What are the best alternatives to X for B2B social media marketing?
In the densely interconnected expanse of today’s digital ecosystem, navigating the complexities of B2B marketing feels less like charting a well-trodden path and more like plotting a course through the ever-shifting sands of the Sahara. And the oasis? The right audience. Simply being active on social media isn’t the golden ticket it once was. For businesses, it’s no longer just about showing up—it’s about standing out in the right places while avoiding the wrong ones. For example, should you still advertise on X (formerly Twitter)? Or are the risks too high? The wrong choice could damage your budget and brand.
Rethinking your X game plan
It’s a great time to take a fresh look at your approach to B2B marketing on X and your alternatives. Each social media platform boasts its own idiosyncratic culture, language and unwritten code of conduct. These evolving nuances, often subtle yet profoundly impactful, dictate not only who sees your social content, but how they engage with it. In the intricate dance of B2B marketing, understanding these distinctions is not just strategic—it’s imperative. The difference between a B2B social campaign that soars and one that sinks could well be the precision with which your company discerns where your audience truly resides—and how to speak the audience’s language on social media while staying on-brand.
The digital battleground of B2B social media marketing: choosing your arsenal wisely
With big shifts consistently altering the B2B social media marketing landscape, choosing which social platforms to spend your budget on is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in this sphere. This blog informs and facilitates your platform and ad spending choices and makes them easier to justify by breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the top B2B social platforms. We also provide pro tips and best practices that will not only help you get started if you’re new to a platform but will also enhance existing efforts.
Even by social media standards, it’s been a time of rapid change for the main platforms used by marketers. No social media company has seen more disruption and upheaval than the one formerly known as Twitter, so that’s a good place to start our analysis.
Navigating the X’d out Twitterverse: A new epoch of uncertainty
Recently, Twitter’s trajectory has morphed into something of a tech industry rollercoaster, fraught with sharp turns and sudden drops. Newly branded as X, the platform has emerged in a confluence of turbulence: an exodus of advertisers, user growth slowing to a standstill, new competitors and regulatory and legal challenges to boot.
There’s a gathering cloud of caution for B2B marketers. A quick analysis reveals:
A matter of brand integrity: The unpredictable tempest of X raises red flags. The last thing brands want is their campaigns brushing up against contentious content.
Audience shift: With the user count faltering, the once-lucrative Twitter audience for B2B is thinning and the audience that remains may not be conducive for some brands to maximize ROAS.
The allure of alternate platforms: The magnetic pull of platforms like TikTok and Threads beckons. Might they offer a richer ROI? The answer’s below.
The regulatory quagmire: If X’s legal and regulatory storms turn into a downpour, B2B marketers may find themselves traversing trickier terrains.
So, what’s the upshot for the denizens of B2B marketing? Should you simply move X spending over to LinkedIn and Facebook, or is there a more nuanced path forward that will deliver maximum investment returns?
Our advice for B2B movers, shakers and magnates of all sizes? You can avoid X’s issues around reputation, cost-effectiveness and compliance by taking your social advertising business elsewhere, at least temporarily. It’s a great time to hit the pause button on X campaigns, until the skies clear up. After all, in this turbulent era, one thing’s certain: expect the unexpected. By moving your marketing money from X to the following platforms and leveraging our suggestions, you can not only fill the online advertising gap but also improve your overall social media marketing performance.
However, if your B2B brand’s audience is on the X platform, there’s no need to abandon X. You should continue to advertise where your audience is, crafting your own brand messages to stand out. Following B2B social media marketing best practices on X is still worthwhile for those who know their audience is reachable there despite the platform’s problems.
Threads: A new alternative to X for social-savvy B2B marketers?
In the infinite sprawl of social media galaxies, new stars are birthed, often unnoticed amidst the luminance of bigger constellations. Enter Threads— a platform that, while less pronounced in the media’s hum, pulsates with potential and a uniquely personal gravitational pull.
July 2023 witnessed the birth of ‘Threads’, Meta’s latest brainchild and a sleek entrant into the nebula of photo and video-sharing platforms. Descending from the tech titan lineage of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, Threads aims to recapture intimacy in an era of expansive digital sprawl.
Its arsenal is rich: the capability to carve out snug groups, broadcast live location check-ins and even sprinkle a little augmented reality (AR) magic into your posts. And while it carries the prestigious Meta badge, signaling robust tech support and extensive reach, Threads is navigating the tumultuous waters of a market teeming with formidable rivals.
