“Threads”, Meta’s trending new Twitter alternative, is officially 2 months old! It hasn’t been long, but a lot has happened — some of it good, some not so much.
Constant forward progress is never a given in marketing, and that’s even more true in the world of social media. After record-breaking sign-ups on the first day, the active user count on Threads had dropped a whopping 70% only one month later. But for all the people — and brands — who stuck around, Threads became a playground full of novel content opportunities.
We took the chance to learn from this new social media ecosystem. Instead of jumping into the platform head first, Major Tom sat back, observed, and evaluated the situation on Threads.
After taking some time to reflect, we have some thoughts on the advantages and drawbacks of the platform, along with 4 accounts that showcase exactly the kind of content that makes Threads so compelling.
Threads was launched as a “text-based” platform with similar features and restrictions to early Twitter. That makes sense.
After all, it’s no secret that Threads was designed as a direct alternative to a flailing Twitter — sorry, X — during its much-discussed user dropoff and PR missteps. It’s therefore unsurprising that many (formerly) active Twitter users are eating up the new platform and using it as a 1:1 replacement.
This is also true of many brands, who simply cross-post the exact same content to Threads that they share on the tweeting app. But, as it turns out, Threads isn’t exactly a Twitter knock-off, even if Elon wants us to believe it.
First off, the only way to sign up is to have an Instagram account. That was a smart move that made the platform particularly interesting (and easy to adopt) for Instagram users fed up with an increasingly commercialized feed and the app’s video-first algorithm. After all, when was the last time you saw an account you actually follow on your IG feed?
Why does a Threads feed feel so different? Because the platform is currently ad-free, unlike both Twitter and Instagram. While you might find your reach on either of those platforms depends on strategic, paid boosting, Threads is currently the perfect place for true organic testing and industry comparisons. In other words, it can help you understand how your content performs without paid promotion — or an algorithm that heavily favors paid posts.
This also makes Threads a blank canvas. Somewhere you can try out different approaches and content that you might not want to publish on established platforms. It’s led to more of an “anything goes” atmosphere of experimentation, where both everyday users and marketers can explore, test, and learn.
That has created a true melting pot of audiences, too. Ultimately: everyone just wants to figure out what works on Threads.
No matter where Threads users originate from, we made one clear observation: people want to see content that’s unique to the platform. Brands and accounts that share posts tailored to Threads rather than reusing assets and copy from IG or Twitter are way more successful.
You don’t want to be one of those brands who are on Threads just “to be on Threads”.
We don’t want to go into follower counts, because, let’s be real, you can do that on your own. Instead, we focused our research on the content. We wanted to find out what really resonates with Threads audiences.
Here are a few businesses that have nailed the distinction:
Calm is doing a fantastic job honing in on the core purpose of the platform: text-based posts.
They have a high posting frequency, often with several posts per day. But each of them is only one sentence. Okay, maybe two. Calm knows its value and purpose on social media and stays firmly to it: promoting mental health and reflection. They literally bring calm to the endless scrolling on social.
We’re also impressed by what Calm isn’t doing. They are not focusing on promoting comments by making every post a question. With other brands, that might be a point of critique, but not with Calm — because their strategy works. They get plenty of likes and shares. Calm is set on posting facts and sentences to reflect on.
Pure. Simple. And on-brand. We love it.
Goodreads is known for its book recommendations and reviews on Facebook and Instagram. On Threads, they went a very different route.
Unlike Calm, they are focused on engaging their community and creating posts (also 99% text-based) that are questions. This has helped them build a Facebook Group-like feeling on Threads, and people are here for it. It feels like the account is all about talking with like-minded people and is a safe space for book nerds across the world. Or at least across the app.
This leads to another interesting observation: posts that work best on Instagram and Facebook do not resonate with the Threads audience at all. On Threads, nearly no one engages with book recommendation posts, which are the bread and butter of similar accounts on those platforms.
It’s one of the many examples that show: every platform has its content niche, and you need to find it.
Marvel caught our eye because they also decided to do something completely different on Threads than what they do elsewhere.
