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What we know about Threads, Meta’s new rival to Twitter

What we know about Threads, Meta’s new rival to Twitter


Thursday 6th July marks a big day in the world of social media. Meta have officially released their new app, Threads, which is set to become the arch nemesis of Twitter. Or at least, that’s what they’re hoping.

Threads amassed 5 million users within its first 4 hours of launch. The app went live at 7pm EDT in the US and midnight in the UK. However, regulatory concerns mean it is not available in the EU at this time.

What actually is Threads?

Threads is a free text-based conversation app made by the brains behind Instagram and Facebook.

Meta describes Threads as: “where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow. Whatever it is you’re interested in, you can follow and connect directly with your favourite creators and others who love the same things – or build a loyal following of your own to share your ideas, opinions and creativity with the world.”

In other words, it’s a place to talk about the things you love with other people. How original.

How does it work?

After downloading Threads myself and taking it for a spin, I can confirm that it’s reassuringly simple to use. It features one main news feed and the classic like, share and comment functions we’re all familiar with. Meta aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. The app looks very clean, minimalistic and unsurprisingly, exactly like Twitter. You can publish text posts, reshare (the same as a retweet on Twitter) and quote share (like quote tweeting). You can also create a series of text posts, much like Twitter threads, which does beg the question: what will threads be called on Threads? Threads squared? A spool? Yarn? Who knows…

Despite Threads being text-centric, this isn’t to say you can’t post images and videos here too – in fact, you can post videos up to 5 minutes long. However, much like Twitter, the main focus of the app is to connect with others through snappy, insightful conversation. Having said that, Thread’s character limit for text posts is 500, which is nearly double Twitter’s.

The interesting thing about Threads is that it’s directly linked to your Instagram account. In order to set up a profile on Threads, you have to log in using your existing Instagram username. So, in a way, Threads is quite literally an extension of your Instagram presence.

This could be relevant to brands if, for example, you wanted to post visually striking content across the image-orientated Instagram, and then use Threads for starting conversations with your customers, gaining feedback and engaging further within your niche.

Another interesting thing: at the tap of a button, you can connect with all your Instagram followers on Threads. There’s no need to manually find and follow all your friends. This means most people won’t be starting from scratch on the platform and, if you’re a business, you can easily connect with any of your existing, loyal followers from Instagram.

Should Twitter be worried?

Twitter currently has around 400 million active users, whereas Instagram has an eyewatering 2.35 billion. Granted, not all of these users are going to transfer over to Threads. But there’s a lot of potential here, nonetheless.

While lots of marketers have been hyping up the release of Threads, we don’t truly know if it’s going to be a success or a flop. Not yet. With apps like Clubhouse riding fast then dying hard within just a couple of years, versus TikTok giving Google a run for their money, there is a lot of potential for Threads to take the social media world by storm. But equally, it could quickly run out of steam. It’s a waiting game for now, and that makes it hard to know whether it’s worth investing into this app, or if it’s going to be a waste of your time and energy.

However, one thing that will work in Thread’s favour is the growing number of people dumping Twitter because, to be blunt, they’re fed up of Elon Musk. From bringing back controversial banned accounts, to laying off masses of Twitter staff members, to recently limiting the number of posts accounts can read in a day, Elon has made some drastic changes to Twitter since taking over the platform last year. It’s been a bumpy ride and, in all honesty, he’s rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way.

As more and more accounts are leaving Twitter, presumably, these people will be looking for somewhere more refreshing to hang out. Could Threads become their new haven? It makes sense, but we will have to wait and see…

There has also been recent talk about the relentlessness of social media – the never-ending doom-scrolling that platforms like Twitter and TikTok encourage. With this in mind, I thought it was a nice touch that Threads has a ‘take a break’ function, which will remind you to leave the app after 10, 20 or 30 minutes.

Additionally, Threads has the option to completely hide any replies on your posts. This function isn’t available on Twitter and has been praised by many marketers, journalists and entrepreneurs already. For example, marketing tycoon Steven Bartlett described this as “the most overlooked feature in [Thread’s] pursuit of creating healthy / friendly conversation” and explained that “if someone abuses, scams or trolls in your replies, you can remove it from view completely”.

Should my business be using Threads?

This is a tough question. Why? Because it all comes down to context.

If Twitter is already a significant part of your business’s social media strategy, and you’re making great progress there, you could assume that you’ll do pretty well on Threads too. Particularly if you’re seeing a lot of your followers leaving Twitter amid the Elon Musk fiasco, Threads could be a great opportunity for you to connect with them elsewhere.

However, it can be dangerous to assume that something that works well on Twitter will work well on Threads too because, currently speaking, we don’t know what kind of culture is going to develop on this new platform. You could end up catering to a whole different crowd.

Equally, if you have a substantial following on Instagram, many of these users will transfer over to Threads and you could continue to craft a relationship with them here. However, you need to bear in mind that your strategy on Instagram, where reels and images take front seat, will look very different to your strategy on Threads. You can’t simply copy and paste your content from one platform to the other – and frankly, that would be pointless to do anyway.

But possibly, threads could offer a place for you to nurture relationships and focus more on gaining feedback from customers. For example, if you run a hotel, you could ask your followers ‘what are the key qualities you look for when choosing somewhere to stay?’ or ‘we’re revamping our website – does anyone have any requests?’ or ‘what are your favourite family days out in the area?’ But this is only really worth doing if you have enough followers on Threads to conduct a decent-sized survey.

The truth is, if you’re already performing well on a social media platform, you might be better focussing on that rather than trying to branch out to Threads. This is especially relevant if you’re already overworked, burnt out, and trying to balance multiple tasks as a business owner.

But on the other hand, if you have room to experiment, why not give it a go? It might be all for nothing if Threads crashes and burns within 6 months. Or, it might be the best social media decision you ever make. Where are your bets lying?

But be warned: once you’ve made a Threads account you can’t delete it without also deleting your Instagram. So, if you give Threads a go and then decide to back out of the platform, you can deactivate your account but please don’t delete it! This would wipe all of your following across Instagram too – and building that back up would be a monumental task.

If you use social media to create a lot of paid ads, Threads probably won’t be much use to you. Not for now, anyway. According to The Guardian, “Meta will not be accepting ads on Threads for this year at least.”

Final thoughts

All in all, this is an exciting time and the Mihi team will certainly be keeping a close eye on this new app. Happy threading (or not)!

Need some help growing your business via social media? Or need a hand identifying which social platforms will work best for you? Get in touch with us today.

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