By now, you’ve likely heard from all the buzz that Meta has released Threads, its Twitter competitor and standalone app. Posts on Threads can be up to 500 characters long and can include photos or videos that are up to five minutes long. Currently, the only ‘home’ feed shows accounts you follow, along with accounts recommended by Instagram’s algorithm.
The quick launch of Threads comes on the heels of the recently introduced Twitter restrictions and is available in 100 countries. Threads reached one million users in just 1.5 hours, surpassing every other major social media platform. For context, ChatGPT took five days to reach one million. Currently it is not available in the European Union due to regulatory concerns and some laws coming into effect next year, but it sounds like Instagram is working on the logistics to launch there.
It’s integrated with Instagram’s account system, or fediverse, making the onboarding process easier by letting you auto-populate your account information and follow list from your Instagram profile. This also means that users must have an Instagram account to be able to sign up for Threads. The catch? Once you create a Threads account, you can't delete it. Deleting one account requires deleting both Instagram and Threads accounts, at least for now. While Instagram is aware of the public’s negative dialogue surrounding this, the integration of accounts feels very intentional in the long game for Meta. They’ll get the curious “I’ll just try Threads” Instagram users but will also increase new account signups from people who don’t have Instagram but want to access Threads.
What makes Threads different from Twitter? Besides being free to use, we’re seeing a big push of messaging that Threads’ purpose is to enable positive, productive conversations by creating a space for people to express their ideas. Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, stated in a Thread post that the platform is not meant to be a source of news but rather an extension of Instagram with more opportunities for dialogue since the comments section can be somewhat restrictive. This seems to be strategic positioning to put them in direct opposition to the more political and combative tone that Twitter has taken on in Elon’s reign.
The platform is pretty bare bones right now, with no search functionality, hashtags or advertising. We see this being impactful when it comes to influencer marketing, but also want to note that because this is currently an ad-free space, creators will have to strategically think how to integrate branded messaging without disrupting the authenticity of the platform.
So if you’re a brand, should you be using Threads? While it can be tempting to hop on trends, there are some things to consider before starting a new branded social channel:
- Do you have the resources to maintain the channel?
- Is your audience there?
- Are your competitors there?
- What is the purpose of the channel or what are you hoping to achieve?
- What is the longevity of the new platform? Social apps seem to come and go.
If you are unsure, there is nothing wrong with sitting back and observing the evolution of Threads before diving in. The ‘watch and wait’ strategy is often underrated but can be beneficial while you determine your company priorities and resourcing. After all, it’s barely been two weeks and we can expect more information to continue coming out about Threads to help you make an informative decision.
Ultimately, I don’t see Threads failing. Say what you will about Meta, but the company does a good job of repurposing features or apps to evolve as usage and demand increases, for better or worse.
As things progress, our team of Digital Communications experts can help you navigate through these changes.