Should Threads Replace Twitter for Your Brand?
With over 100 million users, Threads is growing faster than ChatGPT and any social media platform in history. And it just launched on July 6, 2023! Threads is the latest app to come from Meta and is intended to be a direct rival to Twitter (or “X” or whatever it ends up changing its name to).
Twitter has become an issue for brands looking to reach their audience since Elon Musk took ownership of the platform. If you want your tweets to really be seen, you need to subscribe to Twitter Blue for $8/month. Your subscription will provide you with the coveted verification checkmark, the ability to write longer tweets, and as of July 1, the number of tweets you can see each day (though the limits are said to be temporary).
Users started looking into alternative platforms like Mastodon and Bluesky Social to replace what Twitter had provided. Bluesky has a lot of potential but requires a beta-invite code to try it out as it’s not yet available to the public. Mastodon started in 2016 and had a surge at the end of 2022 but quickly dropped off as concerns emerged around their hosting servers’ security for personal details.
In March, rumors popped up that Meta was developing a Twitter-like app codenamed ‘P92,’ ‘Project 92,’ and ‘Barcelona.’ Upon its launch, the real name of Threads was used. Since it’s directly connected with Instagram, Threads gained instant popularity.
With all the commotion around this new platform, many brands are eager to jump on Threads and get going. But is this the best decision for your brand and does it make sense to dedicate potentially limited resources to?
The big concern is that it violates GDPR as it requires access to everything on your phone, which is why Threads is not available in Europe. Additionally, users must have an Instagram account to create a Threads account which means you can’t delete a Threads account without also deleting your Instagram account.
Due to the similarities, Twitter is suing Meta and Musk is insinuating that Meta hired former Twitter employees with trade secrets.
The app itself is still in its infancy with many features missing, like search functionality, content scheduling, and the ability for brands to run advertisements. The head of Instagram, Adam Mosserri, reassured users at the end of his Reel on Threads’ hidden gems that their team is working on features to make the app a better user experience (like post search, editing, following feed, and more).
Beyond the drama and limited features, you can use your brand’s success on other platforms to determine if Threads is the place to be. Because it’s connected with your Instagram account, you have the option to follow everyone you currently do on Instagram; when those users activate their Threads account, you’ll instantly follow them.
So, if your brand has a large following on Instagram, you’ll start with followers on Threads (even 1,000 Instagram followers could start you with 100 on Threads) which gives you built-in reach for your posts.
If your content performed well on Twitter up until the end of 2022, Threads is also a good option for your brand as the focus is on text-based posts/threads (with the option to add photos and videos too). However, if you struggled to find your footing on Twitter or don’t even have an active account, it may be hard to stay consistent on Threads over time.
Whenever there’s a new shiny object in the social media landscape, it’s easy to get caught up in it – for the brands we work with, we often rush over to at least secure our handles. The nice thing with Threads is you can be patient, if you’ve secured your handle on Instagram, your handle will be available for when you’re ready to get on Threads.
If you rely on automation to get your content out, you may be waiting a few months for Sprout and other tools to provide scheduling options. No scheduling means someone has to have time to stay on top of posting live to Threads, from their phone (you can’t post from a browser, yet).
If you’re new to Instagram, have an inactive account, or just generally have a small following – Threads currently is not set up to help small accounts get discovered. Without hashtags being active and the ability to search posts, you’ll need to be proactive with your community management and commenting on threads, which is a time investment, even with search functionality.
Okay, you’ve made your considerations and regardless of following size, you’re downloading Threads and activating your account. Even if you’re just activating and waiting to see where the app goes in the coming weeks and months, don’t start empty.
Put up your first post right away, even if it’s redirecting users back to your website or pushing for subscriptions for your e-newsletter. As your Instagram followers join Threads, they may see you’re there too and you don’t want them wondering why you haven’t posted anything. That’s an invitation to unfollow you.
If you have more time available, it’s a great time to play around with the platform. The best way to see what works best is through doing. Right now, the stakes are low, there isn’t a lot you can do to ‘mess up’.