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Social media postings and pictures help retailers sell products

Tuesday - 5/21/2013, 1:36pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Your pictures, check-ins and postings on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter provide online brands with a new fashion model -- you.

Photo crowdsourcing services, such as Olapic, search social media sites for the brands that hire them and look for anyone wearing that brand. And when these services spot the brands of their clients, you could end up on the brand's website, helping to sell its product. But don't expect a check in the mail.

According to the Wall Street Journal, retailers are finding that shoppers are more likely to turn to their friends or peers to get fashion advice, and not a staged model.

Brands are finding that using pictures of real people wearing or using their products works better than most fully-funded national ad campaigns. Some manufacturers, like LuLuLemon and Coach, even ask their customers to send in pictures of them wearing the brand's products.

So how do those caught in a candid moment feel about becoming the face of a brand?

The Wall Street Journal says retailers find that loyal customers are fine with their images being used on the brand's website or social media pages. And as far as privacy goes -- well, most companies follow the privacy agreements dictated by the social media companies. So if you're image is used, chances are, it's fair game.

However, if you find yourself on an advertising site where you would rather not be, you can request to have your photo removed.

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