If you work in social media or happened to be one of the billions of people using the internet on Thursday, July 6th, then you already know that all water cooler topics consist of Meta’s latest release: Threads.
Many are already calling the app “Meta’s sassy response” to the latest disappointment from Twitter, which has been on a steady decline since Elon Musk bought the platform in October of 2022.
We here at MHP/Team SI took the time to gather some thoughts and information surrounding the new platform release.
A new platform means a major opportunity for brands.
Joining the game late on Twitter is like trying to have a conversation with somebody on the other side of a packed Madison Square Garden: your voice probably won’t reach them. But with Threads, there’s no more fighting to be heard. Being an early adopter ensures that you can find your audience easily. With the perk of being able to find all your Instagram followers with quite literally the click of a button, you can build your following and be put in front of an entirely new audience in minutes.
What kind of audience will you find on Threads?
The audience is brand new. Your followers may be integrated from your Instagram, but what they want to see couldn’t be more different. It’s pretty clear from the get go that Threads is built to be more casual, and its users are treating it as such.
One of the big things on Twitter was the “Trending” tab, showing the top performing subjects of the day, or more often the hour. This is notably absent from Threads, encouraging users to form small communities instead of interacting with a world stage.
Another example of this is the lack of hashtags. Are you looking for cooking related content? You can still follow big names, like Gordon Ramsey, but you’re more likely to see what your neighbor made for dinner than anything. The lack of hashtags makes it so that you already need to know who you’re looking for, as opposed to what you’re looking for.
A “Low-Pressure” Social Media Platform
While Threads is a Twitter clone in many respects, there are a few subtle UX differences that go a long way towards creating a new experience. Most of these continue Meta’s emphasis on mental health in social media platforms, minimizing comparison and maximizing self-expression.
Underneath posts, like and reply counts are de-emphasized. Repost counts are not shown at all. On profiles, the “following” count is hidden as well, removing the pressure to have a positive “followers/following” ratio.
Threads’ UX encourages you to post what you find interesting and not focus on going viral: where so much of the pressure lies on other social media platforms.
What are some of the downsides we’ve seen with Threads?
There are a few “red flags” we see in Threads. Could these be fixed? Sure! We’ve already seen Meta correct some issues in the platform’s first 24 hours. Yet, they’re reasons for pause right off the bat.
First, Thread’s algorithm is unknown and sometimes a little off track. The platform assumedly uses some variation of Instagram’s algorithm to know each users’ interests, but it’s clearly not yet in the same place as its more mature cousin. This could improve as more users come onto the platform. Perhaps a bigger issue is the lack of the “following” tab which Twitter offers. You have to eat what the algorithm serves, and there is no alternative.
Second, it’s nearly impossible to delete your Threads account. You can delete your posts off your profile, but if you wish to delete your profile altogether, you have to delete your Instagram as well. Sure, this locks in a user base in the platform’s early days. But it also feels a little bit slimy to us to make profiles that difficult to delete.
A Few Remaining Questions:
As Threads is less than 48 hours old, we have more questions than answers. Here are a few of the most pressing:
1. Will influencers take over Threads?
So far, so good. Threads feels like social media at its best. Connecting with friends and friendly others to share content, stories and laughs. It’s a notably casual experience. Yet, when individuals with large followings (think Taylor Swift or Kylie Jenner) open their Threads accounts, this could change quickly.
2. Is Threads just Instagram 2.0? Is it a new Twitter?
Big definite no to both. But also…maybe a slight yes? Threads feels like a combination of the two. So far, the platform seems to have the audience of Instagram, being more close-knit and personal, but with the humor and style of Twitter.
3. Does Threads have staying power?
Ultimately, nobody can say for sure. But we believe that, yes, it does have staying power. Let’s go over some of the facts. Boasting over 10 million users in just its first 7 hours, and then over 30 million by 9AM of its second day in existence, it’s extremely apparent that people were looking for something to fill that void Twitter opened up. The app feels like a breath of fresh air. It takes seconds to make an account, using the app feels like second nature, and everything (so far) seems to be running flawlessly.
4. What will ads look like on Threads?
This is the question all of us at MHP/Team SI are asking. What will ads look like on Threads? Inevitably, they’re coming. They’re just not there yet. As Meta’s other platforms allow for easy ad usage (much easier than Twitter, to be fair), it’s safe to expect Threads to provide the same.
How We Advise Brands to Use Threads:
We all love jumping on new social media trends. None of want to be left behind! Yet, as a brand, you have to careful not to go too far off-script or do something you may regret. Here are a few housekeeping rules to help your brand succeed on Threads:
1. Threads may not be for your audience or brand.
That’s okay! Don’t feel inclined to start posting if you are unsure. Not every social media app is for every brand. However, we do recommend going ahead and reserving your username and spot on the app.
2. Keep your posts fun and lighthearted.
Save the “salesy” content for later. Threads is meant to be a fun social media platform. If you post the same content in the same voice you use for LinkedIn, you’ll be out of place. Consider how your brand can contribute to the conversation within your brand standards and messaging.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
If you feel like you need further instructions to navigate this new social frontier, feel free to reach out to the professionals. Our Content Studio team would love to help you consider how you can stay on brand AND have fun on Threads.