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Unveiling Meta’s Latest Offering: “Threads” App – Is Twitter Facing Worthy Competition?

When Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, unveiled Threads in July 2023, it sparked optimism among consumers, brands, and other users of X. Since Elon Musk took over the reins, the social media platform previously known as Twitter had been grappling with a series of issues, including frequent outages, unpopular updates, staff layoffs, and the looming threat of bankruptcy.

These challenges triggered a mass exodus of both users and advertisers. It was clear that the stage was set for a contender, a new social media platform that could do everything X did, but better.

Threads emerged as the answer. At launch, it was seen as a superior alternative to X, and users flocked to it immediately. Within its first five days, the app amassed over 100 million new sign-ups, setting a record for the fastest-growing user base, surpassing even ChatGPT.

It appears that X has finally met its match. Or has it?

In this article, we delve into the Threads app, exploring what sets it apart (or makes it superior) compared to Twitter, and whether it’s advantageous for brands to build an audience on this platform at this stage of the game.

Table of Contents:

  • What Is Threads?
  • Is Threads by Instagram a Twitter Competitor?
  • Threads by Instagram vs. X: Feature Comparison
  • Should Businesses Use Threads?

What Is Threads?

Billed by Meta as “a new way to share with text,” Threads is a fresh social media platform crafted by the Instagram team. It’s designed not only for text but also for sharing photos, videos, and links, akin to X. Meta’s aim for this social network app is to facilitate “sharing and joining public conversations.”

A significant factor contributing to the app’s swift success can be attributed to two key elements:

  1. Dissatisfied X users sought an alternative, and Threads launched at a time when X had implemented several unpopular changes.
  2. Threads is integrated with Instagram, boasting over 1 billion monthly active users. This has streamlined the sign-up process; users can simply log in using their Instagram accounts.

Initially accessible solely on iOS and Android mobile devices, this new social media platform is now accessible via the web. This update pleased many users, as the previous app-centric experience made posting on the Meta Threads app inconvenient.

However, not all of Threads’ features are available on the web app. Fortunately, this is a temporary situation. The Threads by Instagram team has assured users that this is just an early version, and they plan to address feature gaps and enhance the app’s functionality soon.

Is Threads By Instagram A Twitter Competitor?

The Threads app is often referred to as a “Twitter rival” or “Twitter competitor” because it shares many similarities with X, both in appearance and functionality. However, Threads aims to implement stricter rules to combat issues that X has historically grappled with, such as false information and toxicity.

Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s head, has emphasized on his Threads account that their focus is on “kindness and creating a friendly environment.” Threads targets communities on Instagram that haven’t fully embraced Twitter and those on Twitter (and other platforms) interested in a less confrontational space for discussions, but not all of Twitter.

Promoting positivity and stress-free interactions is the core objective for Threads, setting it apart from X.

Features supporting this goal include:

  • An algorithm that doesn’t prioritize news or political content.
  • The ability to control who can respond to or mention you.
  • An option to filter out replies containing specific words (similar to Instagram).
  • Blocking a profile on Threads also automatically blocks it on Instagram.

So, while Threads is considered a rival to Twitter, it’s not meant to completely replace it. Many users are on X for the opportunity to engage in spirited debates and share controversial opinions on current events and politics.

In addition to aspiring to be a “positive vibes only” conversation app, an online version of a “public square,” Meta Threads distinguishes itself from X in several other ways.

Threads By Instagram Vs. X: Feature Comparison

One example is the character limit. On X, basic users can tweet posts up to 280 characters long, including spaces, while X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue) users enjoy a 25,000-character count limit. Threads, on the other hand, allows posts of up to 400 characters.

Additionally, Threads allows posts in carousel format. Users can upload up to 10 images or videos. In contrast, X also offers carousel options for organic and paid content, but it limits users to sharing up to six items per post.

Moreover, thanks to Thread’s integration with Instagram, users of this Twitter rival can:

  • Share a post on their Instagram story.
  • Post other people’s content on their feed.
  • Send posts via Instagram DM.

Another notable difference is that Threads doesn’t currently support hashtags. However, Mosseri mentioned on his Threads account that this feature is in development, along with:

  • Graph Syncing
  • Messaging
  • Fediverse Support

As mentioned, users must log in using their Instagram accounts to sign up for Meta Threads. Because Threads is linked to Instagram, it displays the Instagram username as the default handle. Currently, there is no option to change Threads handles; those who wish to do so must also change their Instagram username.

