Threads by Instagram: What You Need To Know

Our team has been hard at work analyzing this exciting new opportunity for your business, here’s what we know for now!

By Sam Kessenich ; Chief Digital Officer

Meta’s done it again! 

Today, the teams that brought us Facebook and Instagram introduced Threads, a new app eerily similar to Twitter (sarcasm, it’s meant to be Twitter’s replacement). This development comes at a very opportune time in the social arena, considering Twitter:

  • Recently introduced limits for how many posts a user can view
  • Has seen a continued rise in hate speech and bot/spam counts since Musk’s takeover
  • Employes a skeleton-crew since Musk moved forward with laying off 90% of their overall headcount

It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time that Meta has ‘zucked’ another app. Lookalike apps are a major part of the Meta business model. The ‘Stories’ feature was launched to take over Snapchat and greatly damaged their relevance as a platform and ‘Reels’ was launched to compete against TikTok. However, oftentimes these Meta copycat apps do fail — just ask engineers who brought us Neighborhoods, Sparked, Campus, Tuned, Super, and…..weirdly enough, Threads (as an IG Messaging App) from 2021. Why do we think this may be different though? See the aforementioned timing to review.

What is ‘Threads’?

Threads is a stand alone social media app designed to seemingly communicate with, and foster community growth. It really is, in essence, a Twitter lookalike, rolling out with some of the exact same features that Twitter has.

[via Social Media Today]

As a platform, Threads allows users to publish short posts/updates, similar to Tweets, that are up to 500 characters long. You can include links, photos or videos up to 5 minutes long as well, allowing users the fairly traditional functionality of social-posting apps.

Why Could Threads be Different?

I see Threads having two opportunities to differentiate itself and have a longer-lasting shelf life than other Twitter competitors (see: Mastodon, BlueSky) — one a positive argument for Threads, the other a negative for Twitter.

#1: The Positive: Simplicity to Join & Grow

Not only is there less friction since this is coming from Meta, but there’s also an ease in porting over your current Instagram followers / follower lists, eliminating the start-from-scratch friction we typically see with new platforms. Additionally, you can cross-post your ‘thread’ directly to your Instagram story for instant follower growth to your new account.

Cross-post your first Thread to your Instagram story to begin growing your following.

Meta is already reporting that 10 million users have signed up in the first 12 hours of launching and is #1 on the social media app download charts for Apple’s iOS App Store. For context, BlueSky and other competitors have struggled to get 1 million sign ups over the course of months.

Threads includes the option to post to the world or post to certain people, giving it the flexibility to offer carrots to followers of certain users or groups with exclusive content, which has the capability of fostering a more meaningful experience for users. We don’t know this yet considering it’s been >24 hours since launch, but in theory this could lead to a more personalized & relevant feed of your interests, instead of whatever Twitter has been putting in front of us. The marketing opportunities for personalized messaging are endless! Do you segment lists and messaging for email communications from your business? You may be able to do the same here in the future.

#2: The Negative: Twitter is Suffering as a Brand and Platform Right Now

To be honest, Twitter is going through a real lull right now. 

Casual users like myself, who use it for marketing news, sports and news have a hard time finding information from accounts I used to rely on. This is likely sparked by power users of Twitter (those posting multiple times per day) being hammered by bots on every post.

That’s not to mention the volatility on a day-to-day basis of a company run by one single person who may be more focused on literally getting in a ring and fighting Mark Zuckerberg than the social platform he acquired for $44 billion dollars.

RyTech Recommends:

For our monthly social clients: our team has you covered! Those who are working with us and who have an active Instagram account that we manage: our team is proactively securing your handle on the Threads app to ensure that no one else is able to claim or misrepresent your brand. And, your RyTech team member will be in touch to discuss how this fits into your existing social media strategies.

For everyone else: Go join Threads, now. 

At the very least, securing your handle from a brand-safety point of view is critical and it’s a quick and easy process.

It’s okay to take a pause for planning after you’ve secured your brand name on the new platform. It’s probably not necessary for a brand who is inactive or not seeing community growth on Twitter to immediately roll out a new strategy for Threads. Growth strategies take time and commitment, after all. That being said — there’s a benefit to being an early mover, and if you see community building as part of your long term strategy, we’d love to have the conversation!

Stay tuned as there will definitely be more to come on Threads and it’s deployment into your social media marketing strategy.

More Items to Note:

  1. Threads is a Decentralized app. Similar to BlueSky or Mastodon — data isn’t owned by Facebook/Instagram and, in the future, a following you create on Threads you would be able to take with you.
  2. Threads hasn’t launched in the EU due to future (2024) regulations.
  3. Threads is only available on Apple iOS devices at the time of publishing this, Android apps are in development.
  4. Threads follows the same community guidelines as Instagram.

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