The jury’s still out on whether Threads will redefine our digital interactions or be another blip in the timeline of social platforms. But in an age where more doesn’t always mean merrier, Threads is betting big on bringing your inner circle closer than ever. Will the gamble pay off? As with all things in the rapid-fire realm of tech, time and performance metrics will tell.
Targeting millennial managers and Gen Z visionaries
Threads may seem enigmatic to the uninitiated, but the data sings a captivating tune. As of early 2024, this platform boasts a respectable 100 million monthly active users globally, but it’s been trending downward. Threads saw a rapid surge in user growth in its early days, but growth has slowed significantly in recent months. The demographic is intriguing: a mélange of tech-savvy millennials, Gen Zers forging their career paths, and a spattering of Gen X users, intrigued by the platform’s unique offering. About 60% of these users hold positions in mid-to-upper management in their respective organizations, fertile ground for the perceptive B2B marketer.
Threads’ allure isn’t just its user base, but the way it structures conversations. Imagine a tapestry of discourse, woven seamlessly, allowing for nuanced discussion and in-depth exploration, a far cry from the ephemeral and often fragmented conversations on more mainstream platforms.
Where B2B conversations can cultivate connections and thought leadership finds an intimate new stage
So, how does a B2B entity harness this untapped potential? Threads offers a wide-open canvas for thought leadership. Here, there’s not much B2B competition and plenty of room for expansive content — white papers, detailed product explanations, or even collaborative problem-solving. The platform is ripe for hosting webinars, roundtable discussions and AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions that use video, images, text and emojis to truly delve deep.
For B2B marketers looking beyond the cacophony of mainstream platforms, Threads offers an intimate amphitheater. Here, conversations aren’t just skimmed, they’re savored, understood and acted on—if you play your messaging cards well. If your B2B organization thrives on depth, nuance and genuine connections, Threads might just be your next digital destination. As of late 2023, the business sector hasn’t etched many tales of B2B triumph here, but innovation thrives in uncharted territories. Here’s a speculative Threads launch blueprint for ventures willing to pioneer:
- Invite them backstage: Threads could be your digital green room, revealing the curtain-raiser moments of your brand. Think immersive content: snapshots of dynamic brainstorming sessions or a team’s eureka moments.
- Engage with enticements: Orchestrating giveaways or contests aimed specifically at your B2B buyers can electrify brand engagement, turning the passive observer into an active participant.
- Collaborate with curators: Threads, with its budding influencer community, provides a potential avenue for authentic partnerships, opening doors to previously unengaged audiences.
But caution remains the watchword. Threads, still finding its digital niche, could become a new social mainstay or a fleeting whisper in the virtual wind.
In late 2023, Meta’s intriguing new platform remained a place where promoted content was conspicuously absent, but given Meta’s ad-rich legacy on other digital domains like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, one can’t help but speculate: Is Threads gearing up for its advertising epoch?
The hypothetical entry of ad content on Threads seems not just probable but also lucrative. The realm of B2B has found its footings on Meta’s sister platforms, so it’s conceivable that Threads might be the next B2B ad alternative to X. Until Meta threads that needle, B2B companies can effectively weave their brand presence within Threads’ tapestry by curating compelling content, orchestrating enticing events and partnering with the platform’s rising voices. Stay tuned. Threads might just be scripting its next act.
LinkedIn: The quiet titan of the professional realm
At a cursory glance, LinkedIn might appear as just another social media platform—but in the vast sea of digital communities, it unmistakably stands out as the de facto hub for professionals. Boasting 930 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, LinkedIn is by far the world’s largest professional networking platform. With more users than The New York Times has subscribers and website visitors, LinkedIn’s population isn’t just vast, it’s niche.
Delving into the numbers published by LinkedIn, around 61% of its users fall between the ages of 30 to 64—a demographic largely consisting of decision-makers, influencers and higher-ups. LinkedIn says 4 out of 5 members drive business decisions within their organizations. These aren’t just idle scrollers. They’re the movers and shakers of the business world.
Now, here’s the kicker for B2B marketers: advertising on LinkedIn isn’t just about reaching a massive audience, it’s about precision targeting. As with other digital marketing platforms, targeting and performance measurement features empower you to demonstrate ROI and justify ad budgets. As the premier platform for career networking, LinkedIn offers a unique way to tap directly into a concentrated pool of professionals, innovators and influencers. In the B2B arena, that’s not just opportunity—that’s a potential goldmine.
