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Threads: How to Approach the New Social Media App

July 18, 2023

Background: What is Threads?

Threads, a new text-based social media app from Meta, officially launched July 5. Since then they’ve set records, becoming the fastest growing app in history by hitting 100 million users in just 5 days. As of writing, the app reaches 109 million people (68% male, 32% female).  

Overview: How does it compare to Twitter?

Threads has been called Meta’s version of Twitter due its similar feed layout, emphasis on text-based post sharing, and documented intent to be a hub for real-time and topical conversations.
“The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation. We hope to take what Instagram does best and create a new experience around text, ideas, and discussing what’s on your mind.” – Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg
It is closely tied to a user’s Instagram account, through which most new users have originated with just a click of a button (96% of Threads users are also active on Instagram). A common Instagram post trend is to share Tweet screenshots, and this new app positions Meta to become the source of this text-based content on their platform. Meta also streamlines the sharing process by allowing users to easily share their Threads post to their Instagram Stories by simply clicking the “Add to Story” button. Currently, Twitter has 250 million users compared to Threads’ 100 million. However, Threads is drawing from its 2 billion Instagram users so the audience growth potential is still high. And while Threads may not replace Twitter’s niche (only 56% of Threads users are also on Twitter and avid Twitter users have yet to find the new platform as useful for chronological conversations and follower-exclusive feeds), it could replace Twitter for avid Instagram users since the platforms’ seamless integration makes it feel more like an extension of their current Instagram experience. Some have raised concerns about how the two platforms will navigate the upcoming election year, and politics in general. At this point, whether each platform moves toward one side of the aisle remains to be seen. What we do know is that fact-checking to limit misinformation is planned for Threads similar to existing filters on Facebook and Instagram, a feature that Twitter has received backlash for not including.  

Opportunity: Should my brand start a Threads account?

Yes! Currently everyone is simply exploring the new platform so it is a very low stakes time to get involved. Whether Threads should become a long-term player in your social strategy remains to be seen, but at minimum, creating an official account for your brand is a smart move to claim the space if any unofficial brand accounts should arise.  Additionally, starting an account now is a good way to take advantage of the app’s easy set up to automatically follow the same accounts from the user’s Instagram. This means that when your Instagram followers start a Threads account, they will also follow your brand on Threads, allowing you to build an audience faster. And since the largest cohort to join Threads so far is Gen Z, who are less active Instagram users, this could be an opportunity and space to better engage a younger audience.  

Approach: How should my brand use Threads?

Short-Term – Approach similar to Twitter but with a potentially higher reach and more engaged audience, at least initially while users are heavily experimenting with the new app. Other Threads use case comparisons have been made to Reddit or a blog’s comment section, praising how easy it is to crowdsource opinions or recommendations around specific topics all in one place.  Users are saying they like the informal, playful way others are using the new platform instead of being sold to. Threads (so far) is collectively thought of as a place to be creative, fun, and even a little silly or offbeat. Likewise, your brand’s tone should lean more informal with content that is relevant to your brand but not promoting the brand. Threads posts focus on the copywriting with little to no need for imagery, although the app does enable photo and video sharing up to 5 minutes in length. Once you create an account, share your first post on Threads to either:
  • Join the conversation: Post relevant commentary, hot takes or humor about your customer’s mindset or experience with your brand, vertical or products. These are most likely to be shared out on users’ own Threads accounts and encourage more early followers. Avoid time-sensitive topics and announcements for now to play it safe, as a chronological feed is not yet available.
  • Start new conversations: Invite users to sound off on their favorite products, feedback on new ones, or what they hope to see from you next. This is a great way to engage your followers and crowdsource content you can use elsewhere, too.
Then, share this first post on other social media channels with the announcement that they can find you on Threads. Long-Term – Determine Threads’ role and priority in your larger social media strategy based on follower and engagement levels as well as quality. As the dust settles from test users to consistent users, this channel’s value to your brand’s overall marketing strategy will become clearer. Advertising – TBD for now, but Meta has confirmed they will be quickly bringing Instagram’s branded content to Threads so that brands have paid promotion options while they hold off on a full advertising launch for now. This is likely a strategic decision to encourage user growth and acclimation in an organic environment, similar to how Facebook and Instagram also rolled out ad options over time. In the absence of advertising, brands are also likely to lean heavily on influencer relationships to reach and engage their target audience.  When advertising does launch, Threads will have the benefit of being part of the extensive Meta advertising network, which offers brands a high-degree of data-driven targeting options, multiple ad formats and cost-effective pricing. Since Threads is also successfully engaging Gen Z, who have previously not engaged as much with other Meta platforms, this could be a powerful way for Meta to bring more of this generation’s data in for brands to leverage. Analytics – It’s still early days, but we expect access to performance metrics to come in the near future and look similar to what’s available for Instagram.  

What’s Next

Meta has promised more features to launch over the coming weeks and months. Want to get started on Threads? Tandem Theory partners in social media strategy, community management and content creation. Please reach out with any questions!

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