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ramialkarmi:

In all the spats about who can show a users picture on which network in which format, before Instagram and Twitter took away each other’s ball, Twitter was holding on to a hole card… their mobile application was ready to go with all the funky filters that morph people’s smartphone images into social media objects.

http://twt.lu/W41eqK

Sure, Twitter’s photo filters are only a pathetic attempt at making it seem like parting ways with Instagram was a good idea…or at least not a bad idea. But, the real questions remain:

Will this deter people from using Twitter? Deter people from sharing photos with 140 characters? 

I doubt it. Our pics will just be somewhat less sharable, but we’ll still try.

Ever wondered what your personal brand really looks like from the outside? Intel has created a super cool new tool called What About Me. You connect your Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts and it spits out a well-designed infographic. 

Pros: 

  • It’s cool
  • It’s easy
  • It’s unique
  • It’s free
  • Looks pretty

Cons:

  • Limited social platforms to analyze
  • Intel (ads) Inside
  • My Twitter profile (which I think says more about my personal brand) wouldn’t load. I tried three times before giving up. Maybe a bug?

Tagged as “A Picture of my Digital Life,” Intel has done a good job of creating a fun element for people to play with. And, I can’t tell you the last time I’ve even uttered the words “Intel,” so kudos to their marketing team.

Now, how can you actually use this in a practical manner for your business? Well, outside of just blogging about it as I’ve done here, not much. You can’t analyze a Facebook page and must sign in with your Facebook profile so even if you plugged in your business’ Twitter and YouTube the results would be a weird mix of business and pleasure…not the most flattering for some of us.

But, if your personal brand is also your business brand (think Kim Kardashian or a blogger) this could be a great way for your to leverage your knowledge, expertise, interests, and connections in a clean, visually appealing way. 

At the very least, it’s a great way to kill time. 

New stats are coming out about the popularity of social media in 2012. Perhaps the most striking is the mass number of followers for celebrities. Analyzed against country populations, I created this infographic to illustrate the comparison.

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I recently attended a webinar called “Sales Is Social,” and during the hour-long discussion we learned about to use social networks to boost sales. A lot of what was discussed is how a sales team can utilize its company’s existing social resources to find new prospects and relate to clients.

The webinar had some great suggestions on how social networks (namely LinkedIn, but this could work for Twitter, too) could help you become a better sales person through reaches, gathering intel, and contributing insights.

Attaining reaches is a no-brainer on networks like LinkedIn. Each of your company’s employees has a diverse background. We come from different parts of the country, have studied at various schools, have different hobbies, and therefore many different connections. One person (or company) may not be a prospect for your GM, but could absolutely be someone that is perfect for you and your next sales goal. Leverage these differences between you and your coworkers to introduce yourself to new people online. The point here is you never know who knows who, and by using our corporate network of employees, you can find new prospects you may never have known were out there.

By using social media to gather intel you can relate better to your new and existing contacts. Social sales is not chit chatting about your golf game like you might on the phone or in an in-person meeting. Instead it’s using the platforms to engage and find common ground professionally. Today’s networks have a plethora of information that is available to you about active members. You can learn where they studied, other places they’ve worked, hobbies of theirs, and a little about their family life. The more relatable you are to a prospect, the more likely they are to trust you.

Lastly, you can contribute insights aka be the expert. You already know a ton about your practice, trade, and industry. Being a know-it-all about the area in which you sell (best pizza joint, good realtor, best way home to avoid traffic, etc) is also considered insightful. Additionally, if you find that a handful or more of your prospects share a common interest in a particular hobby, sport, or whatever…make yourself an expert on that topic. Heck, even bacon ties people together these days. Your insights do not have to be trade related but rather should be topics that you are passionate about. That passion will resonate more than a forced post about “work stuff.”

These sales tactics do take time and results do not happen overnight, but if you build up your network and your own reputation online, you could see a huge difference in the results you bring in every cycle. The most important take-away is to just get online and start connecting with people. Even if your relationship never gets past a follow or connection, you’ll still be building that critical network.

Who you know is what you know.

You can watch the webinar in it’s entirety for free here: http://library.hootsuite.com/webinars/sales-is-social

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Mike Schaefer at Business To Community published a blog last week asking: "Should you out-source your Tweets?" and he wasted no time getting right down business.

"Should you out-source your tweets? No," read the first line of his blog.

He goes on to defend his reasoning citing an example of when outsourcing tweets turned into a PR disaster. 

I have a friend who had been building a Twitter relationship with a business executive she admired. They had tweeted back and forth a few times and he had provided some helpful career advice to her. When they had a chance to finally meet at a networking event, she introduced herself and was met with a puzzled stare. He had never heard of her before, and sheepishly explained that his PR agency was tweeting for him. Obviously his reputation was ruined for this young woman … and also to all those she talked to about the incident! 

So, sure…this does make outsourcing seem dangerous. But, why would anyone pretend to be someone else? Just because you’re outsourcing your efforts on Twitter does not in any way mean that person needs to pretend to be you. 

As a business owner or leader you should think of Twitter as one huge networking event. Sometimes you can attend the meeting yourself and sometimes you send employees on your behalf. But, never would you send someone there pretending to be you. That’s just weird. 

So, the issue isn’t about outsourcing. Rather it’s about faking it. 

Take three examples from major brands who are outsourcing their tweets and doing it right. 

  1. Oscar de la Renta: The team at Oscar de la Renta, a high-end luxury brand of women’s clothes and accessories, is very clear about who’s tweeting on behalf of the company. Their twitter handle says as much. The uber famous @OscarPRGirl has become a brand in and of herself posting self-photography known for their face hiding, caddy-cornered angels tagged as #OPGpose. No doubt this isn’t Oscar himself and any correspondence with the account wouldn’t make for an awkward introduction at the next NYFW. 
  2. President of the United States, @BarackObama: Let’s be real, the President doesn’t always have time to tweet, but the people look to him for guidance and leadership through his twitter account. Yet, he has an ongoing timeline full of inspiration, news, and photos. So how does he do it. Well, it’s all explained in the accounts bio which reads, “This account is run by #Obama2012 campaign staff. Tweets from the President are signed -bo.” This is a great way to give yourself the opportunity to tweet yourself when the time arises but also allow your team to keep the timeline active and relevant.
  3. Finally, another option is to have your team speak about you in 3rd person. So, if @TedJones is a local realtor who’d like to have a Twitter account but doesn’t want to do it himself, he’d outsource the work. The tweets that go out about him will never use “I,” “my,” “me,” etc. Instead, it’ll be “Ted Jones just sold his 34th home this year!”, “Come see Ted at the Tour of Homes parade today!”, “Ted Jones just got a new listing. Check it our here, [LINK].” When people do run into Ted, there might be some questions about who handles his Twitter account, since it’s not totally obvious (some people do like speaking about themselves in third person) but it won’t be cause for embarrassment for either party when he announces that he doesn’t. **Sorry I don’t have a real example of this kind of outsourcing. When I find one (they do exist) I’ll update you!**

So, you see, you don’t need to run your own Twitter account to have a successful line of communication with your fans, friends, clients, and customers. By using one of these examples you can be upfront, honest, and still utilize Twitter as a viable marketing resource for you and your work.