What many thought was a passing fad has actually proved to be something much more valuable. The selfie, which was named Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year, has quickly become one of the leading digital trends of today, for better or worse! As with any trend, marketers were eager to figure out how selfies could be leveraged into upcoming campaigns.

Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen brands embrace selfies more than ever before. In January 2013, about a dozen brands on Facebook put the selfie front and center, and by December that number rose to more than 207. On Twitter, the selfie saw similar growth, rising from 252 to 780 brands.

Here are some examples of successful marketing campaigns built around selfies.

Axe Deodorant


In an effort to capitalize on Valentine’s Day while promoting a good cause, Axe asked fans to show their sentimental side through selfies. To participate, consumers submitted photos of themselves kissing, using the hashtag #KissForPeace in honor of the brand’s global mission of nonviolence.

The campaign received more than 10,000 tweets and another 8,000 posts on Instagram. Axe shared its favorites across its social media channels in addition to cross-promoting the campaign through traditional advertising — such as digital billboards in Times Square.

BaubleBar

Earlier this year, researchers found that pictures with human faces were 38 percent more likely to receive likes than those without. They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments. Those statistics seem pretty accurate for online jewelry retailer BaubleBar, which uses customers’ selfies to display merchandise on its homepage.

“People want to see real people,” said co-founder Daniella Yacobovsky. “Thirty to 35 percent of our online traffic engages with that widget on the homepage or on the product page. We’ve seen conversion about four to four-and-a-half times higher with these people than from people who don’t engage.”

GoPro

No stranger to digital success, GoPro seamlessly wove selfies into its social media strategy without even needing to feature the product itself. “Our entire company’s mission is to make it easy to self-document and share life’s experiences and look good doing it,” explained GoPro digital marketing manager Kevin Platshon.

On Twitter, the brand’s user-created photos garnered several hundred favorites and retweets. “There’s more out there than just a POV shot,” said Platshon. “When our users turn the camera and look back at themselves — that’s really when our cameras and our company really started taking off.”

Turkish Airlines

Some brands are turning to celebrities to sell the selfie. Turkish Airlines hired Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi as the faces of a #SelfieShootout contest in which fans could upload selfies for a chance to win a free flight. The campaign became one of the travel industry’s most viral campaigns of the past year.

In addition to sharing selfies on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the brand demonstrated how the images could be effectively integrated through YouTube as well. The ad, which received more than 130 million views in just two weeks after its release, inspired the airline to create its own Selfshot app for iOS.

Urban Hilton Weiner

Fashion retailer Urban Hilton Weiner gave customers a $10 coupon if they tweeted a selfie of themselves trying on clothes using the hashtag #urbanselfie. Selfies that were uploaded to the company’s Facebook Page and garnered the most Likes, that fan could win a weekend trip to New York, London, Tokyo.

This campaign not only encouraged more people to visit its stores, but it also capitalized on something that many consumers were already doing. Think about it: how often do you snap a photo in a dressing room? With the hashtag, the brand was able to leverage this activity and take advantage of shoppers sharing selfies with their networks.

This doesn’t mean that every single selfie-inspired campaign will find success — sometimes marketing is more about trial and error. Not every trend will resonate with your audience. Before you can even think about integrating, you need to know who makes up your audience and what type of content they interact with. If used creatively and intelligently, selfies can play a significant role in your marketing strategy.