Twitter Alternatives: Considerations for Brands Rethinking Twitter Activities

December 6,  2022

twitter app opening on a phone twitter app opening on a phone

Authored by Jim Lin, Mendy Sass, Aileen Driscoll, Zach Tarvin, Amit Wadehra, Jonny Bentwood, Dave Duschene & Jeff Beringer 

Following its purchase by billionaire Elon Musk, Twitter continues to undergo rapid transformation.

Last week, the company codified its vision for the future in a blog post, promising more experimentation in pursuit of Twitter’s ultimate goal: to become the town square of the Internet. Despite evidence of user growth since Musk’s takeover and the social network’s statement committing to better detection of violative content and policing of hateful conduct and abusive behavior, questions remain about brand safety and stability of the platform moving forward, bolstered by recent acts like restoring bad actors to the platform. As such, some marketing and PR pros are considering their next moves.

Whether your brand has decided to stay the course, temporarily pause certain activities on the platform, or abandon it altogether, Golin has created a discussion guide outlining potential alternatives for 20 popular ways companies use Twitter today. While the focus of this guidance is on alternative well-established platforms, you’ll also find information on several emerging technologies and platforms later on in this document.

It’s important to note that while other vehicles may mimic some of Twitter’s functionality or aim to advance similar marketing or PR objectives, no two social platforms are alike. Marketers and communicators should consider what they’re using Twitter to achieve, the makeup of their audience(s) and stakeholder saturation on alternative platforms, and brand/reputational risks of other channels when assessing if and how to shift strategy.

20 Twitter Use Cases & Established Alternatives

  1. If you share company or product-related news on Twitter…
  2. If you build community/loyalty with frequent organic Tweets…
  3. If you inject your brand into pop culture, social media trends and memes…
  4. If you recognize and celebrate customers, brand fans and advocates on Twitter…
  5. If you respond to someone’s question or comment about your company or products…
  6. If you learn about customers or competitors through social listening…
  7. If you activate around a live event including content and conversation aggregation…
  8. If you follow and interact with journalists to support media relations…
  9. If you provide Twitter-based customer care or customer service…
  10. If you run Twitter ads to increase brand or product awareness…
  11. If you drive clicks to your app, website or online store through Twitter ads…
  12. If you share multimedia like photos or short videos…
  13. If you manage issues or deliver crisis-related communication on Twitter…
  14. If your executives or SMEs promote your company or brand through their handles…
  15. If you harvest and/or repurpose user generated content…
  16. If you collaborate with an influencer on Twitter…
  17. If you partner with a media or entertainment outlet on Twitter to promote your brand, product or story…
  18. If you share positive earned media coverage, long form brand content, or third-party reviews…
  19. If you collaborate with another brand or banter with a competitor via retweets, tags and shares…
  20. If you recruit candidates by posting job openings or through celebrating company culture…

Emerging Platforms



1. If you share company or product-related news on Twitter…

…then look to Instagram Stories due to their ephemeral nature and link sharing capability. If your company remains active on Facebook, the network is also still a relevant spot to announce news with 2.9 billion active monthly users, though keep in mind reach of organic content is limited. And don’t forget about your company’s website and online newsroom, still frequented by many journalists (when they’re not spending time on Twitter).

2. If you build community/loyalty with frequent organic Tweets…

…then consider how to keep fans close in other online communities, such as Facebook Groups. Many brands with an established customer base on Facebook (like InstantPot or Peloton) find great success creating or contributing to groups that foster conversation and sharing within a semi-closed (exclusive) environment.

Some companies are investing to build owned communities through a dedicated site or blog. For example, Adobe’s Behance is a place where creators post, converse and even livestream projects in their creative specialty areas.

If your brand representatives are active on Reddit, consider contributing to select Reddit communities as a brand insider or expert to create new connections and build trust with brand fans. And if you aren’t ready to create or tend to bespoke communities, consider ramping up day-to-day community management in platforms like IG, FB and TikTok to spark more unscripted brand-to-fan engagement. While Twitter has been one spot for building community through fan-focused posts, it’s not the only game in town for fostering connections in social.

