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Twitter vs LinkedIn for B2B Trade Show Marketing


When it comes to business-to-business marketing, LinkedIn is everyone’s go-to social network. With more than 500 million registered business users, choosing LinkedIn for B2B seems like a no-brainer. But this can be a dangerous misconception that may result in misspent marketing dollars and lost leads.


Of LinkedIn’s 500 million users, only 250 million are monthly active users, and only 3 million of those share content on a weekly basis. Which means that of those business contacts you believe are eagerly awaiting you on LinkedIn, most are people who actually never log into their accounts. Even among the active users, most typically log in quickly to accept a connection request, and then log out—missing your promotion entirely. Those that do see your promotion often behave with this same type of “click and then quickly leave” behavior, as evidenced by the high bounce rate you’ve likely seen if you’ve ever executed a LinkedIn promotion.

If you receive comments, this shows a more interested viewer and liking and/or replying will help with your SEO and engagement. The comment may be a potential new customer, so you want to be sure to actively engage. Being present is absolutely important when engaging on social media. Posting and not following your posts for communication is a big downfall to your social media presence as it can ruin a reputation as fast as it can build one.

In contrast, even passive Twitter users spend a lot of time reading and liking other people’s content. Active B2B Twitter users rely on the network as their industry news reader–regularly monitoring the businesses, trade media, and key personalities in their sector, closely watching everything that is being said. Twitter engagement is a great tool as it is not meant to be wordy and will get to the point. This platform is a good engagement tool to keep relevant and consistent.


With the ability to select audiences by industry, job title, company size, and more, LinkedIn appears on the surface to offer the most granular targeting of all social platforms. In comparison, Twitter’s seeming lack of structural organization makes it seem like utter anarchy, with no clear delineation between consumer and industry users. I once asked a Twitter advertising representative to explain the platform’s ad targeting to me, and his response was “Well, I’m not going to explain how we do it.” Gee, thanks — way to inspire confidence in your platform! For those of us who spent years pouring over nuanced list selects for direct mail marketing, the inability to know exactly who will see our digital promotions can be more than a little off-putting.

A common mistake is to get caught up in engagement with your own peers and industry and while it is great for encouragement and post boosts you want to be sure to focus on hitting your own target market as the bottom line is we all want to increase our industry knowledge and show we are the expert. One way to keep in with your peers is by sharing information with your target market that is relevant that someone else may have shared first.

You have to rely more on your own common sense with Twitter. For example, I’ve had amazing success reaching CEOs on Twitter by setting up campaigns that target users similar to the followers of various nonprofit trade associations. Why? Because it’s typically only the executive leaders (along with allied industry professionals) that follow trade associations on Twitter. Similarly, the IT professionals most likely to follow Twitter accounts such as Oracle or PeopleSoft are the CIOs and systems administrators at large corporations who use these ERP platforms. If you think hard about the types of Twitter users that speak directly to your audience, you can see how you can quickly identify key Twitter accounts to use when creating and testing look-alike audiences.


The average LinkedIn cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) on average ranges from $5.00-$7.00. For some targeting selects, those numbers can go higher than $12.00. In contrast, Twitter CPCs are often well under $1.00. Combine a higher engagement rate with a lower CPC, and you begin to see how Twitter campaigns can likely earn you a better ROI than campaigns on LinkedIn.


You’re no doubt thinking: “But neither I nor my colleagues ever really use Twitter.” You’re not alone: Twitter ranks far below Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social networks in terms of regular users. But the key thing to focus on is who IS using it: Twitter tends to be the go-to platform for a select niche of business users who want to stay abreast of timely happenings. As a marketer of time-sensitive events, you no doubt can see how influential these people can be in spreading news of your trade shows, expos, conventions and other private events. By using Twitter’s unique engagement, targeting, and cost structure to your advantage, you can get attract these influencers and get them to jump-start the registrations for your next event.


In today’s “hype” of social media, we all want to make sure we are there and present and that we are sharing valuable information. After all, the first place many employers (and our prospects) look is through a search on LinkedIn. Also, from the experiences (and discovery meetings) I have had with clients, I have found that many times they have looked up my LinkedIn profile to learn more about my work experience. Keep your profile up-to-date and relevant. Another BIG factor is consistency. If you are going to be on these platforms then be on them and be engaging. You need to protect as much as you do share as this is also a space where people like to complain and be negative so you want to be sure you reply professionally and timely whether a good comment, a negative one or an inquiry. Social Media platforms are necessary but approach with caution and a plan.