If you’ve been living off-the-grid and don’t know what Threads is – no, it’s not a sewing club – it’s Meta’s new social app. The platform is modelled after Twitter’s text-first social networking approach. Twitter has recently seen polarising changes driven by new CEO, Elon Musk. If the rebranding to X isn’t enough (That will never sound right…), Musk has changed X’s priorities, including added paywalls and paid upgrade services that used to be provided for free for all consumers.
Threads has offered an alternative solution for those who initially loved Twitter (the throwback social junkies amongst us). As a bonus, Meta has made the account creation process extremely easy by automatically transferring your existing Instagram community straight onto the new platform.
However, the app has barely caught on for daily users; with an estimated amount of 120 million users signed up on the app, the daily user count had significantly dropped to half that number within a week of the app’s release.
This is in contrast to Instagram when it first launched in 2010. The platform amassed 1 million users within its first 3 months, which grew to 2 million in the next weeks to follow . Considering only 46% of adults used at least one social media platform  in that era, compared to today’s 72% , that’s a pretty impressive retention rate. Today, Instagram has just over 500 million daily users.
The answer as to why is glaringly apparent: they didn’t add anything fresh to the social media game (yet).
New emerging platforms that offer an alternative perspective on social, such as BeReal, have been able to find an audience and sustain it. They focused on doing things completely differently: whether it be no filters, no option to edit photos, real-time posting only, and so forth. The gamification of posting on BeReal as soon as the notification goes off adds novelty, thus they have managed to remain relevant for a significant amount of time.
Many brands jumped into Threads, ready to activate and implement the app into their social strategy. The balance of audience presence vs sheer marketing effort is always a conundrum for brands. One brand dominating the game on Threads is US beauty store, Ulta Beauty. Using a range of features on the platform such as quotes, reposts, and posting reactive content, they have engaged their audience better than most brands on the app.
This shows that, just like Twitter, you have to be ready to reference any new pop culture moment that’s currently trending (see the above, referencing the awful ‘Aged Filter’ on TikTok that’s got users questioning whether they’re using enough retinol in their skincare routine).
We have seen this ‘immediate jump’ previously of course. In 2016, on the release of TikTok, brands jumped on immediately ready to start creating but didn’t have much of an idea of what works best on the app, besides the dance crazes. As a result, a lot of time and resource was wasted from a brand perspective before truly understanding the value to the consumer that your brand could play.
With Threads, it’s not about freely posting several times a day like users of Twitter – there needs to be a strategy behind your content.
If you do decide to include Threads in your social strategy, thinking about who you’re targeting is the first step. Maintaining the same tone of voice as your main Instagram audience is crucial, as this is the established community you have built, and this is the persona they know you as.
It’s important to note that consistency and a defined tone of voice are needed to do well on Twitter and sadly some brands just want to hop on the bandwagon. We can’t all be Wendy’s.
People want to hear from people and build personal connections with the brands they know and love. When you think about who you want to attract, you need to be willing to connect with them further by having back-and-forth conversations.