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Understanding Threads: A guide for social media marketers

Date Friday, 07 July 2023 Charlotte Abrahams , In: Digital Marketing

Understanding Threads: A guide for social media marketers

What is Threads?

Threads is a new social media app that has been created by Mark Zuckerberg’s Instagram team. It aims to work alongside Instagram to ‘be an open and friendly platform for conversations’ (a broad but admirable goal), and functions in a similar way to Twitter. Sparking some debate as Zuckerberg’s challenge to Elon Musk’s new (and arguably not-so-improved) Twitter, Threads has certainly made a splash from Day 1.

 understanding threads platform logo

Boasting over 30 million downloads in just 18 hours, Threads has already become the most rapidly downloaded app of all time – so, as social media marketers, we would be remise not to take it seriously as an up-and-coming platform!

We know only too well that a new platform can feel like a mountain to climb for us social media experts, with new functionalities, user habits, trends and, of course, algorithms for us to wrap our heads around… That’s why we’ve done our research and put together this guide for all the social media marketers out there.

How does Threads work?

Threads operates as a rapid posting app where users are encouraged to share their thoughts, questions, and opinions throughout the day. Other users can then interact with these conversation chains (which are, of course, called threads) by liking, commenting, reposting, or quoting.

Users can post images, videos, and GIFs as part of their thread, with carousels and videos up to 4 minutes allowing for full multi-media experiences. Users also have up to 500 characters to write about whatever is on their mind – an interestingly marked increase on Twitter’s 280 character limit.

There are a few interesting elements to Threads that we’ve noticed so far, which present a bit of a learning curve for social media marketers.

  • Threads links to your Instagram account, meaning followers can be quickly carried over and profiles don’t have to build up a following from scratch.
  • Threads doesn’t currently have hashtag functionality – a spanner in the works for those of us trying to reach new targeted audiences!
  • Threads is very focused on showing users conversations within their existing network – so if users don’t follow you on Instagram or Threads already, then it may be difficult to reach them initially. 
  • Threads has no monetization functionality, nor will it for a long time as Mark Zuckerberg has stated they aren’t thinking about monetization until the app is on track for 1 billion users (for context, that is more than double the current number of active Twitter users).

 understanding threads mark zuckerberg quote

So, with all this in mind, what is the potential of Threads as a marketing platform?

The power of conversation

It seems to us that Threads may prove to be an invaluable source for brands and businesses to interact with their audiences in a very personable way.

The lack of advertising capability will certainly limit the potential of Threads as a platform for businesses focused on conversion or lead-generation, however there are other extremely important marketing factors that an entirely organic, conversation-based, platform is perfectly suited for.

Here are some of the ways that we can see brands benefiting from using Threads.

Improve brand sentiment

Improve brand sentiment by posting non-promotional Threads content – this is the perfect space for posting about your user’s wider interests, offering insight, entertainment, and conversation to encourage users to see your brand in a more positive light.

Build brand trust

As a conversation-based platform with reply chains being a huge focus, Threads is an ideal platform for being transparent and honest around anything to do with your brand. Alongside posting your own threads, reply to threads about your business to appear engaged and – most importantly – respond openly to questions, opinions, and reviews.

Talk about your brand values

It’s no secret that modern consumers find brand values very important – in fact, as many as 82% of consumers want to buy from brands whose values align with their own. By posting thoughts, insights, and even memes from a brand account, you can solidify your values to users, essentially helping to nurture the right users towards conversion in an organic way.

Show off your personality!

Consumers no longer look to brands to be a corporate, faceless entity. Using apps like Threads can showcase the personality behind your brand, especially if you adopt a more casual, friendly, and potentially comical tone of voice for the content you share.

understanding threads brand personality

How can you gain followers on Threads?

Of course, as marketers, we will all be asking that important question – how can we build our brand following on this new platform?

With advertising being out of the question, we have to put on our thinking caps and rely on good old organic social media tactics to grow on Threads, which is in itself one reason why users are drawn to this platform!

To help you get started, we’ve put together 5 top tips for growing your Threads following.

Start with Instagram
When you first set up your Threads account, you will be asked whether you want to automatically follow everyone you already follow on Instagram. Do this, and you’ll have a ready-established list of followers coming in to get your profile started off on the right foot. Not to mention, many of your existing Instagram followers will automatically follow you back when they join Threads. 

Bonus Tip – When you join Threads, you will automatically get a badge added to your Instagram bio – this will help new followers easily find you on the new platform. Posting your Threads profile link to your Instagram story once or twice also wouldn’t hurt!

Post, post, post, and post again
Especially in the first few months of Threads being rolled out, frequent posting will be very important for getting your content in front of as many users as possible. Although the app is being downloaded far and wide at a frankly incredible rate, it still has well-below the average number of users compared to other key competitors – and the app needs content to fill people’s feeds with! So, by posting more often within a smaller pool of users, you will stand a greater chance of appearing while people are scrolling.

Use visual media on every thread
Threads is owned by Instagram, and as such it shows visual media (images and video) in a very aesthetic way – in fact, the artist community are already posting about how much they love this feature on the app! Adding images and video to your threads may help give your content an algorithm boost, but if nothing else it will help to make your content stand out in a wall of text posts as users scroll their feed.

understanding threads image display

Tag other accounts
Without the use of hashtags to push content out to new users organically, tagging other users will be a very important tactic. Threads users will primarily see content from people they follow – that content includes original threads, replies, and tags. So by tagging someone (appropriately and in a non-spammy way, of course) you can easily reach the people who follow them. A great way to do this is by posting a thread tagging your favourite accounts to follow - great inspiration for your followers, great awareness for the accounts you tag, and great reach potential for you!

Don’t forget to reply

We can’t stress this enough. Threads is built as a conversation platform, so just posting your own content and leaving it at that will not be enough. Replying to threads from your users as well as other brands will not only get you appearing on more user’s feeds, but is the perfect way to showcase that brand personality we mentioned earlier!

A note on trending content

It’s too early to tell yet whether trending content will be a feature on Threads, but we suspect it will come into play sooner rather than later (and may even be working in the background algorithm already!). So, just like you would with other platforms, take the time to regularly scroll through your Threads feed and chat with your colleagues about what they’re seeing on the platform, so you can establish and take part in emerging trends.

So, is Threads worth the hype?

Being such a new platform, it remains to be seen if Threads is around for the long-haul or if it will turn out to be more than a fad. However, the download numbers so far, along with the fact that it is a Meta-owned platform, are all good indicators that we may be looking at a significant new player in the social media game.

We’ll be keeping an eye on Threads as it develops, so check in regularly for any updates!

Charlotte Abrahams

Charlotte Abrahams

Social & Content Team Leader

Charlotte is passionate about all things media. She is a Film graduate with experience in the photography industry and has a Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing. Highly creative but also analytical, Charlotte loves to create original and exciting marketing campaigns that make use of innovative content marketing technologies and trends to drive KPIs. As an avid content writer, Charlotte loves nothing more than sitting down to write a blog post or web page, and she also enjoys putting marketing strategies together. 

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