Threads is Here: What Brands Need to Know
By Rob Stone, Head of Z3
Threads is Instagram’s timely answer to Twitter, designed to capitalize on Twitter’s recent challenges and provide a viable alternative social network. It launched on July 6, 2023 and is available on the Apple and Android App Store.
Here’s 4 key things you need to know:
There’s no username goldrush – As the app is linked to Instagram it looks likely that you can just use your Instagram username on the service. If you run brand accounts on Instagram you should be able to use those on Threads. This integration also means that Threads has a ready-made audience, although as a text-based social platform it remains to be seen how much of Instagram’s visual-focused community will be keen to start engaging and creating content on the platform long term.
Full functionality is still being learned – Threads is a Twitter-style dashboard and we know the focus is on text-based conversation, but beyond that details on what other features might be available on the platform have been hard to come by. Expect some surprises – this is a very experienced team with a huge amount of data to inform what users want, need and use across all of its other platforms.
Threads uses ActivityPub – ActivityPub is a little-known open technology that many in the industry have been hailing as the future of interoperable social networks. We still have myriad apps and social feeds to keep an eye on and ActivityPub helps users create a single social graph to combine all of these in one feed. Think about how email is a single protocol where you can message someone on Yahoo Mail or Gmail from your Microsoft account without worrying about message format or compatibility. It’s already in use, most notably on another Twitter alternative, Mastodon.
Expect creators and public figures to be a part of Threads – Meta has significant pull and is aware that the platform needs populating quickly with interesting people, great content and smart ways to engage people and get them to stick around. Platforms like Mastodon and Jack Dosey’s Bluesky do well when Twitter is down, rate limiting or otherwise not engaging users. That jump dies quickly though, so the biggest job Threads needs to do is provide that ‘stickiness’ that other Twitter competitors have so far failed to do.
It has been an interesting launch and brands will mostly need to adapt. Launching a new platform, even with the might of Meta behind it, it always going to be a challenge, especially when it’s billed as a direct competitor to one of the most successful social media sites out there.