How to Choose the Best Social Network For Your Content

According to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute, the average B2C marketer uses four social media networks to distribute content, whereas the average B2B marketer uses five—five networks, five distinct audiences.

As marketers, it’s important to be aware that not all social networks are equal. Each network has its own audience, and the content you share on one may not be as relevant as it is on another. To get the most bang for your buck, you must share the right content on the right channel.

How do you choose the best social network for your content? Read more…

The Social Media Strategies Summit

Social Media Strategies Summit Las Vegas has been ranked #2 of the top 5 biggest social media conferences of 2013! Join other top brands and thought leaders for 3 days of interactive workshops and presentations. Everyone and anyone interested in learning from the best, how to harness the power of social media to further your brand’s reach and impact.
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The Social Media Strategies Summit

RIP LinkedIn Answers

LinkedIn will pull the plug on LinkedIn Answers, its Quora-like Q&A service, on Jan. 31.

The company sent an email to LinkedIn users on Thursday explaining the move. A LinkedIn rep sent the following statement:

“As of Jan. 31, LinkedIn Answers will be retired from LinkedIn. We will be focusing our efforts on the development of new and more engaging ways to share and discuss professional topics across LinkedIn. In the meantime, members can still pose questions and facilitate professional discussions through other popular LinkedIn channels including LinkedIn Polls, Groups, or status update.”

The apparent reason for the move: It was driving fairly limited engagement.

The company introduced LinkedIn Answers in 2007. The product let you post a question to your network (including second-level connections) and let other LinkedIn users provide answers. Questioners could rank the best answers and the person who provided the best answers would carry more weight for future Answers.

Amy Vernon, gm for SocialMarketing for Internet Media Labs, wrote in a blog entry that she’s going to miss the product: “Maybe not everyone who uses LinkedIn uses the section. The people who do use it, however, find great value, and there are many. When I answered a question there after I was laid off from my newspaper job a few years ago, that led to one of my first consulting gigs, which in turn led me to the path I walk now. So, sure, part of it is likely sentimental. I can be like that sometimes.”

The move comes after Facebook announced last October that it was shutting down its Questions product. Like LinkedIn Answers, Facebook Questions never managed to replace Quora, which had around 1.5 million monthly visitors as of last July.

Todd Wasserman, Mashable marketing editor & Scrabble enthusiast

Facebook Cover Photos Are Disappearing

In the scope of a couple of days, several people — including Mashable staffers — have seen their Facebook cover photos disappear without explanation. The issue appears to be a move by Facebook to aggressively crack down on images that are considered promotional.

I first encountered the issue yesterday when Facebook ostensibly removed a promotional still from the TV series Doctor Who that I used as a cover photo. When I attempted to upload another image, I saw this message:

Pick a unique photo from your life to feature at the top of your timeline. Note: This space is not meant for banner ads or other promotions. Please don’t use content that is commercial, promotional, copyright-infringing or already in use on other people’s covers.

Since we published the original article about the incident, several readers have come forward, reporting the same thing happened to them in the comments. In addition, three other Mashable staffers reported Facebook removing their cover photos in the last 24 hours.

When asked if there was some kind of crackdown going on, a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable via email that Facebook’s policies regarding photos and cover photos haven’t changed. Facebook’s terms of service specifies that a cover photo should be a “unique image that represents your Page.”

The exact reason why Facebook removed each cover is a mystery, since the user is not informed, except by the glaring empty space where the photo used to be. It could be due to a copyright violation or that the photo was deemed to “promotional.” Although Facebook removes the photo from the cover position, it doesn’t actually delete the photo itself.

“Facebook is in business to make money,” says Lou Kerner, a former social media analyst and founder of the Social Internet Fund. “The great thing about that is most ways they’re going to make money is by letting people do what they want — as long as it doesn’t break the law. For the most part, if they act in the user’s best interest, they act in their own best interests.”

While I speculated Facebook was removing cover photos to prevent the site from becoming too tacky, one of Mashable’s commenters suggested Facebook was looking to preserve its business model. After all, if brands recruit “ambassadors” by encouraging — or paying — them upload promotional cover photos, that would detract from Facebook’s own tools that are meant to help brands engage with their fans on the service.

Disney, for example, offers fans of its franchises images to download that are specifically formatted for Facebook Timeline. If this is indeed a crackdown, that practice could cease.

“That seems more heavy-handed than Facebook generally acts,” says Kerner. “That sounds very egregious to me in terms of how they want brands and people to interact. I don’t see how Facebook benefits by not allowing a brand’s fans to engage with the brand like that.”

How widespread is the practice? It’s hard to say from the evidence so far, but based on Twitter reactions over the last day, it’s definitely been happening regularly. Although some users say the removed photos were their own, the pattern that seems to be emerging is that the photos are either promotional or violate copyright.

Pete Pachal is a Tech Analyst at Mashable.

Twitter 2013: Future Looks Bright, But Will It IPO?

My personal relationship with Twitter hit a milestone on Christmas Eve. For the first time, a Promoted Tweet — an ad, essentially — made me want to laugh and share rather than grimace and push on through my news feed. Even better, from Twitter’s perspective, is the fact that I was on the mobile app when it happened.

The promoted tweet, perfectly timed for holiday joke-telling, was so witty, subtle and brief, I don’t even mind giving the company some free publicity by repeating it in a story. It was from Dos Equis, and simply read: “He speaks reindeer.” No further words, nor even a link, were necessary. (I don’t often remember promoted tweets, but when I do …)

Ads that work this well are extremely hard to blend into social media, even harder to accomplish in a mobile context. As we discovered in 2012, the formula is almost impossible to get right, and getting it wrong means pissing off millions of users.

But Twitter seems to be closer to cracking the code than most. Its ad sales are rising precipitously, to the point that 2013 is going to be a very good year indeed — one where the company may start to glimpse the giddy heights of $1 billion in annual revenue, and where it might make sense for the company to go public. Read more…