Most business owners know just how beneficial a strong social media following can be. However, as Twitter continues to devolve and place restrictions on how much content everyday users can access, many companies are looking for a Twitter alternative that will achieve the same effect.
Enter “Threads by Instagram,” Meta’s latest social media app that aims to redefine our communication experience. The app, which just launched on July 5, already has 55 million users. While this sounds like an amazing opportunity for small businesses to expand their reach, the app doesn’t necessarily operate in the same way as other Meta platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
So, is it worth it for companies to invest time and effort into Threads? Let’s find out!
What is Threads App?
Introduced as an alternative to Twitter and considered one of the most impressive social media apps by Meta (previously known as Facebook Inc.), Threads is a text-based social media platform built around close friends. It’s designed for you to share your thoughts with the world through “threads” (short ramblings of 500 characters or less) with no hashtags or other nonsense.
Once you create a Threads account, you can search for users and follow them or invite people to follow you. You can also make your profile public (meaning anyone can view your Threads) or private.
Like other Meta apps, your account is interlinked with your Instagram profile. However, unlike how Facebook and Instagram share some information, Threads and Instagram are completely intertwined to the point that you can’t even select a unique username for your Threads profile. This makes it easy to set up your following and share content across both platforms, but it comes with a hefty caveat (which we’ll explore later).
Features of Threads App
Although it has been marketed as an alternative to Twitter, Threads by Instagram is a minimalistic app with only a few basic features.
Posts and Threads
The main purpose of Threads is to engage in conversation with your followers. Therefore, “threads” (or posts) are the central feature of the app. According to Meta, though, there’s a small difference between what is considered a “post” and a “thread.”
Here’s the breakdown:
- A post is a single piece of text or media a user shares. This is usually the conversation starter of one or more sentences of 500 characters or less.
- A thread is a collection of text streams connected to a post. These can include multiple posts made by the author and replies to the post.
This setup is nearly identical to Twitter and will feel familiar to regular tweeters who join Threads. Also, this setup allows users to get around the 500-character limit because they can create a “thread” with a stream of posts. This is a great way to share lists, break down the pros and cons of something, or just share lots of information at once.
When you post on Threads, you can choose who is allowed to reply in your thread. The options for replies include “Anyone,” “People You Follow,” and “Mentioned Only.” This can be a great way to cut down on trolls or spam comments on your threads.
Just like with Twitter, users can also add images, links, and short video clips to their posts. This is great for businesses who want to add eye-catching graphics to their threads.
Since the Threads app is all about communicating with the world, the ability to reply to what other users share is a central feature of the app. When you see a thread you want to hop into in your feed, you can simply press the “reply” button (a text bubble) and start typing.
Replies are limited to 500 characters, just like the original post. However, you can simply tap “Add Another Reply” within the reply screen to keep going if you have more to say. Also, just like with new posts, you can select who is allowed to reply to your reply.
Like what someone else posted or want to promote other brands on your profile? If so, the Repost feature will help.
All threads include a Repost button (two arrows making a circle) that you can tap to share another person’s post. You’ll then have the option to simply “Repost,” meaning it shares the other person’s post straight onto your profile, or “Quote.” When you use the “Quote” option, you’ll share the other person’s post but have space to add your own commentary. Quotes, in particular, are a great way to start conversations with your audience.
How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of the Threads App
The Threads app’s unique features and modern design make it a considerable alternative to Twitter and other social media platforms. It can be particularly beneficial for small businesses intending to bolster their online presence, stimulate engagement, and create appealing marketing campaigns. There are multiple ways in which small businesses can leverage Threads by Instagram.
Firstly, let’s delve into potential marketing strategies tailored specifically for the Threads app environment:
- Share Compelling Content: The mainstay of your Threads strategy should involve sharing riveting posts relevant to your business. As an algorithm-driven platform, ensure that each thread brings out a fascinating aspect of your brand.
- Product Teasers: Businesses can utilize Threads’ unique posting style to share sneak peeks or teasers of upcoming products or services. This stirs anticipation and encourages followers to check your page for any new developments frequently.
- Influencer Collaborations: Collaborate with influencers who use Meta’s suite of apps, including Instagram and Threads. An influencer’s endorsement legitimizes your product in the eyes of potential customers, expanding reach significantly.
Equally important are opportunities for enhancing engagement within the Threads ecosystem. There are several ways you can encourage user engagement with your brand through the Threads app.
- Collect Audience Insights: Your audience can reply to your posts and share their own opinions. Therefore, it only makes sense to occasionally post open-ended questions and use them as a means to learn more about your audience. You can ask them about new products they’d like to see or learn what services they use the most.
- Prompt Responses: The simplicity of the Threads app makes it easy for your social media team to reply promptly to questions or concerns from your audience.
- Use Threads Effectively: Because of how individual threads work within the app, businesses can take advantage of this and create content streams. You can give your customers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into an aspect of your business operations or host interactive Q&A sessions where you and your audience talk in threads in real time.
- Encourage User-Generated-Content (UGC): With certain threads, you could encourage your fan base to provide their own UGC. This is a great way to boost engagement, see how your customers use your products or services, and make these users feel heard.
By efficiently utilizing its compelling features, small businesses can enhance their marketing arsenal with Threads by Instagram and reach more receptive audiences than other social media platforms.
Shortfalls of Threads for Small Businesses
While Threads by Instagram has been designed to present various innovative features, it does come with a few gremlins. These issues impact the potential use of the app as an effective marketing platform for small businesses.