The digital boardroom offering B2B gold
Since its acquisition by Microsoft in December of 2016, LinkedIn has matured into a meticulously curated business enclave where suits meet screen, a platform with tailored tools that set the stage for B2B success. Here’s how:
- Sponsored content and sponsored InMail: Your direct line to decision-makers
Sponsored content is like having your brand’s billboard in Times Square, except this billboard is in the feed of potential business partners. It’s front and center, non-invasive yet prominent. But if that’s too subtle, there’s Sponsored InMail. It’s the digital equivalent of a smile and handshake, allowing you to slide directly into the message inboxes of professionals without the awkwardness of an unsolicited cold call.
- LinkedIn Ads and retargeting: A B2B marketer’s precision toolkit
Advertise on LinkedIn, and you’re not casting a wide net in the ocean—you’re choosing the specific pond or lake, even the fish you want. With an array of ad formats and the digital magic of retargeting, you can remind those fish of what they glimpsed but didn’t bite on their first pass. It’s a gentle nudge toward a strategically baited hook, like saying, “Hey, remember this opportunity that addresses a pain point?”
- Thought leadership content: Elevate your brand’s voice
On LinkedIn, content isn’t just king—it’s the emperor. Publishing insightful articles, commentaries and analyses not only boosts visibility but cements your brand’s reputation as a thought leader. In a space where knowledge is currency, such content is a magnetic force, drawing professionals to engage, ponder and connect. If you don’t have the personnel or bandwidth to produce thought leadership content, a strong B2B marketing agency like ours can fill the need, including ghostwriting and placement.
- Industry groups: The power circles of LinkedIn
Imagine walking into a conference room filled with the crème de la crème of your industry. LinkedIn’s industry groups are that room—virtual roundtables where discussions shape tomorrow. Participating in these groups doesn’t just mean visibility. It’s a ticket to be part of the conversation that crafts the future.
- Hosting webinars: The masterclasses of the business realm
In a world hungry for knowledge, webinars are your buffet. Hosting live sessions on trending business topics positions your brand not just as a leader, but as a giver—a brand that shares, enlightens and enriches. Plus, it’s a dynamic way to interact in real time with potential collaborators, partners or clients.
In the final analysis, LinkedIn is not just a platform—it’s a pulsating ecosystem of opportunities. For B2B marketers, it’s less of a question of whether to dive in and more about how deep you’re ready to go. The digital boardroom goldmine awaits. For an example of how to use LinkedIn at the highest level, let’s take a quick look at an industry paragon’s efforts on the platform.
Salesforce on LinkedIn: A digital symphony of B2B music that moves
In the realm where bits and bytes shape business dialogues, Salesforce isn’t just striking a chord. It’s orchestrating a symphony on LinkedIn. Check out Salesforce’s LinkedIn Profile. Beyond being a titan in the CRM software world, Salesforce harnesses LinkedIn’s canvas to paint a dynamic tableau of content that resonates with its key audience. Dive into the profile and you’re met with a medley of artfully crafted blog posts, immersive infographics and compelling videos—all weaving narratives around sales dynamics, leadership’s changing contours, the essence of marketing and the art of customer service.
But what sets Salesforce’s LinkedIn maneuvers apart? It’s content that doesn’t just inform—it captivates, educates and sparks dialogue. Every piece is a deliberate note in their digital opus, aimed at an audience spanning spirited sales aficionados, marketing maestros and customer service savants.
Let’s decode the dividends of Salesforce’s LinkedIn magnum opus:
Brand resonance: With each post, Salesforce is not just extending its brand narrative, it’s embedding its ethos within the consciousness of its audience.
Lead alchemy: Their content serves as a magnet, drawing potential clientele into Salesforce’s ecosystem, turning curiosity into concrete leads.
Customer chronicles: Through insightful content, Salesforce isn’t just talking at customers, it’s conversing with them, fortifying relationships with valuable insights.
Thought leadership persona: By continually elevating the discourse, Salesforce is staking its claim, not as just another player, but as a luminary in the CRM cosmos.
For those seeking a masterclass on B2B finesse on LinkedIn, Salesforce’s page isn’t just a recommendation—it’s essential reading.
TikTok: The unexpected B2B frontier
For the uninitiated, TikTok might seem like little more than a digital playground—a mesmerizing realm of dance challenges, lip syncs, and viral pranks. But look beyond the kaleidoscope of trends, and there’s an intriguing canvas for the innovative B2B marketer. As the adage goes, “fish where the fish are.” And on TikTok, the fish are teeming.
