Reinventing the “Selfie”: 3 Types of Selfies That Will Help You Build Your Personal Brand Online

The “selfie” is probably one of the most widely recognized terms in the realm of social media. Typically, when we think of selfies, we think of post-adolescent girls snapping pouty-faced pictures in a bathroom mirror, usually with the signature caption, “bored”. Now, to say that people are growing a little sick of the narcissism is to put it delicately. But in my world, just about anything can be re-purposed and used for good. So I declare 2014 the year that we re-invent the selfie. My theory is that if done correctly, the right kind of selfie can draw very positive attention and help to build a strong brand.

Selfies with action

Action selfies are my favorite because they catch you in the midst of those care-free, conquering the world, leap of faith moments that you just can’t recreate. I find them to be the most inspirational because they display real chutzpah. Some good examples would be pictures of you accomplishing things that you may not have thought possible like signing the deed to your first home, crossing the finish line at your first marathon, or getting on that death-defying roller coaster at the amusement park. Action selfies show you during some of your most vulnerable moments. That’s important to your brand because people like and trust people that come across as being realPictures like the one I’ve included below reinforce my brand because I make a living teaching others how to use education to grow from their weaknesses and this is a very triumphant moment for me.

I particularly take great pride in the photo below because I always think about the first time I ever had to give a speech. It was 6th grade and I had to tell a story to my class. I remember being so nervous that my teacher had to ask me to go out in the hall and get some water because she was afraid I was going to faint. So to see myself years later, making my living, so confidently standing up in front of people I don’t know and giving presentations, marks my growth. 

Leading a workshop for Delta G.E.M.S.
Leading a workshop for Delta G.E.M.S.

Selfies with a message

I absolutely love Textgram. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Textgram is a complementary app to Instagram. Rather than just visuals, it allows you to upload a photo and incorporate text into the shot to add more meaning and impact. I’ve featured one of the most recent photos I saw on Instagram below that really inspired me. It’s a photo of world-renowned DJ and creator of Black Girls Rock!, Beverly Bond. She was quoted in the photo boldly proclaiming, “I want to step into my leadership confidently, honor my purpose fearlessly, and manifest my next level of success boldly.” One of the first things I do in the morning is flip through Instagram and Facebook for news and inspirational morning musings and this one was right on time. Seeing photos like this makes me admire Beverly’s brand of boldness and empowerment. It makes me believe that she is living what she preaches and creates good feelings towards the projects that she produces. And because she included a quote from herself, it revealed to me more about what she thinks as a human being.

The gorgeous Beverly Bond.
The gorgeous Beverly Bond.

Selfies with a purpose

Let your selfie display a moment in your life where you are doing something meaningful. Over the Christmas holiday I volunteered at one of our local Boys and Girls Club’s holiday parties. We were giving gifts to the children and families at the club as a token of appreciation. The event was a total success and I just had to get a photo to remember the day. My selfie that day not only served as a proud moment for me, but also as an inspirational moment for someone else looking for ways to give back in their community.

You can also use selfies to promote your business or a special project you’re launching that you want to draw attention to.  For example, a friend of mine is a fitness instructor and she frequently posts selfies on Instagram advertising the effects her strength training classes have had on her own body. The responses she gets are amazing and they often result in new students wanting to take her classes. Now that’s a selfie that says anything but “bored”.

Volunteering at the Berryhill Street Boys and Girls Club, Harrisburg, PA
Volunteering at the Berryhill Street Boys and Girls Club, Harrisburg, PA

So challenge yourself today. Embrace “selfie Sunday” this week with a different kind of attitude and show us who you really are.

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