Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, a few different platforms have sought to fill the space that Musk has created as he has made controversial changes to the platform. Threads is Mark Zuckerberg’s outing in that space. It’s a new app from Meta for sharing text-based posts and short- to medium-form video. In short, it’s a Twitter clone. That said, Threads certainly is not a one-to-one copy of Twitter. Meta itself is billing the platform as a place for “positive, productive conversations” and as a place to connect with friends rather than the sometimes vitriol-filled news and politics space that Twitter became. Threads is also somewhat lacking in features, though those are sure to be built out as time goes on.
Already, within the first few days, Threads has seen adoption at a massive scale. Since Threads is a companion to Instagram, it’s very easy for Instagram-active users to port over to Threads to check it out. Once you’re there, it’s difficult to delete a Threads profile unless you want to deactivate your Instagram account as well. This built-in user base gives it a huge advantage over other Twitter clones, many of which have sprung up in response to theMusk takeover and have benefitted from the changes it’s wrought. Added to Meta’s size and ability to soak up losses, Threads certainly looks set to be the leading “Twitter Killer” app.
How should organizations think about Threads?
There are few downsides to joining Threads and starting an organic strategy. Meta, for all its faults, is a platform deeply concerned by brand risk and committed to providing a brand-safe environment for advertisers. Even on a new platform with an undefined algorithmic feed and limited ability to find new connections, we should expect high moderation. Even with no ads, Meta is concerned about how organizations and brands are thinking about its platforms. Plenty of high-profile figures, politicians, and organizations have already joined, even if many of them are expressing skepticism of Meta.
No matter which platforms you’re on, make sure to have defined goals for your social media presence(s) that fit into your larger strategy — whether it’s establishing thought leadership, driving traffic, acquiring new names, reinforcing your brand identity, inserting your ideas into ongoing conversations, providing a homebase for your followers and community members to interact with each other, or promoting a more specific call to action.
If your organization is looking to set up on Threads, you can take a low-lift, medium-lift, or heavier-lift approach:
- Low Lift: You should at least claim your username on Threads in case you might want to use it later. You can either import your profile picture and bio from Instagram or leave them blank. This also allows you to passively build up a following over time, as more of your Instagram followers may join Threads and select the option to follow everyone they were already following on IG.
- Medium Lift: You can start publishing on Threads by repurposing content you’re already using on Twitter, or you can post evergreen high-performing content you’ve used there before. However, if you’ve been posting about different topics or using a different tone on Twitter (aimed more at insiders than the general public), you may need to take care to avoid giving your Threads followers whiplash given they may be used to interacting with your Instagram presence.
- Heavier Lift: You can experiment with different post types — text-only, links, photos — to see over time whether a particular format is most effective for Threads. You may find that a more conversational, colloquial tone, like encouraging conversation with your followers, is better suited to Threads’ current stage, where the novelty of the platform seems to be encouraging people to be more freewheeling. It may feel less like you’re under a microscope on Threads compared to Twitter.
- Of course, even when shifting tones, you’ll want to stay consistent with your overall brand voice.
Note: Currently, Threads is lacking key features for accessibility allowing you to add alt text for images, and enabling auto-captioning for videos. To make your content inclusive, you should write out image descriptions within your post copy or within replies to your original post (including the copy on any graphics you’re sharing), and you should make sure any videos you upload are already captioned.
What comes next for Threads?
Right now, the future of Threads is full of questions. This is not the first time Meta has cloned a product, but it is decidedly one of the largest shots it has taken at a social media competitor. On the features side, the app is relatively sparse. Will there be a more robust follower system? Will direct messages be implemented? Will there ever be a web app? Threads engineers are almost certainly already working on some of these, and each has the potential to shift platform usage significantly.
For many organizations, the inevitable question is also around ads. Meta has been more ad-friendly than many other organizations, but Threads is an open question. If ads do come to Threads, how they look, who will be allowed to advertise, and how it integrates with existing Meta products will all mean different things for the platform’s long-term success.
The biggest question and surely the one that Mark Zuckerberg is most concerned with: Will Threads work? It’s entirely possible that another Twitter clone will win out or that Twitter itself will correct course and reclaim its position as the preeminent text-based social network. Even with Meta behind it, Threads has a long road to go to become the dominant app in this space. We’ll be watching it closely.