3. If you inject your brand into pop culture, social media trends and memes…

…then explore shifting some of that time and effort into TikTok where memes, challenges and pop cultural conversations thrive. Instagram Stories are also viable alternatives because the dynamic of IG Stories works well for timely, culture-connected content. Depending on the format (text, image, or video), either platform can accommodate most agile content as effectively as – and in some cases, better than – Twitter.

4. If you recognize and celebrate customers, brand fans and advocates on Twitter…

…then hunt for posts on platforms like Instagram where your brand is tagged in UGC or is included in relevant hashtags. Similarly, monitor for brand mentions and relevant hashtag usage on TikTok by filtering for the top TikToks from the previous day. Once you spot customers, celebrate and recognize them just as you might on Twitter – comment on their post, show your appreciation, private message them, share their content on your branded channel(s), give them a coupon or even send a custom gift – the possibilities are endless.

5. If you respond to someone’s question or comment about your company or products…

…then keep doing it! It’s best practice to recognize a customer whenever they contact you, wherever they do it. While it’s also smart to make answers to frequently asked questions readily-available via search by publishing on other company-owned properties like websites, if a stakeholder takes time out of their day to ask a question or make a comment – especially if your brand is tagged in it or they respond to one of your posts directly – then take the time to answer them in the channel they addressed you, including Twitter.

6. If you learn about customers or competitors through social listening…

…then consider your dependency on Twitter conversation data. Today, the majority of brand and product-specific social listening relies on Twitter conversations and its API, used by many of the top social listening tools to access conversation data at scale.

We recommend brands continue to utilize Twitter conversation data for listening – even if they aren’t actively publishing organically or advertising on the platform – to gather as much intelligence about stakeholders as is available.

At the same time, investigate other channels rich with information about what various audiences care about and start diversifying inputs for your company’s listening work. While every platform doesn’t offer granularity through open APIs, odds are customers and other stakeholders are talking about your brand on Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, and plenty of other venues and there are methods – some admittedly more time-intensive – to capture and analyze what they’re saying.

By broadening your listening sources, you’ll ensure you’re gathering input representative of your audience across digital and social media – not just the Twitter crowd.

7. If you activate around a live event including content and conversation aggregation…

…then explore YouTube Live or LinkedIn Live. Both popular offerings for live events can help you engage audiences and exchange information during a defined window of time like a conference, convention, customer or media event.

YouTube’s Premiere offering allows brands to queue content in advance while maintaining live chat functionality, mimicking the real-time feel of Tweets during a live event. Pro tip: while it’s possible to promote long-form videos with advertising, cutdown videos of a livestream often work better on YouTube as teaser ads to drive viewers to the full-length video.

LinkedIn Live is another viable option for live events, though livestreams cannot be promoted in real time with paid advertising as they can be on Twitter. The professionals-focused platform says it’s building out this functionality, but it isn’t fully available yet.

TikTok is also testing a new ad product enabling advertisers to promote a livestream for either clicks or viewer retention, with ad support running only for the length of the livestream.

8. If you follow and interact with journalists to support media relations…

…then keep following them – from your brand’s handle, or from relevant employee or agency accounts – because most journalists haven’t abandoned Twitter. In fact, while some are testing alternative platforms like Mastodon (read more about this emerging platform below), journalists recognize that there is no clear alternative to Twitter when it comes to delivering large-scale audiences, as well as potential sources or inspiration for their stories. As Twitter and its users’ behaviors evolve, conversations and trends around certain industries or sectors may migrate to other platforms – along with the journalists who cover them. In the near term, however, we believe Twitter will remain a vital tool for media relations activities and journalist engagement.

9. If you provide Twitter-based customer care or customer service …

…then think very carefully before you pull the plug. If a customer has a problem and asks for your help to resolve it on Twitter, best practice is to respond quickly in-channel and not divert them to an 800-number or another channel for help. Responding to customer concerns on Twitter – especially privately through DMs –will remain important for most brands who offer customer care or support online today. Brands who opt to de-prioritize Twitter should not delete their account, as this will release the handle and make it available to future users, including competitors and even bad actors.