On Twitter, all Marvel does is amplify posts from their sub-accounts (a superhero who’s who featuring Thor, Iron Man, and Captain Marvel) by retweeting. Everywhere else, they are very focused on blockbuster content — which casts a comparatively wide net. Not so on Threads.
Granted, they tried to go that route early on when they started their account. That all changed with the eye-opening Marvel SDCC Comic-Con event.
Marvel started posting candid photos and videos from SDCC, and fans LOVED IT. It seems Marvel re-discovered one of their core audiences: comic book fans. Since then, Marvel wisely pivoted with the data. They started focusing their Threads content on comic book references, fan art, and cosplay — and their engagement couldn’t be better.
This shows that even established, global brands like Marvel Entertainment have to figure out their audience and purpose on a new platform. Go too broad and you won’t grab anyone’s attention. And as any social media marketer knows: an engaged audience is worth its weight in gold.
While we don’t have proof, it’s very likely that a Social Media Manager at Marvel became a Superhero themselves, fighting for this niche audience and channel positioning.
We say: it paid off.
Ulta Beauty got our attention by leveraging one very specific platform feature: shares.
Unlike other name brands who post their latest beauty photos and products, Ulta Beauty jumped on the meme train and is posting barely any product content. Not only that, they go hard on the share button to amplify lighthearted, funny posts from other brands in the industry. We know what you’re thinking. Promote competitors’ content? Say it ain’t so!
We are not suggesting that every brand should build their feed off of other brands' content. But Ulta Beauty chose a smart approach. Basically, instead of adding a comment to the original post, they add their thought as a caption to the new, shared version. That way, they start their own thread to drive (possibly even redirect) engagement.
Done well, this is so charming that even other brands chime in in the comments. Since no products are promoted, there is no competitive thought. You might even forget that you are on the feed of a skincare brand at all!
We mean that in a good way. Ulta Beauty uses its platform to build a safe space where you don’t have to take yourself too seriously. That’s a sharp contrast to a feed full of unrealistic beauty standards. A nice change of pace, indeed.
You’ve heard about the possibilities, but there are still a few reasons to be cautious about Threads’ long-term appeal. We’ve already mentioned the sharp drop-off in active users, and the concerns over whether the platform will wind up being a flash in the social media pan.
There are also some missing features that we would love to see Meta bring to the platform:
All of these would work wonders for Threads’ reach and user experience — both for everyday users and for brands looking to leverage the platform.
Similarly, the current version of Threads can only be accessed through mobile devices and isn’t compatible with common Social Media Management tools like Hootsuite. While this helps fuel the scrappy energy of the platform, it’s a frustrating roadblock to integrating Threads into your larger social media strategy.
There are also some data security concerns that have (so far) prevented Threads from launching in the EU. Not only has that cut off a huge portion of their prospective user base, but it has also sparked questions about how Meta plans to leverage and share the platform’s user data.
This dovetails with an industry-wide adjustment to the so-called cookieless future of the internet. However, Meta’s intrusive attempts at data collection at the expense of users’ privacy may damage trust in the platform (and eventually drive those users away).
Last but not least, there’s the question of quality over quantity when it comes to your social media strategy.
Are you adding yet another platform with Threads just for the sake of it? Does the app have a role to play in achieving your business goals? Are you ready to commit to the unique strategy you’ll need to establish yourself on the platform? Sometimes less is more — and you may be better served by reevaluating the channels you already use.
There’s one thing all the above brands have in common. None of them had their strategy figured out right out of the gate. Most started with content similar to what they post on Twitter, with some text-based content sprinkled in. All of them (except, maybe, for Calm) have tweaked their language and tone since joining.
The beauty of a brand-new platform is that everything is possible, and nothing is for sure.
It’s all about having a rough plan to get you off the ground, but then, listening to your audience. Find out what resonates with them and what they engage with and build more content like that.
Granted, it’s a fine balance between being adventurous and losing your brand’s positioning, voice, and purpose entirely. That’s where we come in.
Let’s chat about what makes the most sense for your brand and build a unique Threads strategy that resonates with your audience.
Be worthy of your audience’s attention.
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