The established social media platform space has a surprise contender with Zuckerberg’s newly launched text-based Threads – but what does it mean for businesses? Katrina Bell investigates.
Up until Elon Musk reluctantly emptied the cookie jar to pay for Twitter, the social media apps space had been relatively stable. No doubt as a direct reaction to the Twitter meltdown, Meta’s clone Threads has burst onto the scene with a hasty splash. Prior to launch, there was little concrete information available and a tonne of conjecture that it would be a Twitter killer, but in the event it notched up an estimated 100million sign-ups in the first five days. For context, Twitter has 450million active users.
While every mob from politicians to Pete from down the road have had a lot to say about the new Twitter-lite, what it means in the short and longer term for businesses who use Twitter as part of their marketing strategy is less clear.
Here are 7 things we do know, and can expect in the future from Threads.
1. Posts are 500 characters in total and can include video and images. Tools include the ability to post your Threads directly to Twitter (lol) and also share within the app to Instagram, your messaging contacts and Facebook. You can also decide if only followers can respond to your post, or if it should be open to all users.
2. Decentralisation is on the way. Eventually it will work with other social networks, such as microblogging platform Mastodon, which is likely to be the first beneficiary of a system intentionally built to let you post your Threads between other social apps.
3. It’s not currently chronological, which is off-putting to most users, but particularly if you are posting regular updates from your Insta account. This means they will all be bunched up together, which can only harm engagement. For now it is worth cherry-picking only your most important posts to appear on Threads.
4. Organically, accounts you follow on Twitter do not naturally sit in the same space as Instagram accounts – you may have to spend a considerable amount of time following your Twitter contacts if you decide to migrate over or create a shadow account with the same content. There are currently no hashtags to help that process along. That process will naturally offer an opportunity to better understand what those two audiences mean to your brand and how they interact.
5. Social scheduling tools such as Hootsuite and Loomly have yet to incorporate Threads into their workspaces, but that won’t take them long. Whether we should bother after the initial gold rush is another ‘to be decided’.
6. There is currently no advertising on the platform or any indication of how verification may work for either public figures or brands. If you have a 'blue tick' on Insta, that will carry over, as will your followers, who will automatically get an invite to follow you there. But if eventually the market decides Threads is a dud, do not delete your account as it will also delete your Instagram account. Which is shady, and a sign of things to come. Twitter never made money, so has Zuckerberg worked out a better model?
7. What did Twitter do well for you? Perhaps it was creating a bond within your peer group or an avenue for customers to get in touch with queries? Chances are Threads will turn out to do similar, even if it isn’t the creators’ intention. There is no direct messaging function, so customer service would have to be done out in the open.
So what should you do while things get ironed out?
Claim your brand’s real estate by creating an Instagram-Threads account and get in line with the very many stressed-out social media managers scrambling to integrate Threads into their communication landscape. And there’s still former Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s Bluesky to launch too... Only time will tell.
One thing is certain, Threads isn’t the Twitter killer it is being touted as. That’s Twitter.