Let’s face it: LinkedIn is king when it comes to engaging with other B2B professionals and job seekers, and there’s no question that it’s a valuable place to build connections. So, the professional networking sites we’re about to discuss may not be your first thought for prospecting, but each has unique characteristics and community traits worth exploring.
B2B salespeople need a variety of platforms to assist in prospect research, lead generation, outreach, and recruiting — and the more verticals you operate in, the more possibilities you likely need.
We’re highlighting our top 5 B2B professional social media platforms to help you connect with industry decision-makers and keep up with trending topics, news, and events your industrial targets care about.
Even though it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since late 2022, Twitter remains a fantastic network for building relationships with people in a variety of capacities. It may primarily be used as a personal social networking site, but it also has the potential for spontaneous connections that could lead to long-term business relationships.
For example, if there’s a specific hashtag for a conference you're attending, use it in your tweets to see who else is engaging so you can meet up with them during lunch or breaks.
You can connect with other professionals around the world on a daily basis by following trending hashtags and topics within your industry. Plus, following industry leaders who may tweet and retweet noteworthy topics and events can keep you in the loop.
Twitter is also known for its fast-paced urgency to uncover current trends and topics as they arise across the world. That being said, in order to network and contribute to conversations within your network, you should regularly engage with and post relevant and useful tweets on your personal and company accounts.
As the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook is not as professionally driven as LinkedIn, or even Twitter. However, it does contain some beneficial applications that you should leverage regardless of industry. You even have the capability to create Events pages to promote your upcoming webinars, workshops, trade show appearances, job fairs, or other happenings.
To explore different Groups, find the Facebook Groups icon in the left toolbar while on your desktop, or tap the Menu when using the mobile app. You can filter by category such as “Business” or search to find relevant groups that will help you connect with others, and form more professional relationships in your industry, discuss topics of interest, and share helpful links, news, and materials.
Facebook Live is a live streaming feature that allows companies to connect in real time with their audiences by hosting Q&A sessions, presenting how-to videos, broadcasting from an event, and receiving feedback and questions. While Facebook Live is most popular from mobile devices, you can also Broadcast to Facebook Live from your Mac or PC.
Today, it seems that people are almost expected to be on Facebook. Other professionals, prospects, and customers are probably going to look for you there, and they may be disappointed if they can’t find you. Photos, infographics, Groups, discussion boards, trending topics — these are all ways you can build your reputation and digital visibility on Facebook.
While many of these online platforms are focused on connecting with other professionals online, Meetup is unique in that it focuses on connecting people initially online to later meet “in person.” Digital networking is convenient and immediate, but sometimes it’s much more beneficial to connect with other professionals in person, or virtually one-on-one through Zoom and other online meeting platforms.
You can specify the meetings you’re interested in by topic, location, and date. If there’s nothing happening around you, create your own event and invite other professionals by email or Facebook to be part of a makeshift think tank, or share a link to other networking platforms.
Once you’ve gathered a group of like-minded professionals, you might find it beneficial to have regular meetings to continue building your network and expand your industry-specific knowledge.
Further Reading: 15 Social Media Visibility Tips to Boost Your Profile
While Instagram may be best known for influencer culture and meticulously set up photos of people’s dinners, the platform still allows for connections via hashtags and, more importantly, sharing visual content that grabs attention and engages other Instagram users.
With Instagram, you can post images of you and your colleagues at the latest marketing conference (perhaps Experience Inbound, wink) while using the hashtag for better visibility. You can also stream live or post videos, or add to your Story at the top of the Home screen with a quick clip of what you’re doing now – which expires 24 hours after it’s posted.
Visual media — especially video — continues to be a crucial part of marketing, connecting you to colleagues, customers, and prospects easily just by using the phone you’re carrying.
And, back to influencers, there’s no denying the impacts they can have on marketing, especially for brand awareness and loyalty. It may not hurt to reach out to certain influencers and see if a beneficial partnership is in the cards.
Slack is more than a messenger app to communicate and collaborate with coworkers and business partners. In fact, there are communities of like-minded professionals that discuss a huge variety of subjects using Slack.
The main difference with Slack is that it’s a messenger-based mobile or desktop app, not browser-based. So, each community has multiple public threads with the option of sending direct messages to anyone in that community. The challenge with that is you may get distracted by instant messages and notifications (which you can adjust to your preferences).
Want to see what these Slack communities cover? Simply Google a topic that interests you plus “Slack community.” We did this for inbound marketing, so the search was “inbound marketing+Slack community.” With this example, if you’re looking to connect with and expand your knowledge about SEO and digital marketing, you could check out the Online Geniuses Slack Community for Marketers resulting from this search.
Honorable Mention: Mastodon
The story is still being written on Mastodon. Is it simply a knee-jerk reaction from people dissatisfied with what’s happening on Twitter, or will it develop into a robust and rewarding network for connecting with others? We want to mention it here because it’s worth further examination and could still blossom into something robust.
Some marketing experts believe Mastodon will offer value for users as it continues to grow, especially early on.1 Other outlets caution that Mastodon may not be the replacement Twitter users are looking for, citing a decline in active users since the initial surge in December of 2022.2
It’s still relatively early, but so far Mastodon has shown some promise. It appears to be a straightforward experience, and users can favorite, reply to, or reshare posts much like what’s possible on Twitter. Keep an eye on this one.
Leverage Social Media to Your Advantage
Yes, LinkedIn is the most popular professional networking platform. But alternatives to LinkedIn have specific strengths that approach networking in different and meaningful ways. Some are better for making professional connections locally or within unique niches. It’s worth your time to go beyond LinkedIn and explore different possibilities.
Looking for more ways to improve your company's social media efforts? Get our complete guide to Social Media for Complex B2B Industries with lots of ideas and insights to bring your online presence to a new level!
1SparkToro, Why Marketers, Creators, and Brands Should Start Using Mastodon ASAP, December 16, 2022
2Wired, The Mastodon Bump is Now a Slump, February 7, 2023