There’s a new social media platform in town, and it’s causing quite a stir.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, unveiled Threads on July 6th. As the text-based companion to Instagram, this app encourages real-time conversations between users in 500 characters or less.
You might be thinking, “This sounds pretty similar to Twitter.”
Well, you’re not wrong.
It’s essentially a carbon copy of the pioneer social networking app. The difference is that Threads has quickly become the most rapidly downloaded app ever, hitting over 30 million downloads in less than 24 hours and scoring 100 million users in under five days.
As a marketer, you know this is big news, and you’re probably wondering how Threads will impact your brand and social strategy. Is it the next big thing? Should you abandon your Twitter account? What does this mean for your local partners?
We’re glad you asked.
Here’s how Threads will affect your marketing.
Threads hasn’t been dubbed “The Twitter Killer” for nothing. With millions of users downloading the app at record-breaking speeds, it’s not farfetched to think Elon Musk and the Twitter crew should be a little nervous.
While some Twitter users are ride-or-die for the platform, others are less loyal and might be tempted to take their engagement to a new space. That means you might see decreased engagement on your Twitter posts from here on out if audiences turn their attention elsewhere.
But don’t get too hung up on your Twitter followers — many of them (especially hard-core Twitter users) will stay put on the precedent app. Twitter’s not going anywhere just yet. Long-time Twitter users have spent years building their followings and aren’t about to abandon them for what could turn out to be a passing fad.
All of this to say: You’ll have a chance to build a completely new audience on Threads. These will primarily be users who were already on Instagram and many who didn’t previously have a Twitter account. Focus on building and nurturing this new community to find your stride on Threads.
On the off chance you don’t have an Instagram account, you’ll need to get one.
Instagram and Threads are very closely connected. You can’t sign up for Threads without a pre-existing Instagram account — nonnegotiable (at least for now). After you create a Threads account, your Instagram handle automatically becomes your Threads username.
The upside to this interconnectivity is that you can import the list of accounts you follow on Instagram to Threads and instantaneously follow all the same accounts. So, if you already had a large following on Instagram, you’ll likely have a significant head start at building your audience on Threads.
With most new social media apps, everyone starts at ground zero and must build a following from scratch. But with the way Meta designed Threads, everyone’s on a different starting line based on their Instagram following. That’s why many popular Instagram users already have millions of followers on Threads.
So, your Instagram followers can easily follow you on Threads. Great! Then you’re all set on followers, right?
Well, not exactly.
Just because an account follows you on Instagram doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily want to follow you on Threads.
Think about it — Instagram is a highly visual photo- and video-sharing app, while Threads is heavily text-based. Plus, both of these platforms offer vastly different user experiences. Because these apps are so different in nature, they’re likely to garner different user bases.
In other words, your Instagram followers may not be your ideal audience on Threads. It’s a good base, but like any new social network, you’ll likely be interacting with a different audience on Threads.
The Threads algorithm is a bit different than what you may be used to on Twitter or even Instagram.
Threads users will see posts from a mix of accounts they are and aren’t following — just like TikTok’s For You page. It all depends on what the algorithm thinks users will be most interested in. That means Threads may give your followers visibility not only into your posts, but also into competitors’ posts, even if they aren’t following these accounts. That means increased competition for your brand.
However, the algorithm can also benefit you — Threads will recommend your posts to accounts that aren’t yet following you, putting you in front of your target audience. As a result, you’ll gain greater brand awareness from individuals who are most likely to be interested in your products and services.
Take this into consideration when creating content. Some accounts consuming your content will know, like, and follow you, but others may have never heard of you before. Focus on creating content that will resonate with both of these groups to start building those follower numbers.
Threads’ extensive data ownership policy allows the app to track a wide range of user information, such as location data, search history, browsing history, and purchase data.
As a marketer, you can look at this as both a good thing and a bad thing.
Due to Threads’ intense data-tracking, Meta’s targeting capabilities will increase drastically. That means your Threads posts will be fed to highly relevant audiences, resulting in more leads. This also means demographic information will be used to connect local businesses with the right consumers in their local markets.
However, it’s important to note that all this personal information won’t just be leveraged on Threads — it’ll also be used across other Meta platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This data may even be sold via encrypted lists to platforms outside of Meta.
Do with that information what you will.
If you post on social media via desktop, we’ve got bad news for you.
Threads is a mobile-only app not currently available on desktop. That means if you schedule your posts through social media management platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, you’re out of luck.
Chances are, Threads will eventually release a desktop version of the app, but there’s no telling how long that might take. So, in the meantime, your social media manager will have to make do with posting manually on mobile, no matter how inconvenient.
While Threads doesn’t currently support paid ads, odds are this will change.
Meta relies heavily on targeted ads for revenue generation on Instagram and Facebook, so they’ll likely take the same approach with Threads.
In other words, keep your eyes peeled for paid advertising opportunities in the future!
Yes, Threads gained popularity at breakneck speed. But the real question is, will it remain popular?
Acquiring users is one thing, but getting them to continue to engage is the key to success.
There’s no guarantee that Threads will maintain its popularity with users following its initial explosion of downloads. That all depends on how well the app serves its users. If Threads provides an exceptional experience and offers ongoing value to its users, you can expect it to stick around for the long haul.
But there’s also a chance Threads won’t hit the mark with users. In its early stages, Threads lacks some features that are well-loved on Twitter, such as hashtags and direct messaging (though that’s not to say Meta won’t add these features later). Some individuals may also take issue with the tight interconnectivity between Threads and Instagram.
All in all, whether or not Threads remains a success is still up in the air — there’s no telling whether it’ll be the next TikTok success or Clubhouse failure — so don’t put all your eggs in one basket when it comes to your marketing.
As you already know, Instagram and Threads are closely connected — so much so that you can’t delete your Threads account without also deleting your Instagram account.
So, if Threads doesn’t work out for your marketing strategy, DON’T hit that delete button unless you’re cool with losing your Instagram audience too.
On the bright side, you can deactivate your Threads account without impacting your Instagram account. For now, many brands are securing their Threads handles as they build out their social strategies for the new channel.
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