Erin Storm | Social Media Director
Emily Rinde | Agency Communications Director
You’ve heard the rumors. You’ve seen the Musk/Zuck feud. You may have even participated in the collective “What are we all doing on this new social network?” vibes. But we’re here with your *official* Threads 101, including everything we’ve observed in the past week and what we think your brand should be doing.
Let’s get caught up. On July 5, Meta launched Threads: a platform that looks eerily like Twitter (humble brag: we were on top of this rumor in our May Social Scoop here). And with 100 million sign-ups in its first five days, Threads is poised to be the biggest challenger yet to the Elon Musk-owned Twitter.
- Threads is Instagram’s sister app that allows users to have real-time, public conversations with one another. While Instagram is more effective for sharing visual content to educate, entertain, or sell a product/service, Threads is designed to promote a more open forum for discussion.
- The sign-up process is quick, with users logging in via their Instagram accounts. The seamless login access is the scary part for Twitter — it’s very easy for existing users to give the app a try, and for Meta to move data between the two apps.
- As if we haven’t heard enough about artificial intelligence this year, Thread’s feed algorithm relies on the AI-driven discovery approach that now powers most social platforms, like TikTok and Reels. According to Instagram’s blog post about Threads, the feed is intended to feature “recommended content from new creators you haven’t discovered yet.”
How does Threads differ from Twitter?
- As noted above, Threads requires an existing Instagram account to sign up. This is already a big difference from Twitter, which allows you to create an account without linking it to any other platform. Many people believe this may help to prohibit bullying and harassment on the platform as you are unable to sign up anonymously.
- Threads allows for more information per post with a 500-character limit vs. Twitter’s 280 limit for standard users.
- You can post website links, videos, and images on both. However, posts, keywords, and hashtags are not yet searchable. Without a search functionality on threads, Instagram accounts with smaller followings will have a harder time breaking through the noise.
- Meta is promising brands total control, implementing Instagram’s community guidelines for Threads. This reassures advertisers who have been concerned about brand safety and community standards amidst recent Twitter changes.
- On Threads, there are no trending topics to tell you what the latest breaking story is or who the day’s gossip trend is about. But so far, the algorithm has done a fairly good job of serving up this content.
- Lastly, taking a significant departure from Twitter, Threads will not encourage the sharing of political updates or hard news. Instagram Head Adam Mosseri mentioned in a Threads conversation that while the new platform will inevitably contain such content, they have no intention to promote those topics and instead will prioritize community building, following a similar approach adopted by Meta in 2021.
Can I advertise on Threads?
Not yet. But our guess is the platform will monetize itself by the end of 2023. Mark himself replied on Threads to this question and said, “Our approach will be the same as all our other products: make the product work well first, then see if we can get it on a clear path to 1 billion people, and only then think about monetization at that point.”
Should I join Threads?
For brands already active on Instagram that are considering joining Threads, the short and uncomplicated answer is yes. Go ahead and register your account. But take note of the below considerations.
- Be comfortable in the unknown: What strategy?! We honestly doubt Threads even has a Threads strategy given its expedited launch. The platform is in a learning stage right now, so in the next 30 days you can expect to see brands experimenting with content to see what resonates with users. It’s almost guaranteed brand approaches will change as Thread rolls out more features in the coming weeks.
- It’s not about the brand: In the long run, it will be the expectation for brands participating on Threads to be an active participant in platform discussions. Identifying an approach to engage with your audience by listening, responding and offering value will be imperative to building and fostering a community.
- Be human: The brands we’re seeing have initial success on Threads are not using it to push brand messaging or external links. They’re on it to be personable, and post (or … thread) like actual people. Some of our personal favorites currently are the typical leading social innovators like Wendy’s, Netflix, Hulu and American Eagle. And *cough*… @broadheadagency.
However, BEWARE that if you decide you are unsure of Threads and want to delete your account, you can’t do that right now unless you delete your entire Instagram account. Fun! However, Meta is investigating a way for that not to be the case in the future, according to a post from Mosseri on Thursday.
So, what’s next?
We have now seen Meta create Facebook, acquire Instagram, and launch a platform that could *maybe* overthrow Twitter as the leader of text-based social conversations. In fact, word on the street is that Meta pushed up the launch due to some of the not-so-positive headlines Twitter has been generating in the past week (we won’t get started on the insanity of limiting users to viewing 600 posts a day — enough for maybe 15 minutes of scrolling?!).
It’s too soon to say what the future holds for either Twitter or Threads, but with the first week down, it’s obvious Meta has unlocked something special, and more momentum will continue as new functionality and features are introduced in the coming weeks.
As every social channel deserves a unique platform approach, we’ll be closely monitoring trends in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, hit us up if you want to chat more about Threads.