With over 70 million sign-ups in its first 48 hours, Instagram Threads is the newest viral app sensation and the fastest downloaded app of all time. This text-focused app launched by Instagram in July 2023 is in response to Twitter’s transformation that came over the last year or so after coming under new ownership. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says it’s time for there to be a public conversation app with 1 billion people on it, and Twitter has had the opportunity to build this – but just hasn’t nailed it.
Does Instagram's answer to Twitter have any real staying power? Let’s find out.
In this blog, we discuss:
Threads is the newest app built by Instagram for sharing text updates and becoming a part of public conversations. This app is made for creators, brands and casual posters who want a new and separate space from Instagram (and other social channels) to share real-time updates, thoughts and join relevant community-based conversations worldwide.
A single post can be up to 500 characters long and can feature links, photos and video with lengths up to 5 minutes, but of course, as many replies as you want can be added to these posts to turn them into a true thread.
With any new platform, you have to compare it to the heavyweights that we know and (usually) love. But what makes Threads different? Though many apps boast their positive impact on community building, Instagram Threads has something special that allows all posters, casual and brand alike, to do one thing – truly be themselves. Threads fully lean into showing up on social media as authentically as possible, which is timely considering the rise of the importance of brand authenticity on other platforms and on social as a whole.
Currently, there is a lot of buzz around Threads' similarities to Twitter, so let’s dive into it.
Twitter is the most direct comparison to Threads right now. Threads has openly been positioned to rival Twitter and does so in just about every way. The apps visually look and feel very similar, the basic capabilities are almost identical. Having many more years under its belt, Twitter has some additional features like direct messaging, Spaces and Communities — but it seems like new Threads users do not miss these elements. The only drawback of Threads compared to Twitter is that currently, there isn’t an ability to search content – only users. So users really need to trust the algorithm to show them the content they want to see.
All in all, if you’re an avid Twitter user, Threads will feel very comfortable to you.
Although it’s technically a spin-off of Instagram, Threads doesn’t actually compare to it in any way. It’s important to think of Threads as a complement to Instagram versus a direct comparison. Both are working together to aid in public conversation. Instagram is through photos and videos, and Threads being mainly through text. Threads is a true community builder and ‘Instagram for your thoughts’.
To no one's surprise, Threads is extremely user-friendly. The intuitive platform is reminiscent of Twitter, making the learning curve minimal and the time it takes to get started even less. Here’s how to get started.
Signing up is the easiest element of Instagram Threads. Many existing Instagram users are receiving notification alerts that mutual followers are on Threads and getting the opportunity to sign up right then and there (after downloading the app, of course).
Once you’re in the app, it allows you to use all the same information as Instagram, such as username, bio and even your link-in-bio, too. You even have the ability to follow all of the same accounts. For ease and recognition, we recommend using the same information. This makes it easier for your community to find you on the app. But, of course, that is not mandatory if you’re looking to start fresh.
If you haven’t gotten any notifications to download Threads on your Instagram, don’t fret. The app can be found in the app store by searching Threads.
Now for the fun part. With Threads still being so new, there isn’t necessarily much to ‘explore’ but it never hurts to familiarize yourself with a new app. These are the basics of what you will find:
It’s time to make your first post! This can easily be done through the ‘create post’ in the middle of the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen. The great thing about public conversation apps like this is that they can be extremely casual, meaning your first post doesn’t need to be (and shouldn’t be) some sort of sales pitch. Introductions on an app where most people are using the same username and posting to the same followers are not necessary, but a ‘hi, we’re on Threads now!’ can go a long way. And making your first 'thread' is as easy as making your first post. All you have to do is make your starting post, hit Enter three times and that will activate a new post that is attached to your original thread. You can do this as many times as you need.
We are always going to recommend hopping onto a new app or trend whenever possible and this is exactly what brands are doing. In its short existence, Threads has already become a platform focused on community, bonding and real conversations. Not manufactured posts to sell or promote. Brands are actively building community with not only their loyal followers from other platforms but other brands, too, by engaging in casual conversation and replying to questions and comments.
