Threads went live on 6th July, and – thanks to the hassle-free account creation process (you just confirm which of your Instagram accounts you want to link it to and can copy over – or edit – your bio and followers from there) – it racked up 10 million sign-ups in seven hours!
Well, I say it went live, but it’s not available in the EU, which has much stricter privacy laws than the 100+ countries it has gone live in. The upside of this is when (/if) the EU nations do get to experience Threads, thousands of marketers will have already learned the sometimes tough lessons that an early-stage app delivers.
Thanks to the link to Instagram accounts, some brands have already got massive audiences to play with, such as Netflix, which already has two million followers.
Early tips and tricks
1. Entertaining and witty posts are getting the most engagement
One of the reasons people have flocked to Threads is they’re desperate for some light relief. Things have been getting pretty heavy over at Twitter for a while now, with people keen to get invited to Bluesky to be somewhere, well, fun.
Threads is delivering on that need for light-hearted banter – and brands are getting in on the action.
2. Threads is a place for conversations
Threads is designed to encourage conversations, and savvy brands are finding simple but entertaining ways to get people talking.
Whether it’s Ben and Jerry’s asking, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” or Playstation asking about people’s games of the year so far, brands are taking full advantage of people’s hype about the new platform.
3. The best results will come from original content
I know, I know, how many platforms is a social media manager supposed to juggle, right? But we all know that cross-posting the same content on Twitter, Threads, and any of the myriad apps your brand is on is not a great look – and engagement will suffer.
We have to be mindful of what people are finding funny right now, while also thinking about the overall purpose of the platform as it launches.
Posts that are witty, have no references to products and feel that bit more spontaneous and gleeful (meaning social media managers have the freedom to flex tone of voice and be more agile with content) will get the most engagement.
Brands don’t usually rock up to a new social platform this early, and people haven’t had a chance to settle in, so if your brand is going to take up valuable space on their feed without annoying people) it’ll need to be able to embody the vibe.
Threads is brand new, and there are a lot of things we – and it – need to work out.
- Tool integration – how will it work, and how will we report on engagement?
- Native access – there’s no usable web version yet, so the app needs to be downloaded on someone’s phone. Who should this be? (Keep in mind that there’s no way to schedule posts right now either.)
- Engagement – someone needs to monitor replies – and, well, reply to them. Until we have tool integration, this is going to be someone on a phone. Who is this going to be?
- Channel mix – Threads will undoubtedly shake up brands’ social media strategies. What long-term effects will this have?
- App features – Meta launched Threads in a rush to capitalise on Twitter’s recent struggles, so it’s lacking ‘essential’ features like DMs, functional hashtags, and search (and, as of writing, it’s a bit of a bother to use gifs – they have to be saved to your phone’s gallery first). Brands will need to plan engaging and entertaining content around these limitations.
- Proactive engagement – this is a bit difficult right now as we can’t search and can’t monitor hashtags or keywords. As we’ve seen, some brands are doing this well, despite the limitations.
Threads has a few issues that we’re hoping will be addressed soon.
- Accessibility isn’t great. There’s no desktop version, no ability to add alt-text and no video captioning.
- Security and privacy issues abound. To use the app, you need to let it access a lot of personal information – like health, financial and location data.
- Deleting your account is…tricky. Deleting Threads means deleting your Instagram account. You can deactivate your account instead, which only affects your Threads account, but Meta has read the room and is looking at a way to separate Instagram and Threads enough to let people delete their Threads account if needed.
While Threads is in its very early stages, and managing an account may be a little rough, it’s a great time to experiment with creative content.
So far, Threads is a lighthearted, fun space, so keep this in mind when testing the platform. Users are more likely to engage with brands who are using a playful, down-to-earth tone of voice.
You have 500 characters to play with, images, video and your imagination. Good luck, and have fun!