Since Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last October, the platform has undergone many rapid changes. With alterations such as a paid subscription model for verification, limits on the number of posts a user can see in a day, and now, its rebranding to the simpler “X”, it is not without reason that many seek refuge from the once beloved platform. In addition, ad revenue has dropped by a shocking 59% from last year. A recent HubSpot survey found that 33% of marketers are looking to use alternative platforms to Twitter this year, a number that will likely grow alongside frustrations with content moderation and the ever-evolving features on the site.
This has led other developers to quickly build their own competitors to overtake Twitter’s prevalence. The most notable of these is of course Threads, created by Meta to replace the newly dubbed “X” whilst offering integrations with their existing platforms like Instagram. With a constantly evolving landscape across these two social media channels, marketers can struggle to know what to do, and where to maintain an effective marketing strategy.
Before diving into some best practices, it’s important to understand what Threads is and what sets it apart from X and its other competitors. Threads instantly rose to popularity with over 10million sign-ups in its first 7 hours, with over 100 million users now registered. While the initial number of daily active users has dropped since the app’s release. Unlike other social media platforms, you cannot have a Threads account without also having an Instagram account. This allows the platforms to seamlessly integrate into one another and the broader Meta ecosystem whilst also combating bots and spam accounts. Users can sign up for Threads and auto-populate their profiles with their existing username, bio, profile picture, and even blue-check verification from Instagram. There is even a function that allows you to auto-follow everyone you follow on Instagram who has a Threads account, making it instantly easier for new accounts to get their footing and find their target audience.
Meta announced their Twitter competitor only 3 months ago, rolling it out early to get ahead of the competition. Because of this, we cannot expect full functionality from Threads quite yet. Due to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, the platform is not currently available in Europe, limiting brands that wish to reach a global audience. While it automatically transfers your Instagram followers to your new account, this is essentially the only way to connect with your existing audience. There is no explore page yet, and you can only search for individual accounts, not specific terms or phrases. This is a function that is expected to come with time, as so much of Twitter’s initial allure was the fact that it was simultaneously a news source and social media. Despite this, many brands have found success in Threads’ recommended posts, which auto-populate into users' feeds.
So, what can marketers gain from Threads? There is no option for paid ads or boosted posts yet, but this is expected to come as the platform grows. Still, there is inherent value in getting ahead of the curve and making a name for yourself in the early days of a new platform, when every user is still getting familiar with it and figuring out how to make it work best for them.
Unfortunately, you cannot yet harness SEO to boost your posts or even hashtags, but there are still ways to gather attention and interest in your account and build an identity for your brand. Threads allows you to share text posts with up to 500 characters and videos up to 5 minutes in length, as well as links, GIFs, and images, much as you can on X. You cannot send DMs through the app yet, but you may seamlessly transition from Threads to Instagram send messages there. Threads does not cap how many posts you view in a day, unlike X which now hides all content beyond an allotted 600 posts per day behind a paywall. This gives you instant freedom to interact with as many accounts and posts as you like, increasing your scope for community management and organic leads.
In keeping with its namesake, the platform seems to push posts that are replies to others’ content, i.e.: threads of posts. Engage with your audience and relevant topics or posts by adding value to existing conversations. Be on the lookout for viral posts to reply to, and even create threads of multiple posts yourself, for others to engage with.
Because there is so much potential for virality and everybody is looking to stand out, this is the perfect opportunity to make bold choices in your marketing and allow your brand to take on amore playful personality. Don’t be afraid to experiment with tone and voice on Threads to find what best resonates with your audience. Brands that have already begun to do this are finding success in not explicitly creating promotional content, but rather building community through engaging with other users in a lighthearted way that stays true to their brand identity.
While the platform is still without built-in paid ads functionality, there are other ways to post ads and garner public interest. Consider partnering with popular accounts and content creators on Threads. Have them post a series of threads and ask them to engage with your profile, exposing your account to their audience and helping to grow your presence.
As it stands, X remains a popular app that still sees heavy traffic. If your marketing strategy still works on this platform, there is no reason to eliminate it just yet. While Threads has shown itself to be the fiercest competitor thus far, it is currently missing certain key elements beloved by Twitter users, including the explore page, search function, and paid ads. With this being said, there is no harm in increasing your scope to include new platforms like Threads, especially if you are hitting a growth plateau on X. You may even be able to reach audiences more aligned with your brand’s values depending on which platform you’re active on!
There may very well come a day when a competitor – whether it be Threads or another – claims the top spot for text-based social media, but we are still watching this play out in real-time. If you are marketing on any of these platforms, keeping up to date with the latest news regarding ownership, features, and content across them is crucial. Otherwise, enjoy exploring new interfaces and experimenting with your content. You never know when a new idea might take off on any platform, so don't shy away from the unknown – embrace it.
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