TikTok evolves into a digital juggernaut reshaping the landscape of engagement
Data from TikTok’s Chinese umbrella entity, Bytedance, reveals an eye-popping statistic: 1.1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) as of Q1 2024. Given the fact that TikTok launched in the U.S. in September 2017, that’s not just five years of explosive growth, that’s hyper-speed evolution.
Far removed from its nascent reputation as a Gen Z playground, TikTok has matured, with its magnetic appeal drawing in not just the digital natives but also a more seasoned demographic, including B2B purchasing decision-makers. TikTok’s special ingredient? Its buffet of bite-sized videos that get users hooked—ranging from the hilariously inventive to the profoundly enlightening, usually with music.
But it’s not just about play. The digitally addictive platform is evolving into a business powerhouse. With avenues to craft riveting narratives, launch highly targeted ad campaigns and forge alliances with digital influencers, TikTok presents a new arsenal for businesses aiming for the bullseye in audience engagement.
Digging deeper, it’s not just Gen Z holding the fort. Approximately 42% of TikTok’s user base is aged 18-24, but a robust 27% fall into the 25-34 bracket, and a surprising 16% are between 35-44. There’s an emerging cohort of decision-makers, budding entrepreneurs and professionals amidst the sea of younger users.
So, for brands looking to pierce the digital din, B2B marketing on TikTok isn’t just an option—it’s a phenomenon. It offers more than just 2.2 billion eyes worldwide—TikTok promises captivated attention. In the grand theatre of digital B2B marketing, TikTok is setting the stage for the next act with its heightened engagement and addictive hold on its users.
For B2B companies, this is where the marketing gold lies. Imagine creating snappy, bite-sized content that breaks down complex B2B concepts or showcases the culture of your tech startup. Picture a 60-second clip that gives a whirlwind tour of your manufacturing process or highlights a day in the life of your product manager. Then play your tailored video ads for a hyper-targeted audience segmented by interest, occupation, age, income and other prospect filters.
But why does this size, engagement and targeting make TikTok a viable option worth trying out? Here are your clinchers:
Global reach, localized impact: TikTok boasts a diverse, international audience. This allows for global campaigns that can be easily localized to resonate with specific markets.
Pulse on trends: Tapping into trending sounds or challenges can catapult your B2B message to a broad audience quickly.
Authentic engagement: TikTok thrives on genuine user-generated content (UGC). A well-executed, authentic video piece can generate organic conversations that traditional marketing struggles to achieve, especially if it catches on and goes viral.
In essence, for the B2B marketer willing to think outside the box, TikTok isn’t just a challenge—it’s an opportunity. It’s a chance to rewrite your B2B narrative, one engaging clip at a time. The future of B2B engagement is set to a catchy tune.
Adobe: The B2B social sailor navigating TikTok’s currents
Adobe, the software mastermind behind global favorites like Photoshop, is no stranger to innovation. But on TikTok, they’re not just being innovative, they’re setting the gold standard for B2B engagement in an arena best known for catchy dances and viral challenges.
Reviewing Adobe’s TikTok presence, you’re met with a buffet of content that serves a plethora of purposes. From handy product tutorials breaking down the magic behind their software to candid behind-the-scenes glimpses, Adobe crafts a narrative that’s both informative and captivating. Adobe’s B2B marketers capitalize on TikTok’s strengths to spotlight customer success stories, opening a window into real-world applications of their products. And lest you think they’re all business and no play, they occasionally drop creative challenges, nudging users to conjure their own digital masterpieces using Adobe’s suite.
This content strategy isn’t just about brand visibility—it’s a meticulously plotted campaign that achieves multiple feats:
Brand resonance: By consistently sharing enriching content, Adobe amplifies its brand presence amongst its diverse target audience, which includes B2B buyers.
Lead magnetism: Adobe’s adroitly curated TikTok videos effectively channel potential B2B customers toward their official digital domains.
Cultivating connections: By delivering value, Adobe not only keeps their existing clientele engaged but also cements long-lasting relationships.
Thought leadership: Through insightful content, Adobe further solidifies its stature as a pioneer in the creative software realm.
In the dizzying whirl of TikTok, Adobe doesn’t just ride the wave. They direct its flow. And if B2B entities need inspiration to harness this platform’s prowess, Adobe’s TikTok saga is the playbook to pore over.