10. If you run Twitter ads to increase brand or product awareness…

…then consider alternatives from Meta, TikTok and YouTube, as the networks offer access to large audiences, ample targeting capabilities and cost efficiency for awareness campaigns. If your product or service targets a B2B audience, then add LinkedIn, more niche platforms or strategic media partnerships (with trade outlets, for example) to the mix.

Other channels supporting paid promotion like Pinterest, Reddit, Snap, and Tumblr should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as these platforms lend themselves better to promoting some products than others.

11. If you drive clicks to your app, website or online store through Twitter ads…

…then look to Meta, Snap, TikTok, and YouTube for scalable solutions to drive clicks, downloads, and commerce. Meta, TikTok and YouTube are likely to offer the broadest reach and the lowest associated costs. Snap is viable for app-focused campaigns targeting younger audiences.

12. If you share multimedia like photos or short videos…

…then evaluate how Instagram Reels and TikTok may be suited to your brand. IG Reels, specifically, is contributing to the fastest growth of sharing across all of Meta’s platforms.

13. If you manage issues or deliver crisis-related communication on Twitter…

…then proceed with caution before shifting strategy. Today, Twitter serves several purposes in issues preparedness and mitigation:

First, it often serves as an early warning system for emerging issues because stakeholders use it to complain, criticize or share short-form video and other content that could impact product and corporate brands and reputations. This utility remains, even under new ownership.

Second, in the midst of a crisis, companies and brands also use Twitter to issue rapid fire statements and updates directly to stakeholders as information is gathered, decisions are made and actions taken – as Twitter’s short-form format is ideal for sharing concise, official updates. Given the large number of journalists on the platform, we believe this application is still valuable for brands during time of crisis.

For some companies, actions by bad actors on Twitter have spawned new issues for brands. In recent weeks, imposters have created handles spoofing legitimate businesses, mimicking corporate, executive and brand handles to distribute intentionally misleading content of misinformation in a way that could deceive or confuse the public and other stakeholders. Ongoing monitoring should include listening for imposter content and misinformation, working with Twitter reps to report and remove any spoof or prohibited parody accounts as quickly as possible. This is particularly true as Twitter reshapes verification for different account types.

Twitter remains important for issues preparedness and management. Companies and brands should ensure critical facts and updates around issues and crises are made as universally available as possible – across a variety of social touch points and brand-owned channels such as newsrooms and websites. But we don’t recommend abandoning Twitter for issues management at this time.

14. If your executives or SMEs promote your company or brand through their handles…

…then consider the following they’ve built on Twitter and the engagement their Tweets regularly generate before amending your strategy. If the individual isn’t highly connected and their content doesn’t drive much engagement with the intended audience, consider LinkedIn as a viable alternative for sharing personal insights and perspectives with other professionals and some consumers. A company-owned blog or article on a search-friendly Medium may also deliver reach without much risk. A growing number of companies are leveraging executive thought leadership as features in their own online press rooms, company LinkedIn pages and prominent real estate on corporate websites.

Keep in mind PR activities that place executive perspectives in online publications often generate Twitter content through media handles, even if the individual isn’t active on the platform. So should you decide to focus more deliberately on LinkedIn, an executive or SME’s POVs may still find their way to Twitter, just with less risk than publishing and engaging directly on the platform.

15. If you harvest and/or repurpose user generated content…

…then begin to mine Instagram and TikTok. Though search is more difficult on these platforms, UGC is plentiful on both. IG content will require an extra step of asking for permission (vs a quote tweet), but content is often robust since it is the subject matter of the post (vs merely a mention) and is typically accompanied by an image. These can be repurposed as IG Stories or even in-feed content, if it’s compelling. On TikTok, good UGC can be stitched or duetted without permission, making the process even easier. TikTok also leaves room to make more derivative content (meaning the brand can enhance the original content via what is stitched or duetted) to make it yours.

Important note: Instagram and TikTok do not offer the same level of content discovery in their APIs as Twitter does. Social listening tools used to find UGC may not be as effective at discovering every gem as they are for Twitter.

16. If you collaborate with an influencer on Twitter…

…then consider the influencer’s audience, their social footprint, and the nature of the partnership.

Companies that halt organic engagement with influencers on Twitter can still mine for positive organic mentions on the platform, but reach out to the influencer through other channels, both online and off. For some talent, your message or ‘surprise and delight’ gift might need to be delivered through an agent. But it’s possible to find means other than public replies or DMs.