Here’s how brands can foster community on Threads.
Spark conversation among your community by posing questions. A brand in the beauty industry might want to ask users what their favorite product is, or ask users about an unconventional way they use one of their products. This is a great way to start a conversation among users, engage with your audience and delve deeper into their thoughts and feelings about your brand.
While asking questions and engaging with your community from there is a great way to drive engagement, make an effort to reply to relevant mentions of your brand from users. Answer questions, reply to comments and respons to feedback when appropriate. Brands could even use this opportunity to share feedback with their customer service team and solve problems that otherwise, might have gone unnoticed by your brand.
Since Threads is a text-based app, brands can share behind-the-scenes content in a different way than they do on Reels or TikTok. Behind the scenes content doesn’t necessarily have to be video footage, so use Threads as an opportunity to get creative. For example, beauty maven Bobbi Brown shares photos from product shoots and her morning drink routine in a Threads update — a simple glimpse at an important figure behind a brand is entertaining and interesting, and can encourage engagement.
While Threads is the perfect platform to drive engagement and foster community, it’s also an opportunity to drive conversions and website traffic with LikeShop. LikeShop is a link-in-bio solution that lets brands share links to their storefront, specific product pages and any other website link. Brands can also foster community this way, since a link-in-bio is a great way to funnel users who are interested in visiting your website to any place you could continue the conversation and foster community — whether it’s a YouTube video or another website page where users can comment, like or share.
As previously mentioned, many brands are swiftly taking the leap over to Instagram Threads and adding the new app to their repertoire – for now. Here are some of the earliest adopters of the app and how they’re choosing to make their presence known on Instagram Threads.
A new social media app like Threads is an amazing opportunity for brands to repurpose content. One of Rolling Stone’s first posts featured some of their most popular photographs, which got decent traction on other platforms, but people are engaging even more through this new app out of excitement.
Netflix was quick to use this new app to very subtly promote one of their most popular shows on the streaming platform. This is a perfect example of brands being able to promote their products where it feels more natural and without feeling too stuffy or pushy.
Your first post on a new app like Instagram Threads doesn’t need to be groundbreaking. Lululemon was able to use the speed at which everyone is downloading Threads as a perfect tie-in to what their brand is all about — fitness.
These are just a handful of examples of how most early adopters are using Threads, but there are so many more ways to get your brand noticed. Many brands see success by being active in not only their own threads but other brands' threads too. Don’t be afraid to add your two cents to a conversation that is relevant to your market or industry – or something completely different – to garner more engagement.
Ulta uses Threads to share humorous thoughts, participate in trends and network and engage with other brands. Ulta does a great job of staying on top of big moments in pop culture and using them to create — and participate in — amusing Threads.
As much as we would love to give a straight yes or no answer to whether Threads is a worthwhile venture, it really does depend on the capacity of your brand. Luckily, if you already have a Twitter marketing strategy in place, the apps are really quite interchangeable in terms of specs and limits. That said, don’t dive head-first into using your Twitter content on Threads. Spend some time learning the app, creating original content and then decide if it’s worth dedicating its own pillar within your content strategy. If there’s one thing to say about Threads, it’s that community building has never been easier.
The app for Instagram Threads can be found in the app store of all devices.
Threads by Instagram was created in response to the public decline of Twitter once it came under new ownership. Its purpose is to be a public forum where users can have, create and join conversations with different users and brands.
Using the Instagram Threads app is easy. Once you sign up, you can begin following relevant accounts and making your own posts through the post creation button in the navigation bar.
Yes, you can – and it’s exceptionally easy. Once you’ve made your post on Threads, open it and click the ‘Share’ icon. You’ll see an option to ‘Add to Story’, which will open the post within your Instagram Stories on your Instagram app. You can edit or leave your post exactly how it is and publish it the way you would post any other Instagram Story.