The worlds of tech and marketing are quite often intertwined, with innovations in the former field giving rise to opportunities in the latter. If you’re a marketing agency owner, it’s imperative to stay on top of the latest trends in tech that could affect the services you provide to your clients. Changes in the social media landscape are one example.
Threads is the latest social media platform that, while newly launched, is gaining significant traction—and it could offer room for expansion in your social media marketing services.
What is Threads?
Threads is a social media app built and launched by Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram) early in July 2023. Threads allows users to post public or private messages of up to 500 characters. Posts may include links, pictures, and videos that are a maximum of five minutes in length.
Threads is an alternative to Twitter, and it offers similar features. For instance, you can smash a heart button on a post, repost it, and reply to it. When logging in, your feed will display content from other users whom you follow, as well as a blend of content from users you don’t follow.
After having come under fire for years for insufficient content moderation, Meta is apparently attempting to create a kinder, safer space for Threads users. Users who post harmful or offensive content can be reported or blocked, and users may control who is allowed to reply to their posts. Users can also add “hidden words” to filter out replies that contain certain words.
How popular is Threads? Are major brands jumping on board?
Threads has become insanely popular in a very short period. In fact, it has officially become the fastest-growing app to date, with more than 100 million signups in the first five days alone. By July 16, it had been downloaded more than 150 million times. During its first week, it had about 93 million active daily users.
Since that time, the daily active user volume has declined, as has the average time spent on the app (down to 10 minutes from 20). However, experts say Threads’ heyday is far from over.
Threads is still in its infancy, and improvements are already in the works. The development team plans to add features that will no doubt be appealing for users—and marketers in particular—like an edit button and multi-account support.
And yes, major brands are indeed jumping on board. Top retailers like Walmart and Kroger, fashion brands like Calvin Klein and Allbirds, and celebrity influencers like Oprah and Kim Kardashian have all created Threads accounts. Threads offers exciting marketing possibilities for large and small brands alike—but it does have geographic restrictions to be aware of.
Currently, Threads is available in more than 100 countries, including, of course, the U.S. If the brands in your portfolio are all U.S.-based with a predominantly U.S.-based customer demographic, then you have nothing to worry about.
However, the app is not currently available in the European Union because of data privacy issues that conflict with EU regulations.
Even if you do have a brand that sells overseas, however, including Threads in your social media marketing plan is worth the effort because you can still target non-EU customers.
How can I get my brands on board with Threads?
If the brands in your portfolio already have Instagram accounts, they are already halfway to being live on Threads. Unlike most social media platforms, these two apps are essentially married. You’ll need to have an Instagram account in order to sign up for Threads.
If you have a client who is reluctant to sign up for an Instagram account for any reason, they might be reassured to know that they can simply create a “ghost” Instagram account in order to access Threads.
They do not necessarily need to be active on Instagram in order to post to Threads. However, the username will remain the same across the two platforms, so it is necessary to sign up for Instagram with the brand name.
If a client is already on Instagram, you’ll need to download Threads from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Then, launch the Threads app. You’ll be prompted to sign in with the Instagram account login info.
If you have trouble, make sure that you’re already logged into Instagram on that device, and then relaunch Threads. You can either customize the profile on Threads manually, or you can import profile data from Instagram.
Currently, there is no desktop version of Threads; you must access it via a mobile device. The team at Instagram is working on developing a desktop version, which marketers will surely appreciate (along with the promised multi-account support).
How can marketers use Threads to meet client goals?
Like other types of marketing, social media marketing connects brands to customers in a number of ways. It can accomplish the following:
- Increase brand awareness
- Enhance the brand’s reputation
- Provide crisis management avenues for public relations problems
- Increase traffic to the brand’s other digital properties
- Encourage conversions through sales announcements
- Boost customer loyalty
- Encourage customer engagement with the brand
There are indeed many benefits of using social media platforms like Threads to connect customers to brands.
In general, there are three main ways of accomplishing any of the above goals on social media:
- Organic content
- Paid advertising campaigns
- Influencer campaigns (paid partnership/promotions)
As of July 2023, marketers getting on Threads only have access to the first and third options. It’s not currently possible to purchase paid advertising on Threads.
However, Axios reported that a Meta source has said the platform will allow paid advertising once its number of users “reaches a critical mass.” That particular threshold was not defined. It’s also possible that the development team needs to iron out bugs before launching paid ad features.
Let’s take a closer look at the options that are currently available.
Organic Content on Threads
Right now, you can get to work developing compelling editorial calendars for organic content on Threads. Remember the fundamentals of social media strategizing:
- Know your target audience.
- Stay true to the brand voice.
- Create authentic, compelling content that will attract your target audience while accomplishing your marketing goals.
- Encourage customer engagement (such as by replying to comments).
- Research relevant hashtags and incorporate them naturally into posts. (Yes, Threads uses hashtags much like Facebook and Instagram.)
- Enhance posts with aesthetic elements, like pictures and videos.
- Stick to a consistent, predictable posting schedule.
- Add links back to the brand’s other digital properties.
Don’t forget to optimize each brand’s Threads profile, as well. You’ll definitely want to ensure that elements such as the bio, profile picture, and external links are all in place before getting active on the account.
Paid Partnership Campaigns
Instagram has branded content tools for eligible brands to facilitate paid partnerships. For example, these allow brands to add paid partnership labels to posts from social media influencers. These aren’t yet available on Threads, but there are plans for that in the future.
In the meantime, you can (and probably should) pursue influencer campaigns on Threads, albeit without the use of branded content tools. Right now, paid partnerships on Threads are subject to the same rules as Instagram. This means you must disclose each and every post that falls under a paid partnership agreement. You can use text or hashtags to make these disclosures.
Stay tuned as Threads continues to roll out new features and capabilities!
In the meantime, you can partner with Pennington Creative to breathe new life into your marketing campaigns. We offer agency solutions across industries to alleviate your workload while providing your clients with the best that modern marketing has to offer. Contact us today for a free discovery call!