Threads, Mastodon, X, and More: A Look at Social Mayhem with Karri Carlson


It’s been a minute since the social media industry has been in the spotlight, but the past six months have been poppin’ off. Between the launch of Threads and Twitter rebranding to X, there’s a wealth of new info to digest if social media falls under your purview (in-house or via an agency partner). 

In this episode, Karri Carlson, VP of Operations at LeadTail, updates us on the changes that matter and discusses emerging platforms — looking at you, Mastodon. Plus, she digs into the trend of “atomizing” social media into niche communities, each with its own set of rules and community standards.

WTF is happening with Twitter? Eh-hem, X?

In the heyday of Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition — that is to say, a few months ago — news about Elon’s questionable choices littered the news cycle. Now, Twitter has evolved into X (long live Twitter), and many B2B social media managers are scratching their heads as they assess how to handle the bird platform.

Karri’s advice? In an age of social media turmoil, it’s wise to step back and see where the chips fall before making rash decisions. 

“When it was clear that the ownership [of Twitter] was going to change hands, [we had to ask ourselves], ‘What do we do? How do we advise clients? What is going to be the approach?'” said Karri. “For us, we decided early on to take a ‘wait and see’ approach… so, when there’s a new change announced, let’s see if it’s an announcement of a change or an actual change. And when the actual change hits, let’s give that a minute and see if it bakes in.”

For example, Karri has dubbed September 2023 the month that LeadTail internal materials will transition to referring to the bird app as X, approximately two months after the change officially occurred. 

Up-and-coming B2B platforms (and some late bloomers)

Many newcomers have entered the social media game in response to X’s volatility. Karri provided the 4-1-1 on these platforms, advising marketers on how to handle each.

  • Threads — “Threads is essentially a Twitter clone that Instagram launched. And so essentially short text messages, threaded messages, per the name,” said Karri. She’s currently drafting plans with clients to leverage Threads effectively, but the platform’s popularity has already waned since its launch. It received 30 million downloads in the first 24 hours
  • Mastodon — This platform is niche, according to Karri, and may herald a new era in social media wherein online communities become smaller and more focused. More on that to come later in this article.

Some other social media platforms to watch in the B2B space include:

  • LinkedIn — You know it; you unironically love it. But did you know LinkedIn is officially cool? Karri suggests taking advantage of the platform’s newsletter publishing capabilities to build an audience.
  • TikTok — “I think we’ve only just crossed the threshold from, ‘TikTok is for kids and irrelevant to B2B’ to, ‘Um, hey, I think there might be something here,'” said Karri. Many B2B marketers are waiting for more data or resources to build a presence on the video platform, but it shouldn’t be counted out entirely.

So… is social media dying?

All of this hubbub about emerging — and dying — social media may have some marketers questioning the longevity of their social-based strategy. But Karri said we shouldn’t worry about the death of social media. However, we should be on the lookout for its rebirth.

“Things are going to atomize and go into lots and lots and lots of smaller communities, lots of more niche communities, smaller groups of people who can be governed more effectively by one set of community standards,” said Karri. “It’s unsurprising that you cannot create a town square for the whole world and have everybody agree to the same rules.”

Listen to episode 355 of SaaS Half Full to hear more of Karri’s insights.

Bot Rising: AI’s Volume, Velocity & Variety with Pete Housely and Amanda (Elam) Cole


By now, we get it: AI is here to stay and makes marketing more efficient. But what fears do marketers have around AI, and how do you responsibly feed the board’s appetite for it? And to what level do marketing leaders need to understand the technology?

In this episode, we’re joined by Pete Housley, CMO at Unbounce, and Amanda (Elam) Cole, CMO at Bloomreach, to dig into these questions. Listen in for a deeper understanding of the technology’s seemingly unlimited opportunities and potential pitfalls.

AI will expedite your three Vs — if used correctly

According to Pete, marketers should stay logged in and active on their large language model (LLM) of choice throughout the workday. Otherwise, they’re probably falling behind. That’s because engines like ChatGPT and Bard can expedite workflows across three crucial productivity areas, which Pete called the “three Vs:” volume, variety and velocity.

  • Volume: LLMs help marketers “do more with less” (I know — we’re all tired of hearing it, but it’s true!).
  • Variety: We all get stuck sometimes, especially when we’ve spent too long staring at a project brief. LLMs save your eyes by providing variance in thought and presenting unique options or avenues to approach your work.
  • Velocity: LLMs get the ball rolling and place marketers in the fast lane, allowing them to accomplish immense amounts of work in non-immense quantities of time. Pete mentioned that a marketing team member at Unbounce recently wrote a sprawling 6,000-word blog post in just 1.5 days, thanks to ChatGPT’s brainstorming.