Keen on replicating Adobe’s success or etching your own B2B story on TikTok? Conventional social media best practices apply, such as tailoring your content to resonate with your B2B audience, posting with a steady cadence, capitalizing on trending hashtags and basing optimization decisions on performance metrics. Also consider these platform-specific nuggets:
- Shoot and edit your TikTok videos within the mobile app to capitalize on its algorithm’s preference for content made exclusively for TikTok.
- Prioritize authenticity over high production value. TikTok’s algorithm rewards genuine content, not video quality.
- Embrace diverse video formats to stoke interest.
- Maintain a frequent and steady posting rhythm. Weekly is not enough on TikTok where videos and attention spans are short. Post a 30 to 60-second video daily if you can.
- Engage, don’t just post. Interaction is the lifeline of TikTok.
- Spruce up your videos with colorful graphics and fun sound effects.
- Remember, on TikTok, you’re always just one viral video away from an absurdly high social media ROI.
Never post sensitive company or employee information on any social media platform and be extra vigilant about personal or private information showing up in TikTok posts. TikTok’s parent company is subject to China’s legal and regulatory framework, a fact that is significant in the context of global cybersecurity considerations, including corporate espionage.
Deciphering B2B branding potential in a multi-platform age
Scanning the sprawling digital mosaic, five other platforms merit consideration by B2B marketers, each emanating distinct wavelengths of opportunity.
YouTube: The video behemoth is no longer just a desktop hub for vloggers and cat videos. It’s a thriving cosmos of mobile and desktop tutorials, product reviews and brand stories. With its expansive reach and audience diversity, YouTube offers B2B brands the stage to demonstrate thought leadership through webinars, product demos and customer testimonials—an invaluable tool when 70% of buyers view videos during their path to purchase.
Pinterest: Often overlooked in the B2B sphere, Pinterest has an uncanny knack for driving referral traffic. Infographics, how-to guides and visually compelling product images find a home here. Its board-based system acts as a visual discovery engine, making it a covert powerhouse for niche B2B sectors seeking to leverage visual content.
Snapchat: A dominion of Gen Z, Snapchat pulses with fleeting content that demands attention. It might seem counterintuitive for B2B, but for those targeting younger entrepreneurs or startups with a lifestyle element to the brand or offerings, Snapchat provides a rare glimpse into ‘in-the-moment’ brand authenticity.
Facebook: The old guard of social media, Facebook is now a double-edged B2B sword. While its organic reach has waned, its robust advertising system and the massive, diverse user base can’t be ignored. Facebook Groups, in particular, are golden for community building and fostering professional discussions.
Instagram: A visual symphony, Instagram is the original social photography platform. IG thrives on storytelling through imagery and short video snippets. B2B brands, especially those with tangible products or captivating behind-the-scenes processes, can harness Instagram’s Stories and Reels to weave narratives that resonate.
So, which of these social platforms comes after LinkedIn in the B2B branding hierarchy? For sheer versatility and depth of engagement, YouTube stands out in this group. Its ability to cater to different content formats—from short teasers to in-depth tutorials—makes it a linchpin for B2B brands seeking a dynamic and far-reaching presence online. In an age where video content is increasingly favored, YouTube is a coliseum where B2B brands can truly shine.
Today’s B2B social media marketing: A nuanced digital ballet
To conclude, B2B social media marketing isn’t just thriving. It’s undergoing a profound metamorphosis. Gone are the days when LinkedIn was the sole titan for professionals. Now, platforms like TikTok, Facebook and YouTube are fertile grounds for B2B narratives. The savviest enterprises aren’t merely broadcasting—they’re conversing, listening and pivoting in real-time. Rich, data-backed insights sculpt campaigns that resonate deeply, while augmented reality and immersive experiences are no longer just buzzwords, but actual options for a memorable B2B strategy. It’s a brave new world where the boundaries of business communication are redrawn daily, and those who harness the nuances are the choreographers of a dynamic digital ballet.
Navigating the online B2B galaxy with precision and panache
In the high-stakes game of B2B digital ascension, having an ally fluent in industry dialects isn’t just useful—it’s non-negotiable. The magic happens when rigorous data meets nimble tactics, steeped in a profound comprehension of both the channels that define your market and the voices that shape its conversations.
Yearning for a B2B social media strategy that doesn’t just communicate but captivates? Venture forth with Elevation Marketing. Our bespoke approach to social and influencer engagements ensures your brand not only has a voice but one that echoes across the digital cosmos, yielding measurable returns.