Whether we care to admit or not, we’ve all taken one or been forced to take one. I’m talking about selfies. Selfies are digital self-portraits that began to really take off when smart phones became equipped with the forward-facing camera. The photos themselves haven’t radically changed retail or downtowns – believe me, people were taking self-portraits even when they had film cameras. However, when the digital self-portraits are uploaded to social media platforms and tagged and shared by users across the world, that’s when it starts to have an impact on the brand and identity of a retailer or an entire downtown.
|Greetings from Austin Mural, TX. Photo: Yelp|
Beyond food selfies, commercial districts can also use iconic art and signage and interactive sculptures to encourage selfies by visitors and to reinforce their identities. In the past, we’ve featured the I Amsterdam sign as one example of a way that signage can drive popular images posted on social media. Many other downtowns have driven high visitation rates with iconic selfie spots. Here are some examples:
Finally, make sure you aggregate the selfies and build your downtown brand through a common hashtag or downtown social media account that visitors can tag in their posts. This can help you drive traffic to your downtown website or even directly downtown! Make sure everyone on social media ‘liking’ or ‘retweeting’ posts is able to connect the selfie to your downtown.