small business selfieI was anti-selfie until recently. They seemed vain, and I wanted no part in them. But as I became more involved in Instagram, I noticed that I liked other people’s selfies, especially if they were only occasional. So I posted one of my own, the one here, of me in Chicago.

This photo received more likes than anything I’ve posted so far on Instagram.

That reception and a recent article by James Franco on selfies for The New York Times has me rethinking my stance on them.

So here are my thoughts on selfies and small business owners:

  1. How relevant are you to your brand? If your business is very closely identified to you, selfies make a lot of sense. If not, sending a selfie through your feed every once in a while might be a fun way to jazz up your content, but definitely shouldn’t be your focus.
  2. Selfies work better on some mediums than others. Instagram is a great place for them. Twitter can be too. But you have to be careful on Facebook. You’re likely only posting only once or twice a day on Facebook, so you need to substantially spread out selfie posts.
  3. Consider selfie context. A straight-up shot of you smiling for the camera is a lot less interesting than if something else is going on. I posted this one of myself on Instagram because I’m wrapped up ridiculously in a scarf. As a Los Angeles native, this is unusual for me, and many of my followers know that. If you’re a mechanic, it might be fun to take a selfie of you in front of an unusual car you’re about to work on. If you’re in retail, maybe you’re modeling some new earrings you just got in. Or if you’re going to a convention in a sunny climate, post a selfie of you with palm trees behind you.
  4. Selfies can include others. Selfies with happy, smiling clients are definitely a good thing! Selfies with celebrities are also sure to get a response.
  5. Don’t get too selfie-centric. There’s a reason selfies have a bad rap. View them as fun one-offs to keep a good perspective on them.