From a partnership perspective, unless the influencer’s audience and owned channels are limited to Twitter, sponsored influencer activations can continue elsewhere. And for certain types of programs – for example, those that only focus on awareness and don’t require brand participation on the platform – influencers can still talk about products on Twitter without the brand itself being active on Twitter.

Prioritize influencer partners with a substantial following on Meta, TikTok, and YouTube, as they offer some of the strongest paid solutions for influencer content promotion. The tools integrate seamlessly to reach key targets and allow advertisers to capitalize on the influencers’ audiences on the platforms.

Pinterest is working to build influencer advertising products and has yet to broadly roll them out. LinkedIn does not currently support influencer whitelisting. Reddit and Tumblr should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure any activations there are suitable for the respective communities.

17. If you partner with a media or entertainment outlet on Twitter to promote your brand, product or story…

…then consider whether your brand needs to be actively involved in the activation. Some media integrations in social – for example, working with the digital team of a popular talk show to launch a hashtag challenge – can technically be run entirely by a media partner, though hands-on brand participation (e.g. responding to participants) is always preferred.

Like influencers, most media and entertainment outlets manage social handles across various platforms, so work with the partner to determine the best spot for coverage or conversation about your brand, based on where your audiences is most easily reached and match of your story with popular topics on the network(s). Paid integrations give brands more leverage in determining where content lives, whereas unpaid partnerships often leave channel and editorial decisions in the hands of the media partner.

18. If you share positive earned media coverage, long form brand content, or third-party reviews…

…then share those things on LinkedIn and Meta, where media coverage and thought leadership are best received, and amplify them through paid advertising. Native advertising is an easy way to elevate media coverage, thought leadership and blog content. Outbrain, StackAdapt, and Taboola just are a few popular native advertising platforms that allow for tailored targeting and brand safety measures.

19. If you collaborate with another brand or banter with a competitor via retweets, tags and shares…

…then test and learn on alternative platforms. While it’s harder to “follow the conversation” on other social networks when it comes to brand-to-brand interaction/banter, it can still be achieved on other platforms. On Instagram, brands can tag one another in their in-feed content or comments, or use Stories for more real-time back-and-forth opportunities. For example, a brand could tag other brand in their story. The other brand could then re-post that story in their own Stories with a response as a text overlay and tag the first brand back. TikTok’s comment section is a spot where consumers love to see conversation and often grab more attention than the original post.

20. If you recruit candidates by posting job openings or through celebrating company culture…

…then make job descriptions or links to apply available on your website, careers center, and third-party jobs portals like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster, or Hired. From a social perspective, LinkedIn remains a hotspot for career advice and talent acquisition, but openings can also be promoted across a variety of other social network through both ads and organic posts from hiring managers or other employees who can help celebrate company culture. As a complement to LinkedIn, many companies use Instagram to showcase culture, celebrate teams and give current and prospective employees a peek into the organization.

What about emerging platforms? Where should I test and learn for the future?

For most brands considering redirecting activity or investment away from Twitter, established social networks mentioned above will generally offer access to a wider audience, more predictability, and less risk. But social media evolves quickly, and audiences are constantly evaluating new platforms to get news, be entertained, and connect with friends and even brands.

Today, the features brands have successfully used to transform PR and marketing storytelling and customer care on Twitter have evolved. For some use cases, other established platforms have grown and surpassed Twitter with similar features. Others are quickly being filled by emerging and niche platforms that innovate faster than those backed by big tech.

What’s rising to welcome those rethinking Twitter?

As the atmosphere on Twitter feels more and more volatile, a lot of users are asking what their best alternatives might be. Tumblr—under new ownership—has seen a resurgence. Newcomers like Hive Social are launching products that look and feel like Twitter.

In the immediate and near-term, brands should be looking at established platforms that have the affordances a brand presence requires such as verification, moderation tools, as well as support for the many platforms and tools required to keep their business running.

