Entering the realm of information highway, it seems our lives are mostly revolved around the centre of social media. In 2013, selfie, which was so commonly used on the mainstream online platform, became the word of the year. (Oxford Dictionaries 2013) As I recalled back in the days when front cameras on smartphones were invented, it was a huge craze all over. The trend at that time was certainly none other than taking selfies. Countless filter or beauty applications were created to provide various alternatives for users.
Referring to Iqani and Schroeder (2015), “selfie is connected to concepts of authenticity, consumption, and self-expression, as well as practices of art history, media forms, and self-portraiture.” What initially started as a fun and pleasure activity for people to capture a picture of themselves; has become an opportunity passage to promote or sell off their own persona. Posting selfies today can be a lucrative career in money-making and gaining popularity. Celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid or Cara Delevingne, who have huge followings on respective pages, can earn up to $300,000 per post. (Saul 2016) Recently, Beyonce became the biggest endorsement with each post worth around $1 million as her pregnancy picture is most liked ever on Instagram. (Marsh 2017)
Social media is a place to portray and mould a certain image, usually of the better side of oneself. It is also a place to display or launch a personal alter ego, which is gratifying for their followers to learn and understand more of the celebrity figure that they idolize. From a brand perspective, this is surely beneficial for elevating audience engagement, brand expansion, new revenue streams and increased media attention. (Brubaker 2015) Interestingly, as social media is adjacent to the importance of self-representation; most selfies these days share common or generic characteristics, which are typically close-up shots or body figures, presented in a way that is considered pretty, handsome or attractive by the subject/photographer. Furthermore, pictures taken usually reveal these public figures leading glamorous lifestyles, wearing luxury designer pieces or enjoying fancy meals, that are patently well beyond the reach of a regular citizen.
It is no news brands uses celebrities endorsement on social media. As celebrities are paid to promote the goods and services; it does raise the question whether the posts made by these famous figures are trustworthy and credible? Bradic (2015) enunciated “the fact that social media provides us unprecedented insights into the lives of celebrities means it also has the power to make these endorsements seem all the more believable”. In order to select the right match for endorsement, companies do look into personalities, physical appearance, athleticism, intellectual capabilities or overall lifestyle; and someone who would seem to be an authentic customer of the product or service. (Bradic 2015)
These social media endorsement can be easy money for the celebrities whilst the brands gain beneficial results in brand awareness and increased sales profit. This marketing strategy will only continue to augment over time until there is another new intriguing possibility of concept arises. Since selfies are seen as commodity forms and consumer behaviour, the social media platform has become a marketplace for various brands to promote themselves through celebrities or major influencers; whereas for audiences, it is just another form of advertisement, but less hostile.
Bradic, L 2015, “Celebrity Endorsements on Social Media Are Driving Sales and Winning Over Fans”, Social Media Week, accessed online 4/4/2017, <https://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/09/brands-using-celebrity-endorsements/>
Brubaker, J 2015, “Grow Your Brand by Creating an Alter Ego”, Entrepreneur, accessed online 4/4/2017, <https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249456>
Iqani, M & Schroeder, JE 2015, “#selfie: digital self-portraits as commodity form and consumption practice”, Consumption Markets & Culture, Vol.19, Iss. 5, pp 405 – 415, accessed online 4/4/2017, <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2015.1116784>
Marsh, S 2017, “Want to advertise on Beyoncé’s Instagram? That’ll be $1 million”, Nine, accessed online 4/4/2017, <http://finance.nine.com.au/2017/04/06/13/58/beyonces-instagram-posts-cost-1-million-each>
Oxford Dictionaries 2013, “The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013”, Oxford University Press, accessed online 4/4/2017, <http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/press-releases/oxford-dictionaries-word-of-the-year-2013/>
Saul, H 2016, “Instafamous: Meet the social media influencers redefining celebrity”, Independent, accessed online 4/4/2017, <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/instagram-model-natasha-oakley-iskra-lawrence-kayla-itsines-kendall-jenner-jordyn-woods-a6907551.html>