But marketers can only benefit from generative AI if they use it (duh). Pete and Amanda agreed: The biggest mistake is shirking AI just to adhere to your status quo.

“The people who really embrace [LLMs and AI]… are going to be the future,” said Amanda. “My content team has said, ‘It gives me a really good starting point, so I don’t have to spend so much time in the initial thinking. I can get something to start with, and then I can edit it from there.'”

But what if AI takes my job?

McKinsey predicts that generative AI and automation will be able to handle tasks accounting for nearly 30% of hours worked in the U.S. by 2030. However, marketers shouldn’t clutch their pearls just yet; more likely than not, these developments will inspire occupational shifts, not outright job loss en masse.

 “The question is: Are robots coming for our jobs? I’d like to think not, but certainly, marketers using AI will come for the jobs of marketers who are not using AI,” said Pete.

Amanda concurred with Pete’s sentiment: “We’ve seen social media, digital marketing, Google ads, Google search — all of these things have been developed in my marketing career. And if you don’t understand them structurally and think about how to use them in your day job, you won’t have one.”

Marketing leaders should prioritize understanding the use cases for leading AI tools and assess where these functions could improve their workflow. Otherwise, they risk their position — and their entire organization’s success.

Luckily, AI sells itself.

Executives are often difficult to convince. But, according to Amanda, that doesn’t ring true for AI, which executives have a vast appetite for — sometimes even too vast. Instead of convincing stakeholders to adopt AI, it may be helpful to persuade them to adopt AI effectively. It’s a small but important difference.

“There is a tremendous amount of pressure, particularly from investors, to leverage AI because they see the efficiency metrics, they [think] ‘I can get more out of the current team,'” said Amanda. “I think there are two issues. One is focusing only on the scale of the current team and decoupling it from revenue growth. And two is coming up with an AI strategy independent of an overall business strategy.”

For more of Pete and Amanda’s insights, listen to episode 354 of SaaS Half Full.

CMOs speak: CEOs are undervaluing brand


What do CMOs wish more CEOs understood about marketing?

It’s the big question we ask our guests at the end of each episode, and during the first half of 2023, many answers came back to one core topic: CEOs don’t value brands enough. In this episode, we’re bringing you a compilation of our guests’ answers and biggest shared wish — namely, that more CEOs understand not everything in marketing can be measured.

Ali Fazal, VP of Marketing at Grin

In his episode, Ali unpacked the importance of the creator economy and discussed how brands — yes, even B2B brands — can take advantage of influencer marketing. He described what he calls “the secret sauce” of marketing, which explains how some brands tap into their ideal customer profile (ICP) through brand awareness instead of charts, facts and figures:

“Not all marketing yields leads [or] direct attribution pipeline,” said Ali. “Companies spend so much time, money and manpower on consultants and fancy agencies and analysts to come in and advise them on how to get that next level of growth when they hit a stall. And I promise you the stall is almost always because you’re not letting your head of marketing invest in channels that can’t be proven.”

Palmer Houchins, Head of Marketing at G2

We all know there’s no silver bullet to demonstrable success in marketing. Palmer discusses the challenge of quantifying the intangible, AKA brand, in his episode of SaaS Half Full. According to Palmer, the trick to good marketing is balance, balance, balance.

“It’s about harmony. It’s about creating all of these pieces — whether it’s brand, demand, customer marketing, content marketing — all these pieces have to come together,” said Palmer. “And it can be very specific and very individual to your business, but you’ve gotta figure out what that harmony is.”

Allyson Havener, VP of Marketing at TrustRadius

Allyson cautioned leaders against short-term strategies prioritizing the bottom line at the expense of long-term demand-generating initiatives. She also said providing B2B buyers with the sales experiences they crave is essential. (Spoiler alert: overwhelmingly, these experiences resemble those of B2C commerce.)

“I wish [CEOs] understood more of the demand creation piece and the brand piece. I think they understand numbers, so when something doesn’t have a number that ties to the bottom line, it usually gets cut,” said Allyson. “I wish CEOs understood the value of this kind of demand creation and brand and how powerful that can be when thinking about your long-term strategy.”

