Twitter is long established as one of the most popular social media platforms. Its strict character limit forces brevity, which underlines its position as a rapid, shifting social media network.
Of course, with an estimated user base reaching a dizzying 400 million through 2022, the channel is also historically one of the most effective for marketing communications through user numbers alone. The sharper 280-character nature of tweets can be an ideal vehicle for business-to-business communications, where messaging is concise and value propositions must be punchy and direct.
Of course, with the incumbent generation of procurement officials and business directors growing up digitally native, Twitter can play a key role in business. This is reflected in the usage statistics, where it is estimated that over 80% of content marketers use Twitter as one of their core platforms.
However, Twitter is now hitting the headlines for other reasons – which may alter the future of B2B social media marketing strategy.
What is happening with Twitter?
After growing a personal following on the site over a number of years and becoming critical of how the site was governed, Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Tesla, purchased 9% of Twitter shares on the open market in April 2022. Later, Musk makes an offer to obtain the remaining shares for an astronomical $44bn, ostensibly to transform how the Twitter business is managed.
After several legal pursuits, fast forward to October 2022 and Musk successfully completes a takeover bid. A mass exodus gets underway as the Twitter workforce is cut down considerably through firings and resignations, and major changes to the verification system are made. This includes changing the way the blue tick verified symbol, used by celebrities and businesses alike, becoming a paid system.
Importantly, user figures for the site plunge into freefall – which is where we now find ourselves. For B2B communications professionals, a declining userbase brings a smaller audience, along with diminishing reach and impression metrics.
With the site developed by a much smaller team and a downturn in active users, many are considering if this is the beginning of the end for Twitter or simply an evolution in its history. B2B marketers have to stay aware of the ‘mood’ of a social network platform, which is why ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to messaging rarely adds value.
As Twitter has been one of the ‘founding fathers’ of social media and provided an excellent free outlet for quick news, updates and other offerings over social media, many businesses have existing accounts that utilise the platform and have grown over the 16 years of its existence.
A particular favourite exploit of Twitter was the ability to ‘live Tweet’ an event or provide connected sharing of stories via hashtags that worked excellently on both a personal and business level.
However, more recently both individuals and organisations have been moving away from Twitter as a means of sharing personal and corporate news as the draw no longer stands up well against better media sharing outlets like Facebook, Instagram or even TikTok, while from a business perspective, promotions and lead generation has switched enormously to the successful LinkedIn platform that operates as much as a personal ‘shop window’ as anything else these days for the working professional.
Therefore, the transition of B2B accounts away from Twitter should have less impact than previously envisaged as there is no longer demand for B2B material to be engaged with on the old network.
Could Mastodon be an alternative?
In the wake of significant change, new social media platforms come under the spotlight. Those looking to promote lifestyle products to the younger audience are far more likely to advertise on Facebook or Instagram, with the especially bold attempting to master TikTok. One of the most commonly mentioned is Mastodon, which could offer considerable value to B2B marketers if the current trajectory continues.
Rather than a central ‘stadium’ setup like Twitter, Mastodon is decentralised, split into servers by interest, with users able to dip in and out based on their preferences. Users join specific servers dedicated to their own interests, rather than every user being able to access every piece of content.
At present, Mastodon is free of advertising, which may curtail paid social media strategies. As the site user base grows, it’s likely that paid advertising models will be introduced, and the mechanics and costs are believed to be comparable to those on Twitter.
Why focusing on LinkedIn organic and paid posts could benefit B2B
Unlike Twitter with its strict character counts and fast-moving news items, LinkedIn provides a more comfortable setting for brands looking to present a powerful message and impactful offer on social media.
Launched in 2003, LinkedIn surprisingly outdates both Twitter and fellow social giant Facebook to be the oldest of the main social media networks still in existence. The platform’s influence has continued to grow within B2B circles and with more than 55 million companies listed on its platform and over 270 million users, it’s clear to see why connecting on here could considerably extend your reach.
It’s not just the numbers on the platform that matters, but also how that translates to elevating your brand’s messaging through click-throughs to your website. More than 45% of all social media traffic to company website’s come from LinkedIn making it an invaluable source of free traffic that is utilised by more than 90% of B2B marketers over all other social platforms.
The key to success is the nature of the behaviour of individuals on the platform. While some users may sit on Facebook or Instagram simply to pass the time, LinkedIn is extensively used to improve business ideas, make professional connections, promote your services or look for new work. This makes this audience prime for B2B engagement.
Not only that, but when you incorporate paid advertisements into the mix, you have a really powerful tool to not only promote your brand but to also directly sell your B2B services online.
LinkedIn provides a number of advertising services that are all powered by incredible personal data. More than 200 targetable characteristics are available on the platform which ranges from job titles to company names, levels of seniority, member skills and more.
As well as targeting a new audience you can also create ‘matched’ audiences from your existing CRM data, research data or through retargeting lists which further concentrates your efforts in promoting your wares online.
While the death of Twitter is starting to head towards the inevitable, the emergence of LinkedIn as an indispensable B2B tool could be the ideal replacement from brands trying to make waves on social media.
What might the future of Twitter hold?
With new platforms looming, the litmus test for Twitter will be whether its user figures can stabilise over the coming year. If it can, it may still prove a very valuable tool for brands in reaching decision-makers and driving traffic to their websites.
If you’re looking to always stay ahead of the market when it comes to social media and digital marketing strategy, speak to the team at PHD!
At PHD Marketing, we support our B2B clients with communications that cut through the static and bring a strong value proposition to the forefront. Working across key sectors including print, packaging, life sciences, pharma, technology, manufacturing and beyond, we know what it takes to connect a B2B brand with its ideal audience.
To find out more, simply drop our lovely team a message at [email protected]!