However, for companies using social media for marketing, two of the most significant differences between Threads and X are:

Meta Is Blocking European Users From Accessing Threads, Even Through VPN

Historically, Meta has grappled with Europe’s stringent regulations regarding data privacy, content moderation, and transparency. According to its privacy policy, the Threads app may collect personal information like search history and location for ad targeting purposes and use it across products. This runs counter to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Brands based in the EU or targeting audiences in European countries might find it impractical to include Threads in their social media engagement strategy at this time. However, Threads may still find its way to the EU. According to a statement given to TechCrunch, “Europe continues to be an incredibly important market for Meta, and we hope to make Threads available here in the future.”

There Is No Option To Advertise on Threads

At least not currently. However, this is likely to change soon, as Meta’s companies rely on advertising for revenue. Presently, brands on Threads are using the conversation app to initiate and engage in discussions with followers.

Social media engagement strategies on Threads align with the app’s goal to be a positive, friendly space. For instance, Marvel Entertainment regularly features Marvel fans, shares behind-the-scenes clips from its franchises, and uploads comic strips. This contrasts with what the company posts on other platforms, which are mostly reposts from its various franchises’ official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Another example is Coca-Cola, which posts jokes and interacts with its followers more frequently on Threads than it does on X and other platforms.

Meanwhile, other brands’ social media engagement strategies include humor, giveaways to followers, and participating in brand-on-brand conversations.

Organic engagement is currently the only option, but it is highly effective as a social media engagement strategy. Organic posts from these and other businesses are generating likes, comments, and shares.

Should Businesses Use Threads?

When persuading consumers to switch from your competition, you must demonstrate that your product is superior. Has Meta achieved this with the Threads social network app? Well, the verdict is still out.

The challenges mentioned earlier, from Threads’ basic interface to regulatory concerns, may give brands and marketers reason for caution. Another concern that has raised alarms among brands and social media marketing experts is the post-launch decline: Engagement on Threads has dropped to 82% from its launch. However, it may still rebound, thanks to the new web app and the promise of additional features and an improved user experience in the future.

While it’s too early to determine whether Threads will attract more users and boost social media engagement rates, it’s still beneficial for companies that use social media for marketing to establish a presence on the app. Moreover, regardless of its current performance, Threads is likely here to stay—it’s owned by Meta, which has significant resources and a commitment to creating a better, more user-friendly alternative to Twitter.

In essence, integrating Threads into your social media engagement strategy and digital marketing efforts is a strategic move that positions you ahead of the curve.

By familiarizing themselves with the app’s features and building their audience early on, brands stand to gain the following advantages:

Opportunities To Reach a Broad Audience

The platform comes with a built-in audience: Instagram users. What’s more, it’s not yet as saturated with businesses as X and other social networks. Less competition translates to more opportunities to establish a strong presence and capture the attention of potential customers.

According to a study, 64% of consumers want brands to communicate with them. Furthermore, Threads’ more personal nature allows brands to initiate and sustain conversations with their followers in a more authentic manner.

Cross-Platform Visibility

Companies utilizing social media for marketing can effortlessly cross-post from Threads to Instagram, amplifying their messaging and solidifying brand recognition.

Authentic Conversations

Research indicates that internet users value brand authenticity, and businesses that meet this demand benefit from a more positive consumer perception and increased trust from their target audiences.

Authenticity for an individual or brand is important when it comes to social media. Being authentic through your brand’s social media efforts can even increase your ROI.

Threads, with its emphasis on communities and conversation, as well as its interactive nature, allows businesses to engage in discussions, respond to followers, and showcase their personality through posts. This helps brands strengthen relationships with their audiences, exhibit authenticity, and boost their social media engagement rates.

Brands planning to explore Threads (or at least maintain a presence alongside their X profiles) but unsure of how to fully leverage the app may consider partnering with a social media marketing consultant.

As with any social network app, a data-driven approach and a well-defined strategy are critical for achieving success on Threads. Savvy social media marketing consultants recognize the potential in Threads and are well-versed in the best methods to gain followers and increase social media engagement rates for brands.

Stay Ahead Of The Game With The Help Of Leadshouse’s Social Media Marketing Consultants

At Leadshouse, we’re continually exploring new avenues – and new platforms – to assist our clients in achieving their digital marketing objectives. We leverage data to develop a strategy that empowers businesses to bolster their online presence, build brand equity, and enhance social media engagement rates for profitable and sustainable results.

Visit our website today for more insights on leveraging social media to elevate your business, you can find inspiration in our case studies and success stories.

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