Meta Threads Has Arrived: Initial Observations, Getting Onto the Platform & Early Adoption Upsides/Downsides
And just like that, Meta has introduced another social media app, Threads, into the already-saturated social media landscape. Although the app has been in development since the beginning of 2023, Meta has seemingly expedited the introduction of this app to coincide with Elon Musk’s recent announcement of new read limits on Twitter.
The app has exploded overnight; as of 9 am this morning, more than 25 million users already have joined it. But what is Threads and is it worth setting one up yet for your brand? Read on to learn more about how to get onto the platform and some Day 1 observations.
What is Threads?
Developed by Meta’s Instagram team, Threads is “billed as a text -based conversation app that can potentially rival Twitter.” The platform allows users to publish short posts or updates with a maximum of 500 characters and engage in real-time conversations (much like Twitter, Mastodon or Bluesky). Users also can include links, photos, or videos up to 5 minutes long. The app is linked to users’ Instagram accounts, and according to Meta, users can easily share a Threads post to Instagram stories or share posts as links on any other platform they choose.
Should You Join? Considering Early Adoption Upsides & Downsides
With the massive influx of users into the platform within the past 24 hours, Threads presumably is poised to offer new opportunities of engaging with audiences and potential customers. But as with any new social media platform, there are upsides and downsides to becoming an early adopter. Here’s what localized brands and businesses should consider when deciding whether right now is a good time to join the platform:
Upsides of becoming an Early Threads Adopter
- It’s a brand-new platform and users are very excited to be joining it right now. Therefore the sentiment on the platform is overwhelmingly positive at the moment.
- With no ads and few bots in the feed right now, the algorithm is wildy addictive for users. It remains to be seen how long this will last, but organic engagement is currently very high.
- Getting into the platform now and taking advantage of the current adoption velocity likely will increase the chances of building an audience there very quickly.
Downsides of becoming an Early Threads Adopter
- Meta hasn’t opened up the API for Threads yet, so posting currently can’t be automated through platforms like SOCi, Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible or Sprout Social. This means that sharing posts is a highly manual process at the moment, and it has to happen in real-time.
- For local brands and businesses, chasing the latest, greatest social media platform creates a distinct danger of over-extending limited marketing teams and resources.
- Despite the current wave of popularity, the long-term viability of this platform is still very much in question (particularly for localized businesses). Over the years, Twitter became saturated with bots, national conversations, and niche communities. Combined with a sub-par ads manager, it ultimately was not a great investment for local brands or agencies managing local brands. By contrast, Meta’s advertising platform is much more developed, but it has yet to be seen whether maintaining a social media presence on Threads will turn out to be a productive enterprise for these businesses.
For smaller brands and businesses operating at a local, it ultimately may be better to take a “wait-and-see” approach before investing a large amount of time in the platform. For now, our recommendation would be to simply set up a Threads account and invite all your Instagram followers to follow you there as well.
How to set up a Threads Account
If you already have an Instagram account for yourself or your business, setting up a threads account is relatively simple. Follow these steps to get yours up and running:
- Login to your Instagram Account.
- Tap the hamburger menu in the top righthand corner (the ☰ symbol).
- Select “Threads” (second item down, currently tagged as “new”).
- A ticket graphic will pop up that says “you’re invited” (the ticket is largely symbolic from what we can tell).
- Tap “Get Threads” at the bottom of the “You’re Invited” screen.
- You’ll be prompted to download the Threads Application from the Apple or Google app store.
- Once you’ve installed the application, you’ll be prompted to login using your Instagram handle.
- You’ll then be prompted to set up your Threads profile’s handle, bio, profile photo and link (there’s a handy “import from Instagram” function that makes this process all but painless). You’ll also be able to follow anyone you’re already following on Instagram.
- You’ll be prompted to select “public” or “private” visibility settings for your profile. For personal accounts, we highly recommend initially using “private” (this can be changed later), and for business accounts, we’d recommend setting visibility to “public” so consumers can engage with you.
- The next screen includes some language about “How Threads Works” explaining that it’s powered by Instagram, connected to Meta’s TOS, and that it will be part of the so-called “Fediverse” (which includes other Twitter-like apps such as Mastodon). To proceed, select “Join Threads.”
If you or your brand don’t already have an Instagram account, you’ll need to set one up first in order to join Threads. And if you’re trying to set up multiple Threads accounts, you’ll need to log out of the Threads account each time and select “switch accounts” to set up your new account. Note that you’ll first need to be logged into Instagram for each account you’re intending to setup through the Meta accounts center.
Early Observations About the Platform
At the time of this writing, Threads is barely 24 hours old. So given that this is essentially an open Beta of the app, with users still migrating to the platform and many as-of-yet features to be completed, here are some early observations:
- When you sign up for Threads, the app creates a short link on your Instagram bio that correlates with the total number of user sign-ups at the time you set up your account. Mine is 17,368,059 and Mediagistic’s (which we set up a few hours later) is 25,164,484. Pretty neat.
- Threads will likely outpace the other Twitter clones (Mastodon, Bluesky, etc.) by orders of magnitude because it already has the accounts and the networks. Will it learn from the mistakes of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networking apps? Probably not, but it should be an interesting ride.
- Inclusion of the application into the “fediverse” is an interesting aspect of Threads. This would imply that users will be able to engage with non-Threads users. Will this come to pass and is it an earnest move to create a larger community? Or is it laying infrastructure for future acquisitions and additional growth? Hard to tell, but we’ll bet on the latter.
- Hashtags and DMs don’t work yet, so right now, it’s hard to have broad based conversations or direct, 1:1 conversations. @ tags do work now, however.
- Meta hasn’t yet monetized the platform with ads, but you can bet that’s coming. The TOS even explicitly mentions ad placements. This seems like a shrewd move on Meta’s part because, if this platform is successful, it will mean a massive windfall of ad inventory for the Meta family of apps. Hopefully that will result in lower CPMs and CPCs. We aren’t holding our breath though.
Stay Up to Date with the Latest Marketing Trends & Insights
At Mediagistic, we’re constantly keeping our fingers on the pulse of the industry, ensuring our clients have access to the most effective strategies and tactics. Join our social community today and be the first to know about groundbreaking campaigns, innovative techniques, and industry-leading expertise. Follow us on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube — and yes, we’re now on Threads too — to get an edge on your competition and stay up to date on all things marketing.
Eddie Childs is the Director of Corporate Marketing for Mediagistic. His writing has been published by a range of websites and publications including Copypress.com, Jambase.com, NFLSoup.com, FootballNation.com, and Boating World, KnowAtlanta, Men’s Book, Cobb in Focus, TCL, Blush, Charged Electric Vehicles, Business to Business, and Catalyst magazines. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on Linkedin.
Featured image via iStock
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