“Should we leave Twitter?” is the question of the year for social media managers. As the social editor for Unwinnable, I’m facing this question myself, especially after Twitter implied it might become a paid-only platform. Twitter is by far our most successful social platform, so the stakes are pretty high for me—and I know I’m not the only social media professional in this boat.
If you do decide to leave Twitter, it’s worth figuring out where to go. You still have Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but they’re not really alternatives to Twitter. I asked some folks who manage brand social media accounts for their thoughts on Twitter alternatives, and these are the options that seem to be the most promising.
(Note: Twitter rebranded to X earlier this year, but since most folks still call it by its original name, that’s what I’ll go with throughout this article.)
But first: Should you leave Twitter?
There’s no clear yes or no answer here. As with almost everything business-related, the right choice depends on your brand. Here are a few things to consider:
Your current Twitter presence. How much effort have you already invested in Twitter, and how big is your community? Is your audience still there and engaging with you?
Your standards for social media platforms. Some businesses have drawn lines at Twitter’s recent moderation changes, like its approach to hate speech. If these developments are a dealbreaker for your brand, that’s totally valid.
Your capacity. If you plan on sticking around, can you add another social platform to your plate to make up for (potential) lost Twitter engagement? Is social media marketing a channel you can prioritize?
I plan on keeping the Unwinnable Twitter and adding a new channel for stability, but there are plenty of understandable reasons for others to leave.
4 Twitter alternatives for brands who leave Twitter
These are the four social media channels out there that I think are worth trying as alternatives to Twitter. You don’t have to commit right away or stick to just one—don’t be afraid to experiment.
Keep in mind that many Twitter alternatives follow new internet trends, where flexibility and community matter much more, so while these are great channels to try, they won’t necessarily be a one-to-one replacement.
The best Twitter alternative for organic interactions
Mastodon is a “federation” of different servers with 14 million users as of September 2023 (compared to Twitter’s 540 million). It works a lot like Twitter, but you get more characters to write and can edit your posts—both for free.
You won’t find an algorithm on Mastodon. Instead, it shows users posts that the people they follow repost or comment on. This dynamic means it’s really important to engage with your community and build organic reach.
Since Mariya Delano from Kalyna Marketing frequently covers Mastodon in her content, I reached out to ask about her experiences with it. She told me that the two main benefits she gets out of it are networking and content distribution. Thanks to Mastodon, she’s connected with names like SparkToro’s Rand Fishkin and Google’s John Mueller, leading to new opportunities and clients.
And while you’d think engagement numbers would be lower on Mastodon because it doesn’t have an algorithm, that doesn’t seem to happen for Mariya.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t see those kinds of numbers on most Twitter accounts.
If you’re considering Mastodon, you can refer to Zapier’s guide on how to move from Twitter to Mastodon. And since Mastodon works with Buffer, that technically means it also works with Zapier, so you can connect it to thousands of other apps. Here are some examples.
The best Twitter alternative for people looking for a Twitter clone
Bluesky is probably the most direct Twitter alternative on this list. It was started by Twitter’s former founder and includes incredibly similar functions. It has one of the smaller user bases on this list, but it hit 1 million users in September 2023 and got a huge spike in daily visitors after Elon Musk implied that Twitter was going paid.
Compared to Twitter, Bluesky offers more moderation options to users for their content and lets you create custom feeds for people to follow. Users can choose exactly what feeds they want to follow and what kind of content they want to filter out of their timelines. I’m particularly excited about the custom feeds because it means you can create a shareable feed including your brand and its writers (definitely something I’d do for Unwinnable).
The culture on Bluesky resembles the sillier and more casual corners of Twitter, which could be a pro or con for your brand, depending on what you’re going for. Put differently, most users come to the platform to hang out rather than do business. But companies have found success in Bluesky, even in its early stages.
At Envy Creative, Mike Vannelli likes to use Bluesky to connect with its base of tech-savvy early adopters. There, he joins communities in his niche, tests new content formats, and gets feedback from followers. “Our tech-forward followers on Bluesky can be vocal,” Mike told me.