Limited User Base
One significant drawback of Threads is its limited user base compared to other social media channels, such as Meta’s parent platform Instagram or alternative Twitter platforms. Unlike these more popular networks, Threads mostly cater to a niche audience that predominantly consists of younger users already embedded in their circles on Instagram. This could limit the market reach and visibility of a small business trying to connect with diverse demographics.
Lack of Advanced Business Features
Another issue Threads users face is a lack of advanced business features within the app. Typical characteristics found in broader-reaching social media platforms, such as insights analytics or advertising options, aren’t available on Threads currently. This is a considerable disadvantage for small businesses relying on such data-driven insights to tailor their customer engagement strategies effectively.
Absence of Broad Content Formats
In contrast to larger platforms like Facebook, which allow alternative posting formats, Thread posts tend towards simplicity. Given today’s dynamic content landscape, where videos and GIFs play a crucial role in marketing strategy, this absence could inhibit content variety and creativity.
Unlike most other social media platforms, Threads doesn’t provide any way for users to identify topic-based content. The app does not use hashtags, nor does its search functionality allow users to search for specific text or phrases. This means businesses must rely solely on the algorithm to place their content in front of potential fans. You can encourage followers from other platforms to join you on Threads, but that isn’t a great way to get your content in front of new prospects.
Privacy and Security Considerations for Threads App Users
Privacy and security are paramount considerations when delving into the world of social media, particularly when considering a platform like Threads by Instagram as a business tool. It’s important to discern how this alternative to Twitter navigates the minefield of security threats and privacy breaches.
Data Collection and Use
In today’s interconnected digital environment, data collection has become an integral part of any social media service. Under the umbrella of Meta (formerly Facebook), Threads collects various types of user information to provide a seamless and personalized experience for its users.
The data collected includes basic profile details, content shared on the platform, metadata such as log files, and device information. While this data-driven approach fuels the retail algorithm behind customized experiences on Threads, it also raises potential privacy concerns, primarily regarding how exactly one’s data may be used or misused.
Fortunately, Instagram has clear policies outlining its use of data, which extends to Threads. The collected data is used for improving user experiences: suggesting content based on their past behavior, driving thread or post suggestions while taking steps to blunt misuse. This creates an efficient ecosystem where marketing outreach can be driven by derived insights from customer interactions.
Security Measures Taken by Instagram
Addressing worries about security takes top priority in any decision about exploring Twitter alternatives. In light of this concern, Instagram has enacted robust security measures to protect users’ information which are applicable within the realm of Threads too.
Firstly, there’s encryption at play; all messages sent via Direct Messaging on Threads are encrypted during transmission to ensure utmost confidentiality. Furthermore, they’ve implemented two-factor authentication – an additional layer that aids in preventing unauthorized access even if someone knows your password.
Moreover, with tools like spam filters and community guidelines enforcement, Instagram attempts to keep harmful content out and foster a safe environment across all branches, including Threads. These protective layers indicate active effort toward maintaining user safety against potential snares often associated with dynamic digital platforms.
The Permanent Nature of Threads
Sometimes social media platforms simply don’t work out, especially for businesses. However, as mentioned earlier in this post, Threads is completely intertwined with Instagram. This means that, for better or worse, your accounts are connected.
According to Meta, you may deactivate a Threads profile anytime, but you cannot delete it without deleting your Instagram account. When you deactivate a profile, any posts you’ve previously made still exist on the internet, and people can still search for you within Threads. So, unless you plan to also drop Instagram for your business, you can’t get away from Threads once you sign up and start using the application.
Is Threads by Instagram Worth it For Small Businesses?
As you likely already know, dozens of social media platforms exist on the internet. Because each app is unique, the best social media platforms for businesses largely vary based on the industry, size, and marketing strategies a company has in place. Therefore, it’s hard to simply give a “yes” or “no” answer when it comes to businesses jumping onto a new social media app like Threads.
At this time, Threads can be a worthwhile experiment for businesses that want to increase engagement and direct connection with their customer base. It can also be a great place for brands to add a more “personal” spin on their social media presence. However, it isn’t the place for companies looking for ways to “go viral” or expand audience reach through searches within their industry.
Threads will likely continue to evolve as the user base grows, and InSync Media plans to continue testing the waters with Threads so we can share what we learn with the world.
FAQs about Threads App
Is Threads an alternative to Twitter?
Threads is still a new and evolving social media platform. At this time, it is designed to work similarly to Twitter, making it a great alternative for those unhappy with recent changes to Twitter.
What is Meta’s role in the Threads app?
Previously known as Facebook Inc., Meta Platforms looks after various applications and services, including Instagram and Threads App. Being its parent company, Meta governs data privacy policies and implements updates within these platforms.
How does the algorithm in Threads work?
Like Twitter, your Threads feed will include posts from accounts you follow and other threads from users the algorithm thinks you may be interested in following. This differs from other Meta apps, like Facebook and Instagram, which primarily show you accounts you follow with sprinkled advertisements.
Does every thread need to be shared publicly?
No, absolutely not! This is one of the key advantages of Threads: You have complete control over who sees your content because you can choose the privacy settings for your profile and each post you generate.
Can businesses post via Thread?
While businesses can download Thread and use its features, the app is not presently designed to support business users like other social media platforms do. You cannot pay for ad placement; no advanced analytics tools are built into the app, and its posting styles are limited.