Twitter to X and now Instagram and Threads, OH MY! Social media is on the path to an ultimate glow-up in 2023, with new platforms and rebranding flying at our heads left, right and centre. Meta’s Threads is now the latest social media platform that has landed in our laps. Having gained an impressive 100 million+ users in the first five days after launching in 100 countries. In this article, we take a dive into the social media app Threads and what the app is all about, how your business can harness it for digital success in 2023, and how Threads and Instagram differ.
What is Threads?
Threads is the latest social media app created by Meta. Threads provides users with a feed of text-based posts that let them keep up with news and create their own conversations. Similar to the established X (previously Twitter), Threads offers an environment for users to interact with other people and businesses without the need to post photos or videos. The platform requires an Instagram account to work, and then a user can post up to 500 character-long posts, with or without photos and/or videos.
Threads vs Instagram
Like Instagram, you can post videos and photos at a moment’s notice. However, unlike Instagram, on Threads, you can post a ‘thread’ to start a conversation with your followers. Whether it be product testing, community building, giveaways, memes, or marketing schemes, you can really try to be different on Threads while staying true to your brand.
Instagram is a social media powerhouse used by over a billion users worldwide to share photos and videos with followers in an instant. Since its establishment in 2010, Instagram has grown much larger than just solely sharing photos and videos. Regular updates have added features including live streaming, direct messaging, and 24-hour-only posts called ‘stories’.
Currently, the main point of difference between Threads and Instagram is the ability to share real-time updates and create public conversations without the need to share a photo or video. However, there are much more significant differences in store. Meta has indicated it is working on giving Threads the ability to work on an open ‘interoperable social network’; what they believe will be the future of the internet.
What is an interoperable social network?
An open interoperable social network refers to the ability to send and receive data among interconnected networks, providing the quality level expected by the end-user without negatively impacting the sending and receiving networks. This means in the future we will be able to connect like never before, without having to jump from app to app, platform to platform or system to system.
The future of Threads
Meta is planning ahead with the Threads app and is investing early in its development for the future.
Whilst being able to link with Instagram, Meta has announced it plans to work alongside ActivityPub; “Our vision is that people using compatible apps will be able to follow and interact with people on Threads without having a Threads account, and vice versa, ushering in a new era of diverse and interconnected networks.”
ActivityPub is the open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the body responsible for the open standards that power the web we use today. It paves the way for a new and exciting path for an open social network where you can gain followers from multiple social platforms without needing the other apps.
What are the benefits of Threads?
- Focus on the people who matter – The app is designed so you can only add people who are following you on Instagram. Your content is only seen by those who follow you on Instagram, meaning you can have a private conversation with followers.
- View content chronologically – Posts now will be viewed in real-time, making it easy to access and connect. Instagram currently offers an algorithmic feed that displays recommended posts according to the user.
- Younger demographic – Meta has used Instagram as a link to Threads. As Instagram is generally known for having a younger user base, Threads is therefore designed and marketed towards that of the younger generation. Meta announced the app is a friendly space based around sports, music, and fashion, rather than that of a political or older-driven user base that Facebook has become.
- Being early is better than being late –We all know the age-old saying, “It is better to be three hours early rather than a minute late”, (William Shakespeare by the way). The same can be said about Threads. First movers advantage, refers to the competitive advantage that can be gained by being first to a market, new product or service. Recently we saw this with TikTok, where the creators of the app in 2019 saw a huge increase in follower size in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic boosting TikTok user downloads.
What are the disadvantages of Threads?
Currently, Meta does not allow for businesses to pay for advertising space on Threads. A user’s dream! An app without hundreds and thousands of advertisements for them to scroll past.
However, this is a business’s worst nightmare. So, what do you as a business owner do about it?
You use our good old friend known as organic marketing. Organic marketing is an unpaid strategy businesses use to keep costs low but still drive traffic and sales. It’s done by building a loyal customer base on a platform. This form of marketing allows creators to build an authentic audience that trusts your business over a period of time, and it often leads to a higher conversion rate due to your audience’s emotional connection to your business.
- Organic marketing may look like:
- Doing giveaways or providing promotions to followers.
- Gaining emails for EMS.
- Optimising SEO.
- Building an audience through consistent and quality content.
- Improving customer service.
- Building your brand voice and name.
How to set up Threads
- Download the app.
- Create your account.
- Fill out your profile.
- Choose your privacy settings.
- Import the accounts you already follow from Instagram.
- Click “Join Threads” & you’re all set.
Setting up a Threads account through Instagram (desktop).
Why harness Threads for your business?
- Enhanced accessibility
If your business is already active on Instagram, Threads has made it very easy to link your existing Instagram account to a Threads account, giving it easier accessibility. The already-proven Instagram app has billions of users worldwide. Whereas Threads is endeavouring to become the text-based version of Instagram – a space to put out thoughts, ideas, and conversation starters in a blink.
- Community focused
Do you already have a significant following on Instagram? If yes, Threads may be a perfect opportunity to get your followers to the new platform and elevate your customer connections. Whether your followers are driven by your products, business goals, or values, Threads is an excellent opportunity to beef up your current strategies and strengthen your brand’s persona.
But how can you get your existing followers to Threads? Well, they made it easy for you! When an existing Instagram user signs into Threads, they will be given the option to follow their already existing following from Instagram. Perfect.
If your followers are few on Instagram, don’t fret. Depending on your business and industry, the rise of a new social media platform could be your gleaming opportunity to create a following for your business, whether on Threads or Instagram.
- Content is key in 2023
With the app being relatively new there are limited users, so creating exciting and engaging content to capture new followers on a new app is crucial. Let’s rewind to late 2018 when TikTok rebranded to its current version. Much like Threads, TikTok only had half a million worldwide users before it boomed (we can thank a global pandemic for that). TikTok’s user base had grown to 655.9 million users in the space of a year, with many businesses and creators jumping on the trend early and cashing in on this growth, transforming their video engagement into significant ROIs. Many didn’t anticipate TikTok to blow up as it did, so it’s challenging to foreshadow if Threads is the next big thing. If the rise of TikTok has taught us anything about posting content is the importance of understanding your audience and creating content that engages and provides value.
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