Threads is a new alternative to Twitter from Meta, the Facebook company. Compared with Twitter, it allows longer posts: 500 characters, with videos up to 5 minutes long. When you sign up — just download the app from your Instagram account — you will be offered the chance to follow all the same accounts you follow on Instagram. You can do so by choosing “Follow All” or pick and choose. The ones I chose nearly all assured me that I would automatically follow them if they ever signed up for Threads.
You are also offered future membership in the Fediverse, where Threads will someday team up with Mastodon and other platforms in a federated system.
When I joined as an individual, not a business, I was immediately shown photos of a kitten, Donald Trump, and basketball games. I expect social media platforms to show me very different things from those. The ads they showed me were all shoe ads. Either this platform is not very good at showing people what they want to see, or they don’t have enough content to be able to customize the experience.
Why does this matter? Simple: you don’t want to pay to show your shoe ads to people who don’t buy shoes on a recreational basis. The great thing about social media is that your content, including ads, is likely to reach people who have, by their behavior, shown that they are interested in your goods and services.
Meta has laid out their vision for the future of Threads quite clearly on their blog. They aren’t there yet, but they’re heading that way, and they are more likely to succeed than anyone else we can think of at the moment.
The research on Threads
Some people have already run experiments. Website Planet found that posts on Threads had higher engagement rates than the same or similar posts by the same companies on Twitter. The numbers of followers at Twitter are so much higher, however, that we questioned the value of this observation. Fortunately, Neil Patel did a similar experiment and calculated engagement per user. He also found that engagement is much higher at Threads.
Perhaps the early adopters are making an effort to increase real connections. After all, a social media community with few people will not succeed. If you are emotionally invested in Threads and you want to make sure it stays around, you need to be engaged and encourage other users.
Getting in on the ground floor
Right now, if you are on Threads you can expect that a relatively large proportion of users will see your posts. Their friends and family aren’t there to distract them, there are very few ads so people may be more likely to pay attention to the ones that are there, and you generally won’t have as much competition for people’s attention as on any other social media platform.
You can establish your brand before your competitors do.
Is this beneficial? You won’t know for sure until you try.
Threads allows links, which Instagram does not, and you can share a Threads post easily on your Instagram account. It’s a treat-based platform, like Twitter (X). You can share photos, graphics, and videos, but it can be a better choice for your business if you don’t have much in the way of visual assets.
I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of traffic or conversions from Threads at the moment. Try it out, though, and watch your analytics. If you see action, build on it.
How to join Threads for your business
- Make sure you’re logged in at Instagram with your business account.
- Download the Threads app on your phone. You can’t currently do this on your desktop.
- Click the “Log in with Instagram” button.
- Import and/or edit your profile.
- Complete the wizard by following accounts.
- Click the “Join Threads” button.
If, like me, you signed up personally on Threads first, you will have to log out before you can add your business to Threads. You can’t manage both a personal and a business account together.
Start posting and see what happens. I’ll let you know what we learn as we go along.