Amanda Sexton from FocusWorks started an account for the agency on Bluesky and found a community. “For FocusWorks, Bluesky emerged as a refreshing space to foster deeper connections and gain unfiltered insights into our audience’s needs and aspirations. The transparency and authenticity offered by Bluesky not only aligned with our brand ethos but also paved the way for more meaningful content strategies,” Amanda says.
Buffer has a detailed overview of the platform if you decide to make the switch. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to get an invite code from an existing BlueSky user to start an account.
The best Twitter alternative for one-on-one connection
You know Reddit, and you know it doesn’t function like Twitter—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a Twitter alternative.
Quick recap for anyone who’s unfamiliar: Reddit is home to subreddits, or communities gathered around certain interests, where you can post as a user. While there are subreddits around certain brands, they’re usually run by fans rather than the businesses themselves. Businesses generally operate as users who run ads and participate in communities.
Professional brands can make Reddit work, but you have to play by the social rules. You’ll build an informal reputation among community members and a formal reputation in the form of karma, Reddit’s reputation score. The key to successfully running a brand Reddit account is to start genuine discussions rather than promote your product.
When brands find their people on Reddit, they can get authentic engagement, open feedback, and new traffic. Bhavik Sarkhedi told me that BrainerHub Solutions achieved a 35% surge in organic traffic, a 20% rise in user registrations, and a 15% improvement in customer satisfaction metrics after marketing on Reddit. The BrainerHub Solutions team focused on communities like r/technology, r/digital_marketing, and r/startups, where their expertise and software product would be relevant.
Read Zapier’s guide to Reddit marketing if you’d like to try it out. Remember to focus on human interaction over promotion if you do. Once you get settled, you can automate Reddit to keep up with the community. Here are some examples to get you started.
The best Twitter alternative for fostering community
Discord is traditionally for consumers, but it also has strong, creator-centric features that suit businesses looking to build communities around their brands. It has servers that act as communities with various text and voice channels. You can organize these channels as you’d like to create the ideal community experience for your audience.
If you take a liking to Discord, you can also use Server Subscriptions to monetize your server. With this feature, you can limit all of your channels or only certain ones to paying members.
At Unwinnable, we use Discord to connect with our digital magazine subscribers. Since it’s limited to subscribers only, there are fewer people to reach out to than on our other channels, but it also has our most dedicated readers. I actually turned to them to figure out what social media channels they use to follow sites like ours.
The Writesonic team takes a similar approach to Discord by hosting a server for their software’s paid users. Content and growth marketer there, Saurabh Wani, told me that Writesonic counts on Discord because of its ability to foster community, its analytics, and its integrations. “Discord gives community administrators the ability to define distinct goals for the community and monitor their advancement,” Saurabh says.
A few other Twitter alternatives to consider
There’s a slew of growing social media communities that people have turned to as alternatives to Twitter:
cohost, a not-for-profit platform focused on community action
Pillowfort, a blogging platform similar to Tumblr, with increased content control and privacy
Spill, a Black-owned Twitter alternative started by former Twitter employees
Pebble (formerly known as T2), a Twitter alternative with AI post inspiration
Even though these platforms are smaller, they could still be a good fit if your audience uses them. They’re also all free (sometimes with a waitlist), so there aren’t many drawbacks to trying them out if you’re interested.
What about Threads?
You might see Threads mentioned often as a new Twitter competitor, but I don’t recommend it yet. It had a major dip in users just eight weeks after launch, and many of its features are up in the air. It could also be a non-starter for you if you feel iffy about Meta’s privacy policies.
Follow your audience
So, what platforms am I going to add to Unwinnable? It’s still in the works, but I’m considering two of the smaller names on this list—Bluesky and cohost—because they’re the top platforms our community uses.
Keep your audience at the front of your mind when you choose where to direct your social media efforts. You might base your decision on what channels already work for you, you could dive deep into a market research study, or you could follow my lead and talk with your followers directly.