Tara Pawlak, VP of Demand Generation at Revenue Grid

Perhaps you’ve heard of marketing, the holy grail of sales-marketing alignment. Tara takes marketing one step further, suggesting marketing should be a mission-wide initiative. Furthermore, she said CEOs should be willing to take more chances — after all, the most significant leaps have the best payoff.

“Our CEO is invested in brand and marketing, and I think that can be rare,” said Tara. “I think more CEOs should do that — whether it’s a project or just one [good] idea. They need to be on the ground, in the details, in the weeds.”

“I’ll never forget, we had this great campaign once, and it took our team four and a half months. And there were so many facets of it, and it was so successful, and the response [from leadership] was: ‘Let’s do this again next month,'” said Tara. “I just felt so defeated. I was like, ‘Wow, I did not do a good job of explaining how we got here and got to this many leads and deals,’ because you can’t do that every month.”

Sarah Reynolds, CMO, HiBob

In their episode, Sarah discussed the importance of genuine inclusivity in your marketing initiatives and company mission. Additionally, they described the elusive nature of successful marketing fantastically: “It’s just vibes.”

“At least 50% — if not more — of marketing is vibes,” said Sarah. “You’re going to get the right answer when you have to tackle marketing challenges that are the art side of marketing versus just the data side. I love making a data-driven decision as much as anyone… But there are so many times when you need to either make data-driven decisions in concert with vibes, or you need to make a gut choice and go with it and commit and see what happens and learn from that experience.”

Listen to Episode 353 of SaaS Half Full for more of our guest’s insights.

Crushing It in the B2B Creator Economy, with Ali Fazal


Our circle of influence has fundamentally changed. Whereas we used to follow brands, we now follow people. And while B2C companies were quick to invest in online influencers, B2B marketers took a little longer — but now, they’re finally vibin’ with the creator economy. 

In this episode, Ali Fazal, VP of Marketing at GRIN, explores the most impactful channels through which to reach consumers, gives advice on the possible value exchanges between B2B brands and creators, and digs into how B2B brands should think about influencer marketing (spoiler alert: it has very little to do with follower count).

Step aside, Kardashians — influencer culture is expanding

Traditionally, influencers were celebrities made famous through reality TV or other high-profile activities. However, Ali said this is no longer the case for most online creators.

“Everybody from your neighbor whose opinion you really trust ’cause they live in the same place as you and they have a similar lifestyle to you — all the way to, you know, the celebrity you’ve been following [for years],” said Ali. “All of these people classify as creators.”

Ali cited journalists, PR professionals, podcast hosts and athletes as key influencers in their respective professions. But in the age of widespread social media, less traditionally qualified individuals have also jumped into the influencer game to share their opinions on lifestyle choices and products. These creators may have fewer than 1,000 followers, but they can still significantly impact those individuals’ buying behaviors — and therein lies the opportunity for B2B marketers.

“As kumbaya as [it] sounds, there is a place for all different creator types and sizes on different networks,” said Ali.

But which of these networks are profitable for B2B influencing?

Where should your brand live?

The perhaps unexpected answer, according to Ali? Everywhere. A good mix of content across several channels is the most reliable way to meet your audience wherever they live, work and play. For example, while LinkedIn is a powerful channel to draw in B2B buyers, TikTok is a fantastic channel for catching B2B buyers during their downtime.

Part of the reason B2B marketing is expanding, according to Ali, is the shifting culture of work brought about by the pandemic.

“This is yet another way consumer behavior has shifted in that the lines between work and leisure are so blurred, right? Especially for those of us who work from home or work hybrid,” said Ali.

Finding the right champions

Ali mentioned most SaaS products — scratch that, most brands, period — have a mission or goal to change their industry’s landscape. For example, Salesforce aims to create meaningful connections between companies and their customers, and BLASTmedia is working to redefine SaaS marketing by bringing industry-leading expertise to our account teams. 😉

B2B marketers can use their organization’s mission or value statement to their advantage by seeking like-minded creators who can vouch for their product. Ali connected this method of influencer marketing with another, more steadfast B2B marketing strategy: customer stories.

“What really sets vendors apart is social proof,” said Ali. “Of course, my marketing team at GRIN is going to put all the amazing stuff on our website, all of the G2 badges [and other accolades] we’ve received… But really, who you’re going to believe if you’re thinking of buying influencer marketing software is someone who has used GRIN, is trying to accomplish something similar to you, is in your community and has credibility… Authenticity is at the root of influencer marketing.”

For more of Ali’s insights, listen to episode 351 of SaaS Half Full.