Threads, fly-by-night or here to stay?

B2B Marketer Rebecca Caroe unravels ‘Threads’, the social media platform launched as Instagram’s answer to X (formerly Twitter), exploring what the platform has to offer now the hype has died down and what businesses should be asking themselves when deciding if it’s relevant to their brand and customers.

The enormous fanfare around the anti-Twitterati and the ‘cage fight’ spat between Zuck and Musk have somewhat distracted us from the launch of a new social media platform, Threads.

Built by Meta in response to the flight from Twitter it is a mostly text sharing platform built off the Instagram community. I jumped on the day it launched to see what all the fuss was about.

Feature-wise it was definitely Twitter-lite. Just text and image sharing, follow your friends, user search and commenting. Initially you could repost but no filtering or timeline from people you follow. All the suggested accounts they thought you should follow were Instagram influencers and celebrities.

A lot has changed since 5 July 2023.

The notifications are now rather better than other platforms, split into separate screens for follow, replies, mentions, quotes, and reposts. The clean feed layout is glorious. A thing of user experience beauty. The refresh speed is much faster – at launch clicking to comment took a couple of seconds before the comment screen loaded, now it’s as fast as other social platforms.

The user search feature now searches both the username, @handle and the description so keyword searches for accounts to follow are easier.

We’re still waiting for some core features like hashtags and post search…. both useful features for brands on any social platform.

Is the hype worth it?

The speed of take-up was not really a reflection of the quality of the app. Using the Instagram user base, Threads allowed you to instantly “follow” everyone you were already following on Insta… which was a bit of a cheat. It gave Threads a gigantic headstart in building a community, which we all know is key for a successful app launch.

The best ‘new’ person I’m following is Adam Mosseri (@Mosseri) – he’s the dev lead for Threads and his regular engagement with feature suggestions from users and publicising feature updates makes his profile interesting and the discussions in the replies are robust and respectful.

Meta seems to be getting more conscious of personal privacy. In the image sharing options – you can choose “selected” images to share with Threads – this was my choice to begin with. But now it’s a bit of a pain because I can’t just see the full image library on my phone, I have to click “manage” and add more images by individually ticking them. Still, I am not sure what the benefit is to me of not allowing Meta to see photos on my phone.

Many brands seem to be just reposting their Twitter X and Instagram updates onto Threads. The engagement is much more honest and real across the board with less spiteful word-throwing.

The fascinating part

What I am enjoying is watching the land-grab which Meta is fighting in order to solidify its ongoing turf war with Twitter. Each feature on Threads has been chosen deliberately to take on one point of advantage which Musk currently enjoys with Twitter X. Neatly demonstrated by this remark about embedding threads into Substack. Plus I like the snide use of the descriptor “the bird”… It’s like calling names in the playground – but for higher stakes.

What should you do

Until Threads has a large user base where your customers and prospects are engaging, you probably don’t need to move your brand onto the platform.

Do go and claim your profile – staking your claim is quick and could pay back later. Find out from users if they are on the platform (try asking them in Instagram). Do use Threads in a personal capacity – find good people to follow by using keyword search. If your brand values include innovation and exploration, sign up and start using Threads. If your personal or brand values include safety and careful risk management, watch but don’t start using it just yet.

See you on the platform @rebeccacaroe

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About Rebecca Caroe

Rebecca Caroe is a B2B marketer and copywriting specialist.

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