LinkedIn is, of course and unquestionably, the Tom Brady of social media platforms for B2B marketing. But in B2B social media as with NFL quarterbacks, the interesting battle is for second place.
For the past decade, Twitter has (most often) been ranked as #2. Is that still the case? And if it is, can Twitter hold onto that spot?
On the plus side for the platform, most sources still rank Twitter as the second-best social network for B2B marketers:
- MTC notes that while LinkedIn “makes up over half of all social traffic to B2B websites and blogs,” Twitter is “a melting pot for the voices and opinions of industry thought-leaders, experts and advocates, often with huge followings and well-established communities.”
- Khoros acknowledges that “80% of leads sourced through social media for B2B marketers come from LinkedIn,” but contends “Although the use of Twitter is down 8% since 2014,7 it still ranks second in the list of top social media platforms. Marketing leaders and their CEOs understand that it’s an efficient and effective way to get out their message.”
- Digital marketer Shane Barker writes that though LinkedIn is the clear #1 choice for B2B marketers, “Twitter is a place to ‘see what’s happening’…87% of B2B marketers use Twitter for content marketing. And so, Twitter makes its way to the top B2B social networking platforms for implementing content marketing strategies.”
- And according to Sprout Social, after LinkedIn, Twitter is second among a “select few channels that are ‘best’ when it comes to B2B social media…a prime place to spot trends and interact with customers and business influencers alike.”
So, Twitter is solidly locked as the second-best social network for B2B marketing, right? Maybe. Maybe not.
On the Other Hand
Nevertheless, there are storm clouds gathering on the horizon for Twitter, at least in terms of its being a serious B2B marketing social platform.
First, there are other significant voices questioning that placement, and suggesting other networks may have already overtaken Twitter as the second-best social platform for B2B marketing:
- CMS Wire muses that the #2 social network for B2B marketers might still be Twitter…but it may be Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.
- Gripped ranks YouTube as the second-best social network for B2B marketing, followed by Instagram, then Facebook…and finally Twitter, in fifth place.
- “According to Hootsuite polls run on LinkedIn and Twitter, the best platforms are LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In that order.”
- COSEOM, meanwhile, contends that Facebook is among the best ad platforms for B2B marketers, and even argues “it’s time that B2B Marketers take Tik Tok serious (sic) and consider it as an additional potential channel to reach their audience.” No mention of Twitter.
Second, as noted in this post on how B2B marketing on Twitter is changing, B2B SaaS companies are abandoning the platform at a geometrically increasing rate. Left unchecked, this will create a death spiral for the platform. The exodus ticked up in 2015 and began to accelerate in 2017. Yet so far, the leadership at Twitter either hasn’t noticed or apparently doesn’t care.
Finally, there’s my recent experiment to gauge organic engagement (or lack thereof) on Twitter. On April 1, I tweeted out this, and made it my pinned tweet for the entire month:
And then proceeded to change my bio daily, as follows. Not all winners, though I thought a few were somewhat clever:
4/1 #doctor #lawyer #moviestar #astronaut #barowner
4/2 God made each of us just as we are. Doesn’t mean He isn’t perfect, just proves He has a sense of humor.
4/3 Who cares, it’s the weekend.
4/4 I did NOT help Apple wreck a nice beach.
4/5 I’m not ALWAYS right. I once thought The Stabilizers would produce a string of hit albums.
4/6 I’m not afraid of monsters. I am afraid of the coffee maker breaking down.
4/7 World’s Best Dad. I have a coffee mug and t-shirts from my kids to prove it.
4/8 The smartest person using this Twitter handle.
4/9 I’ve written almost 2,000 blog posts. Some were even kind of good.
4/10 Freedom of speech is wonderful. Makes it so much easier to spot the idiots.
4/11 You and I are unique human beings. Just like everyone else.
4/12 South of Canada, north of Iowa, west of Cheeseoslobia
4/13 Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about having an over-used quote as your Twitter bio.
4/14 I don’t think a Twitter bio should ever end with a question. Do you?
4/15 #digitalmarketing #influencermarketing #b2b #contentmarketing #SEO #PPC #hashtags
4/16 Too awesome for 160 characters. Let’s follow each other if you are too.
4/17 The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
4/18 “Work keeps at bay three great evils: boredom, vice, and need.” — Voltaire
4/19 This space for rent. (Why not, you’re looking at it!)
4/20 Money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy bacon, which is pretty much the same thing.
4/21 It’s hard to find true love. Though if you Google it, you’ll get 3.1 billion results.
4/22 They say memory is the second thing to go. The first is…um, wait…it will come to me…
4/23 Awesome (according to my daughter, aka Awesome 2.0)
4/24 Not a closet musician, though occasionally a closet shelf installer.
4/25 If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “OK boomer” I could buy a nice new “Stay off my lawn!” sign.
4/26 Not a bot. As far as you know.
4/27 WOULD NEVER WRITE MY TWITTER BIO IN ALL CAPS
4/28 Actual B2B technology digital marketing professional. Not be to confused with the pretenders. Or The Pretenders.
4/29 Thankful that it’s almost the end of April, I’m running out of smarta** bio ideas.
4/30 Always finish what you sta
There were a total of 16 responses, only three of which went beyond a basic “like.” Based on 20,410 followers, that’s a 0.078% response rate.
Compared to the average of the prior three months, my tweets, tweet impressions, and profile visits were virtually unchanged. Mentions were up 15%, but new follower growth was actually 30% below average.
There’s a lot of this going around. Consider these three real though anonymized B2B accounts:
- Small B2B company: total followers down 1% over two years.
- Midsize B2B service provider: total follower count down 1% since January 2020 (while its LinkedIn following has grown steadily 1.5-2.5% each month).
- Major influencer: 101,000 Twitter followers currently—down from 105,000 two years ago.
Scientific? By no means. But these are indicative of the dilemma Twitter faces. If it retains a focus on vacuous pop culture updates, vapid celebrity gossip, and vitriolic political commentary, business users will increasingly tune out. Engagement declines, causing even more business users to drop off, causing engagement to decline further…leading to a death spiral.
It’s not inevitable. With no serious contender for second place, Twitter’s decline is still reversible, either by growing up generally or creating a connected but separate Twitter for business network.
Someone is going to figure this out. Just as Tom Brady will have competition for his GOAT status at some point, a social network will recognize the value of a professional audience and create a platform to challenge LinkedIn’s dominance. Unfortunately, it’s just not clear that will be Twitter.