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What the rise of Threads has taught us about emerging social media platforms

By Jessica McNellis

Explore the key takeaways for B2B companies using Threads and what industry experts have to say.


A thread.Social media is a tricky medium for B2B companies to navigate and decide what to latch onto versus what will be a passing fascination. And the most rattling fad over the last few months for companies across industries has been the launch of Threads — the copy-based app launched by Meta to rival X (formerly Twitter).


How should you incorporate Threads into your social strategy? Should your company prioritize it at all? Do you leave X or post across both platforms? What type of content drives engagement on the platform?


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We compiled key takeaways from a Sprout Social hosted panel of social media experts to help guide your Threads social strategy. 


The (brief) history of Threads 

Threads launched with over 100 million users in its first week, making it the fastest-growing social media platform of all time. One week later, daily active users dropped by 52% and later by 79%. It may seem like a steep decline, but millions are still engaged on the platform with many more waiting in the wings as Threads continues to gain its footing in the U.S. and internationally. 


While on paper it might read like a swift rise and fall of a Meta-owned replica of X for users who wanted another outlet for their text-based social content, Threads is far from “over.” There is a unique opportunity for companies and thought leaders to carve out their voices on a platform that is not yet inundated with a lot of noise.


What does Threads bring to your overall social strategy?

While your company is juggling video-based and photo-based social platforms, there are a few areas where Threads serves a unique purpose: 


1. It’s easy. 

You can create an account in minutes, and it instantly syncs with your Instagram and Facebook channels, linking those platforms and audiences together.


2. It has a built-in audience.

Threads instantly integrates with Instagram and Facebook and cross-promotes content posted to those incredibly massive Meta channels. If you’ve logged into Instagram recently, it’s hard to miss the “suggested posts” driving traffic back to Threads — and many of those suggested posts come from what appears to be early adopter accounts. It’s a good time to get in on the ground floor and perhaps build community while there is less competition for newsfeed space.


3. It may be a better audience alternative to X. 

For those who were already regular users of X or considering joining the platform, Threads is an opportunity to share related content in an almost identical format while separating yourself from the direction X is going. Threads is perhaps a more brand reputation-safe option in a day and age where people are growing more hesitant to associate with X.


4. Its evolution seems promising. 

In truth, Threads doesn’t have many differentiating features from X and other text-based social platforms once you remove the novelty that we don’t often see giant entities like Meta launch entirely new platforms. What industry experts are closely watching is the evolution of Threads. What lessons will Threads learn from X’s business model flaws –– a platform that was rarely revenue-positive and faced the same issues we see emerge on other platforms like political concerns, misinformation, and cyberbullying? 


With no specific roadmap and very few analytics to gauge Threads’ “success,” the challenge remains in determining what content will be most engaging on the platform. But it seems social media strategists are embracing the ambiguity and using the opportunity to get playful and test out tactics and messaging that wouldn’t normally make the cut on other social platforms. 


Social media managers seem to agree Threads does have “some sort of magic shine” to it they can’t quite put their finger on. 


What are the advantages (and risks) of being an early adopter?

Brands that are successful on Threads in this early stage could see a huge payoff in the long run. There are many perks to being an early adopter on a new platform and not a ton of risk. 


If you join, try to show up for your audience, and Threads ends up flopping, all you have to do is activate your exit strategy and close out your Threads chapter. All that’s lost is the time and resources spent testing it out. 


In the meantime, it’s a great opportunity to try out new strategies and fresh messaging in a low-stakes setting. Many organizations are using Threads to tinker with their tone of voice and social media style in a more human, playful way that seems to resonate with their audiences. 


Take solace in knowing no one knows what they’re doing on Threads yet, and even Threads doesn’t fully understand its identity yet. You never know whether it could be the key to reaching your audience in a new way. 


Where should your company start? 

Threads is still trying to find its identity in the market, which gives your social strategist the freedom to try new things and see what works. Here are a few suggested starting points: 


  • Get playful with your brand voice.

If you’re thinking Threads isn’t for you based on your industry — it’s not just for consumer-focused brands! For example, the FDA went viral for sharing memes from their account, which would not typically be on brand for FDA communications, but worked well on that platform without diminishing credibility. Threads provides an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone.


  • Keep an eye on your competitors.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing on the platform and see if those tactics are driving success for them. Then, build on that and make it your own.


  • Know the do’s and don’ts.

Don’t post links that lead away from the platform. Don’t post long blocks of text –– keep it concise. Do keep it fun, light, and authentic. Do keep an eye on Threads trends, such as the “fill-in-the-blank” style posts that were driving conversation and engagement for several weeks or “quoting” Threads to add commentary to viral posts. 


This is an iterative process, and because there aren’t many metrics available, you should experiment before looking at your top and bottom 10 posts to see what's working well and what's not.

Get active on Threads assuming with 90% certainty it will last. Play around with it but have an exit strategy if it bombs, and understand you might have to be scrappy with your strategy since the features and metrics are evolving.


If you’re interested in developing a more robust social strategy to build brand awareness, contact us today or book a one-on-one consultation


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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

Topics: digital PR, shared media, social media

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