your company and market its products and services to potential customers. Hit a sweet spot and you’ll score yourself some valuable free advertising, as your target market shares snaps of you and your staff with their own networks.

But mess it up and the brand you’ve slaved to build may be trashed - possibly irreparably if an ill-considered selfie or caption goes viral.

Two successful entrepreneurs share some tips for staying out of trouble.

You can’t fake authenticity and if you try to do so, you’ll be called out.

Don’t try so hard

Planning to call your staff together for a boardroom snap to illustrate the teamwork and togetherness that characterises your firm? Don’t bother, says Finder founder Fred Schebesta. A staged shot like this, complete with cheesy smiles, will do your rep no good.

“You can’t fake authenticity and if you try to do so, you’ll be called out,” Schebesta says. “Snap a picture of staff when they’re genuinely enjoying themselves in the workplace.”

Curb your enthusiasm

Posting regular selfies can keep followers engaged – up to a point. Bombard them with images several times a day and they won’t thank you for it, says Little Red Industries founder Natasha Dickins, who’s built a loyal Instagram following for her custom furniture and shop fitting enterprise.

“Too many selfies can be perceived as too much and if they’re not relevant, in-situ or part of your brand’s story then hit the delete button,” Dickins says.

Watch your back

It’s good to share, right? The client whose project is plastered across the white board in the background of your business selfie may not agree when their sensitive or secret information is on the net for all to see.

“Watch out for backdrops that inadvertently breach your clients’ confidentiality, or reveal that you haven’t actually finished their job yet!” Dickins says.

Watch out for backdrops that inadvertently breach your clients’ confidentiality...

Encourage engagement

The goal should be to have your followers not just view your selfie, but share it with their networks as well. You’ll stand the best chance of this happening if your photo appeals to the emotions and is topical.

“Look at what’s being discussed online,” Schebesta says. “See if you can incorporate a company selfie into a viral online discussion and don’t forget to utilise hashtags so your selfie is accessible.

“Be inventive, focus on those who embody your brand and inspire followers to share in awe, rather than animosity.”

Sylvia Pennington

Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.

Image: Sarah Van Quickelberg, Flickr Creative Commons license