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“Selfie” Generation Wants to See Your Stories

In March we looked at how the now famous “Oscar selfie" was creatively “newsjacked” by many non-profits. But the “selfie” isn't just a trend for celebrities. In fact, there are some pretty compelling reasons why non-profits and membership organizations might want to pay attention to the “selfie” trend.

1.1 Selfies Posted on Instagram Every Second

So aside from Ellen (and of course my kids and their friends), who are taking "selfies" and why are they important?

According to Ben Baker (npEngage), “1.1 posts including the hashtag “#selfie” were uploaded to Instagram every single second, that means 4,000 were uploaded per hour, 95,700 were uploaded per day, and a whopping 34,924,648 were uploaded across the entirety of 2013.”

1.1 per second! And of course, that's just the photos that were tagged and uploaded to Instagram, never mind all those shared on Facebook, Snapchat, etc. 

Understanding how this impacts your communications 

So why should we care that an entire generation (and many of us older folks too) are taking "selfies"? As Baker suggests in his post, while the “selfie” trend might fade away, it offers some insight into an entire generation of Millennials – their social media habits and more generally, the ways they prefer to connect and be communicated with.

Baker suggests:

...the roots of this craze go much deeper than a simple ego-stroke. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the “selfie” craze speaks most truly with what draws us to social media in the first place. My generation wants to be known. The great thing about social media is that it creates a level playing field (or it, at least, creates the illusion of one).... And, honestly, anyone from my generation knows that one of the best feelings you can get from social media is actually being recognized by one of these entities.

This selfie generation “want to be talked with, not talked to.” This means that organizations – such as non-profits, clubs and membership organizations – need to re-think how we communicate and share information with all generations of our members and supporters.  As Baker suggests, this involves “treat[ing] people like people. Let us not forget that social media was created so that we could dialogue with others, not lecture them.”

How you can show rather than tell your story

In another post, From a Millennial: Nobody Wants to Hear Your Stories. We Want to See Them, Baker offers suggestions on how organizations can show, rather than tell their stories to get the attention of the Millennial generation.  He suggests non-profits can use captivating photos to “raise awareness about [their] unique stories to a generation of naturally attention-deficit individuals”, and he refers to a separate post by Ryan King that offers some great ideas for using Pinterest and Instagram to share stories with supporters. Some of the ideas King suggests include:

  • Picture of the Day: “Why not give them a sneak peak online or remind them what they are missing out on by not visiting regularly?”

  • Campaign Updates: show rather than tell your campaign status (e.g., “if it’s a building project, show pictures of the construction. If it’s to bring in a new animal at the zoo, put pictures of the animal and say how close it is to arriving.”)

  • Behind the Scenes: offer images that help folks “keep up with the latest and greatest information” about your organization (e.g., photos of preparing for an event; sending out a shipment overseas, etc.)

These are just a few ideas for using photos or other images to help show rather than tell your organization’s story to the “selfie” generation.  Of course, you can also go the more traditional route and actually take group selfies at events and during projects as well. Then be sure to share these on your social networks with captivating captions and descriptive hashtags.

How are you showing your stories visually on your website or via social media? Share some ideas in the comments below.


Image source:
 “Dog Selfie” – courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com


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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Thursday, 08 May 2014 at 8:30 AM
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