Mastodon is currently the most Twitter-like platform. It shares many of the same conventions, but it’s decentralized. There’s no one Mastodon. Rather, it is content distributed over a federated network of providers. Brands eyeing Mastodon should keep in mind:

  • Anyone can host a Mastodon server. Because Mastodon is decentralized and federated, there are no limits on who can host a Mastodon server. Unlike Discord, the technical requirements involved to setup a server are significant and not something many PR and marketing teams can shoulder on their own.
  • Mastodon instances can set their own content rules. Today this has mostly been around what types of content (SFW/NSFW, swearing, etc.) are permitted on a given server. And moderators have the power to declare their server entirely off limits for brands.
  • Impostor accounts likely. Mastodon has no defined way to declare an account “Verified.” While this functionality may be added down the road, it will be up to instances to adopt verification methods individually. As Mastodon grows, expect more bad actors to act up and inconsistent policing.
  • Feature parity isn’t guaranteed. Because Mastodon isn’t a centralized platform, the features and capabilities of various Mastodon apps and instances may not keep up with one another over time. For brands, this will mean vigilance and study to understand what types of content may not be universally visible as the platform grows. What works on one server or app might not work for all users.

Hive Social was popularized by Twitter’s gaming curation team and has seen spikes in downloads and user growth in the last few weeks, reaching its first million users. And while the app looks and feels a lot like a contemporary Twitter client, there are several reasons why it’s not yet safe for brands, including:

  • Security concerns. On December 1, 2022, the Hive team took the app offline after security researchers discovered that deleted content like DMs and personally identifiable information like phone numbers and e-mails of all users were accessible to attackers.
  • Verification isn’t currently supported. Hive has a zero-tolerance policy for impersonation, but there is currently no method of identifying a brand or influencer handle as authentic.
  • Content policies may make branded content a challenge. Hive’s definition of “spam-free” may not ultimately match those of marketers. Content that customarily boosts engagement with a brand handle would likely not be permitted on the platform.
  • ‘Content you own’ policy. Hive’s requirement that users have the legal right to post the content they’re publishing isn’t materially different from other platforms, but the tone and vision of the platform may ultimately limit the long-term reach of memes and challenges that brands look to tap for content.

Newcomers like Mastodon and Hive may emerge as a future destination for brands, however, in the immediate term, companies are likely to have more success leaning in where they have existing footholds while the technical and community aspects of newcomers sort themselves out at scale.

Advances in Customer Service Chat

Many brands have successfully used Twitter to intercept customer complaints and provide a venue for excellent customer care. And while this use of Twitter created some best-in-class support experiences online in years past, it’s neither the state of the art nor always best-in-class in 2022.

Over the last decade, Meta transitioned Messenger—originally Facebook Messenger—into a powerful solution for users to investigate, engage, shop, and find support from businesses. And while much of the feature set appeals to small businesses, it’s integrated with many of the enterprise social media management tools brands use today, making integration seamless.

In recent years, we’ve also seen Apple and Google hasten support for customer care with more security and privacy directly into their operating systems.

On Apple platforms, Business Chat offers consumers quick access to secure, private customer support over iMessage just by tapping a link on your brand’s website, within Apple Maps, and even through search. Used by brands like Apple, Home Depot, Hilton, Lowe’s, T-Mobile, and Wells Fargo, Business Chat experiences can be customized to include widgets for product selection, Apple Pay payments, even scheduling.

Google’s Business Messages offering brings similar chat-based content from your brand to customers from within Google Maps and search. Today, it’s driven success for Foot Locker, Dish, and Levi’s.

Though not tied expressly to social media, these alternatives from Google and Apple often fit seamlessly into existing customer service technology stacks. They also don’t require a user to be waiting patiently on your website for a web-based chat reply, and can continue about their day, replying as they would to a text message. For brands delivering care and personalized content to customers through Twitter DMs, these are alternatives worth investigating now.

Private and Group-oriented Messaging Apps

Most engagement and content sharing on modern social platforms happens via direct messaging, but the number of messaging tools and apps used by consumers has grown wider over the last few years.

While Meta’s Messenger has grown to allow significant communities and group chats to engage simultaneously over Facebook and Instagram, consumers have more options than ever across channels that vary in their suitability to brands.

What about apps like Telegram and Signal?

