Is Threads the Next Big Social Platform?

The long-awaited launch of Meta’s new, text-based social media platform, Threads, is here. And it’s made quite a splash in a short amount of time. It forecasts a rich future of centralized content, dynamic conversation, and newfound community for brands and creators alike. So, what to brands need to know?

Launched to the public in early July, the newborn rival to Elon Musk’s Twitter garnered more than 22 million users within the first 12 hours. Threads offers Instagram evangelists a seamless integration of their content and community with the emerging platform, making it easy for them to join and get started by creating a fresh space that looks, feels, and sounds like the one they already know and love. Imagine showing up to the first day of school, walking into homeroom, and realizing that all of your best friends are already waiting for you to take a seat. That’s the magic of Threads. Users can follow the same accounts they follow on Instagram, leveraging their existing audience, content, and community, while finding new connections and conversations to share their voice with. This integration eliminates the need to rebuild social networks from scratch and provides a sense of familiarity and convenience. Threads’ content is seamlessly shared to Instagram, and vice versa.

After years of issues, Twitter’s legacy is gravely threatened by Threads, which touts accessibility and safety features that Instagram users already know and love, such as support for screen readers and AI-generated image descriptions for visually impaired users. Safety measures also include blocking, restricting, muting, and hiding accounts, as well as controlling who can mention or reply. Furthermore, Threads came out of the starting gates with features that challenge the parameters we’ve subscribed to for years with Twitter, starting by meeting users’ demand for high-value, long(er)-form content. Compared to Twitter’s 280-character count, Threads amplifies users’ voices, allowing messages of up to 500 characters, while maintaining the engagement features and functionalities of its musky predecessor; users can like, share, repost, or quote a Thread.

Threads has made a bold move challenging even the best parts Twitter, but other major players in the social media landscape also feel oncoming pressure, including Pinterest and TikTok. Threads allows for photos and videos to be posted on the platform, both organically and directly from Instagram, providing a heightened five-minute cap on video content – a long-form solution to Twitter and TikTok’s existing 140-second and three-minute cap for video content, respectively. The first post-Beta version of Threads admittedly lacks a handful of features that Twitter users value, such as providing a follower feed, editing capabilities, character count indicators, search functionalities within posts, hashtags, and direct messaging. Whether the omission of these features is intentional or not, there is no apparent reason as to why Threads would withhold these features in future versions of the app based on the speed with which these capabilities were adopted by other existing platforms to date.

For brands looking to dip their toe in the water with Threads, here are a few key considerations for exploring the new platform.

Alignment with Brand Ethos

Like Twitter, Threads welcomes conversation and opinions that stem from a single source. Brands can propel their brand ethos by using Threads as a space to share their point of view on key issues, trends, and topics that matter most to their audiences – lending a voice that’s more candid and less polished than users would expect to find on other platforms.

Social Relevance

Brands that are early adopters of Threads can leverage the tool’s cross-posting functionalities to start fresh conversations on the platform, stemming from high-performing content they’ve already shared on Instagram in order to elongate the lifetime, engagement, and affinity of existing content that has already shown success – and keep building social relevance. By demonstrating that you’re a digital-first brand, you can help increase overall share of voice in your category, and be a part of the current cultural conversation influencing consumers.

Open Diary and Consumer Research

While Threads offers brands generous space to share a message with their audience and create conversation (with nearly twice the character count as Twitter,) the interface also allows for pithy, short-form written content that Twitter was once known for. Bands can take advantage of these platform parallels by leveraging Threads as an open diary, where anything from a quick, Tweet-like comment to a more thoughtfully articulated message is fair game. It also provides a forum for consumer research. Asking your audiences to share their experiences and POV can not only drive engagement, but help gather insights that you can leverage in future messaging.

Time will tell if Threads unseats other social platforms in fueling brand relevance, but until then, brands can explore how it best supports engagement with audiences – and ultimately influencing their behaviors.

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