Unless you really had your ear to the ground lately, you may have been completely blindsided by the new player that just stepped up to the social media podium: Threads. With 30 million accounts and growing (that number is going to look quite different even by the time this blog post hits the web!) Threads – which falls under the Meta umbrella along with Facebook and Instagram – has already earned the nickname of “the Twitter killer” and is, more or less, a Twitter “add on” for Instagram. In fact, it’s so similar to Twitter, that the threat of lawsuits is already underway.
For the moment, the mood on Threads is a little like a cocktail reception: everyone is excited to be there, to be able to immediately connect and talk to friends (thanks to the app’s integration with Instagram; for now, only Instagram users have access to Threads), and just enjoy the ride. But pick through the witty memes and sewing-related puns, and you’ll discover plenty of users are already asking what Threads could mean for digital marketers and brands, as well as Instagram Threads marketing as a whole.
What We Know So Far
Threads is such a newcomer to the social media scene that we can only speculate on how it will change the digital marketing landscape. We can safely assume that it will be used by digital marketing agencies and social media management teams as yet another tool to build deeper, more personal relationships with followers. As for now, Threads doesn’t offer anything new outside of a new spot on the internet for people to gather and talk – you can post, reply and repost (re-thread?), and share carousels of images, videos, GIFs and more. However, more engaging features, such as Instagram’s reels, are yet to make their way onto Threads. And of course, there are no paid ads (yet!), and no way to search for anything outside of user accounts. This makes Instagram Threads marketing challenging at the start, but we’ll see how we can help get brands’ visions and messages across as the app progresses.
Threads is also unique in that, when you sign up, your Threads account is directly linked to your Instagram account – which means all the people, brands and funny cat video pages you already follow there are copied over as followed accounts on Threads. So, when you sign up, you’ll potentially be following hundreds or thousands of other Thread accounts already.
This is not only incredibly useful for the average user (there’s no need to sit and hunt down and re-follow all your friends, family, and favourite brands), but a huge drawcard for businesses already present on Instagram. There’s no making of a new account and gathering an audience, because your audience has taken the same train over from Instagram to the sparkling new station that is Threads. In a sense, you’re given a head start, and now is the perfect time to announce your brand’s arrival and kick off your Instagram Threads marketing from the get-go.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Some have speculated that Threads launched a little too early, since a number of simple functionalities aren’t yet present, such as the lack of search options we just mentioned. There is also no desktop version (well, there is, but you can only look at posts: you can’t post from desktop, or interact with anyone). Hashtags are also gone, which is a big departure from the direct competitor, Twitter, and is yet another answer to the question “is Threads the same as Twitter?”
Additionally, as of yet, there’s no option to delete your Threads account. You can hide or disable it, but if you want to delete your account entirely, this means deleting your Instagram account, too. And no established business, and probably the average user sharing photos of their holiday to Europe, wants to do that (and speaking of Europe, Threads is not available in the EU at the time of writing this blog).
Another complaint from users – but not necessarily from businesses looking to get eyes on their posts – is that Threads’ does not use a chronological timeline. Instead, as is the case with all other social media platforms, the timeline is algorithmic. This benefits those interested in Instagram Threads marketing, but can be a hindrance to the average user looking for a more authentic experience. In addition to this, you cannot choose to see posts made by only the accounts you follow, which has led to frustration from users being fed content that they simply are not interested in or downright hate, in some cases. Hopefully, with time, more features will be rolled out, allowing for social media marketing teams to really flex their skills on this new platform. But before you can do that, it’s important to understand how Threads’ algorithm works, and how it decides what content to relay to which users.
A Quick Look At Threads’ Algorithm
Threads offers a unique experience by curating posts from both familiar faces whilst also introducing recommended content from emerging creators you may not have engaged with before. If you’re interested in Instagram Threads marketing, this new algorithm is important to understand as the platform continues to grow, so that you can make the most of your digital marketing strategies.
When asked about the Threads algorithm, Adam Mosseri (the head of Instagram) shed light on its internal workings. Instead of relying on post rankings, the algorithm will suggest content from an array of accounts that you don’t currently follow. This approach was considered quite important by the development team, particularly for a brand new app, as users need to follow a sufficient number of accounts for the algorithm to work properly. This means that Threads doesn’t need to be guessing and creating a profile for a new user: it can start showing them both specific and recommended content right away, in a boon for brands trying to reach their existing and new audiences via social media marketing.
As we’ve already mentioned, there are some features that Threads really needs to consider adding in to either help the algorithm, or tweak and improve the user experience a little more. These requests include the aforementioned chronological home feed or a “For You” feed – which, according to Mosseri, has already received support from the head of house Mark Zuckerberg, and is in the works.
So – Will Threads “Kill” Twitter?
Twitter has been in a to and fro situation since it was taken over by Elon Musk in October of 2022 (the new CEO is in fact Linda Yaccarino, yet Musk still seems to be seen as the “leader” of the platform). From $8 buy-in blue check marks that saw the site rife with impersonators – including one that tweeted “insulin is free now” and caused a US$15 billion dollar loss to American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly & Co. – to a cap on how many tweets free users can view per day, plenty of people have had enough of the blue bird’s reign.
The good answer as to whether or not Threads will kill Twitter comes down to funding. According to numerous sources, including an interview conducted by Forbes, Twitter is currently doing whatever it can to gain funds, drawing as much money from its users as possible. Meta/Threads on the other hand, seems to have no problem spending money on making their new platform a success, so it would not surprise us to see brands moving more of their marketing budget in its favour if the user numbers drop significantly on Twitter and rise on Threads.
Another interesting takeaway is that Threads isn’t trying to capture a particular audience. Whilst there have been a string of Twitter clones in recent years, including Truth Social, Mastodon and Parler, none have gained exceptional success due to their partisan views. Truth Social and Parler have always aimed for the conservatives (and were even supported by the likes of former US president Donald Trump), which isolated more liberally-minded Twitter users. By side-stepping these strong stances and creating a social media platform for everyone, Threads has a much better starting position and could indeed out-perform Twitter sooner rather than later.
Get Ahead Of The Crowd: Start Your Social Media Marketing Journey With Studio Culture
We’re culture, with a studio touch. We’re ready to launch your new campaign on a platform that works for you – whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or the newcomer Threads. Our tailored solutions include social media management, digital marketing and web design, SEO, Google ads, email marketing and more. Get in touch with our professional (but totally approachable!) team today. And while you’re at it: add us on Threads!