Services like Telegram and Signal can accommodate users who don’t want all their communication pinned under the Meta, Google, or Apple ecosystems. But these secure services have plenty of differences:

  • Signal focuses on encrypted messaging. Like Mastodon, Signal is more like a protocol than a dedicated communications channel. Though popular with journalists looking to contact sources securely, Signal isn’t a brand fit for customer care or social engagement purposes at this time.
  • Telegram, like WhatsApp and Messenger, offers some level of chatbot-based support for brands. Closest to WhatsApp, the platform has pledged not to add advertising but is developing premium features geared toward the enterprise. To that end, some brands have begun to offer chatbot experiences with Telegram.
    • Regionally adopted. Telegram was the most downloaded app in the world in January of 2021, but user adoption and behaviors vary dramatically region-to-region.
    • Community reputation risks may vary. Telegram has developed a bit of a reputation in the U.S. for its role in spreading misinformation from groups like QAnon. Brands looking to lean in on messaging for customer support in the U.S. should consider other options first given reach and functionality.

What can brands do to replace community and fan engagement on Twitter?

Private, community-focused chat apps have also grown significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably Discord. Popularized first by gamers, over the last few years Discord has become a way to enjoy topical text, video, and audio chat with friends, family, colleagues, and like-minded enthusiasts organized into servers made up of chat-room like channels. A few things to know about Discord:

  • Discord could serve as a substitute for Twitter Spaces and livestreams. Twitter Spaces have been an excellent way to engage a community for panel discussions and open forums around news, announcements or topics over audio. Today, many podcasts, streamers, and community groups are using Discord to recreate the same functionality given the platform’s support for video, voice, and text chat all in one interface.
  • Better Community features. Twitter Communities never caught on with brands the way Facebook Groups did, but Discord offers an opportunity to go deeper. Open chat and topics-based channels mean users are more easily connected to a group than through an app that promotes a larger social feed first like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Ways to engage that don’t require hosting a branded server. Most ways a brand would engage with Discord involve starting a Discord server. Recently, Discord launched an app platform to make games, utilities, and other services available inside specific channels of a server as well as during livestreams. This untapped space is an area where brands can infuse their branding with emoji/stickers, games, and even integrations with digital services they may offer.

What replaces major event or announcement-based livestreams?

When Meerkat and Periscope first gave marketers a taste of what live mobile video could do, it set events like South by Southwest on fire. In just a year, Periscope was acquired by Twitter, Facebook had its own competitor with Facebook Live. Before long, Amazon would acquire Twitch.

If anything has ballooned on the scale of chat and video messaging in the past few years, it’s livestreaming. In 2022, creators aren’t necessarily hopping on Facebook Live as much, but instead are relying more on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch.

For brands wishing to go live, the biggest consideration is audience, not channel. Here are a few things that have changed around the dynamics of livestreams since the start of COVID-19:

  • Twitch isn’t just for gamers anymore. In 2021, Twitch’s “Just Chatting” streams ballooned to the fastest-growing category of streams. This category runs the gamut of creators having a conversation with their audience to hosting something like a live talk show or podcast recording.
  • Twitch streamers increasingly also stream on TikTok. Living up to its brand positioning that it’s a creation platform instead of a social platform, TikTok has been wooing Twitch streamers to check out its modernized APIs for supporting tools that streamers use to create dynamic experiences. TikTok is also increasingly hosting more landscape video, creating significantly stickier livestreams down the road.
  • YouTube, though long thought of as a place to host videos, is leaning more into live, more into short-form, and redesigning itself to look and feel more like a social network. In 2023, look for more focus on AR try-on for products, and deeper support for shoppable content both in YouTube Shorts and in its livestream offerings.

What To Do Next

In recent years, brands have leveraged Twitter to support a myriad of PR and marketing objectives and built followings. As such, many will find it challenging to vanish from the platform entirely even if they wish to do so. But viable alternatives for many Twitter use cases exist from established platforms, with more on the way from emerging tech.

Now is the time to take a fresh look at your social strategy and weigh priorities around performance, brand safety, and ease of use. A “set it and forget it” channel strategy for social media is no longer prudent, and we encourage brands to continuously reevaluate their presence and investments across the entire social ecosystem. And be willing to test and learn to find the platforms fit for the future.