How to start using Instagram Threads to build corporate reputation
July 6, 2023
What is Instagram Threads and how does it work?
Threads is a text-first app owned by Meta and affiliated with Instagram. It is described as a public conversations app, designed to rival the likes of Twitter. The text posts have a character limit of 500 and can be accompanied by up to 10 images.
Currently, you are required to have an Instagram account in order to sign up for the new app and user’s Instagram handle must also be their Threads username. For those with an existing Instagram account, this means that you can sync all of your existing profile details and auto-follow your existing follower base.
It has been speculated that the timing of Threads launch is to capitalise on a recent swathe of (controversial) structural changes to the Twitter platform, providing those who are looking to leave Twitter but reluctant to rebuild a community from scratch the opportunity to build on their existing Meta network instead.
That said, Threads is not currently available in the EU due to concerns from the Data Protection Commission (DPC) around EU data protections and compliance, meaning Meta’s second largest market by revenue may not be on the platform in the near future. At the same time, there is a looming threat of a legal challenge by Twitter (see here) which may have longer term implications – though all this hasn’t affected initial sign ups, which topped 30m in the first few hours after launch, as reported by the BBC here.
When should I join Threads?
A new social media platform means a new opportunity to reach untapped audiences.
As we saw with Reels, Meta tends to favour those that embrace new products or features by giving them greater visibility. Exploring and using Threads in its nascency – where there is an influx of users but less competition for attention – is an opportunity for rapid audience acquisition that may take years to achieve on other platforms.
Indeed, being a first-mover on Threads – ahead of your peers – may offer a competitive advantage both in terms of establishing your presence and solidifying your platform strategy through trial and error.
For those in the professional services and B2B industries, the visual-led communication of Instagram is often favoured for recruitment and employer brand purposes, rather than direct client audience development. However, the text-based capabilities of Threads are likely to be more aligned with insight-led commercial advisory and thought leadership content strategies.
While Instagram may not be a facet of your existing brand social media strategy, the launch of Threads means it is important to ‘claim’ your brand name through a dedicated Instagram profile and handle. Even if you don’t use those accounts now, it manages the risk of someone else occupying that space for their personal use or to sell back to you (cybersquatting).
How should I factor Threads into my existing social media strategy?
As Threads evolves, platform specific strategies and tools will become apparent (and this blog will be updated accordingly). For now, we know that Threads is designed as a direct commercial competitor to Twitter so for those with an existing Twitter profile, it is enough to adapt and transfer your Twitter strategy to Threads in order to establish a brand foundation.
Meta will be looking to make the Threads platform ‘sticky’ – that is, preferencing engaging content that keeps users coming back to the platform long after their initial profile set up. This means that those who publish regularly, take advantage of in-built content features, engage with those around them, and incorporate both visual and text-based posts which riff off the wider suite of Meta products are likely to achieve greater visibility.
How should I use Threads?
Threads is designed to be used as a rolling newsfeed for audiences, rather than an evergreen curation of posts like Instagram. It is currently organised algorithmically, rather than chronologically, giving priority to posts with high engagement levels. By and large, expect audiences to come across your posts as part of their newsfeed, meaning that brushing up on SEO and digital content best practices is key to staying ahead of the curve, and boosting brand awareness.
On a brand level, Threads lends itself to three core functions:
- Breaking news: Responding to a timely news update that impacts your sector or business – if it’s a headline in the news, it’s a headline on Threads.
- Making news: Announcing your own brand news to the market as part of a multi-channel launch strategy.
- Community engagement: Tap into social media trends related to your brand. As a starting point, getting involved in Threads’ community events and discussions that align with your brands core values, such as World Earth Day or Pride Month, is a great way to boost engagement.
Though there are a number of competing text-based social platforms on the market (including Twitter, BlueSky, and Mastodon), the overarching strategy for audience growth and engagement remains the same: It is a forum, not a loudspeaker.
Engage with the community around you in a two-way dialogue, rather than speaking solely about your brand or brand news.
As a Meta owned product, we can expect Threads to offer added interoperability and complementary functionality with its peers of Facebook and Instagram that will no doubt shape best practice moving forward.
How can I start building my Threads profile?
Threads is another tool in the online reputation toolkit that can be used to amplify brand messages, shape industry dialogues, and engage with customers in real time.
Here are a few tips for how Threads can sit alongside or overlap with your existing social media program:
Communicating with others: Threads does not currently have a direct messaging function or hashtag function, however users are able to reply to each other’s posts. Brands will need to be vigilant in monitoring and responding to comments on their own posts and the posts of other in order to stay in touch with their network.
Community management: Threads, more so than LinkedIn or Instagram, is best used as a two-way street for communication. Regularly engaging in discussion with your audience and other accounts is crucial to building engagement. The in-app poll is an excellent shortcut to driving clicks and engagement without replying to a high volume of posts.
Scheduling: While Threads is yet another channel to manage in a seemingly unending flow of social media content, social platforms reward frequent posters with higher visibility so establishing a regular post schedule is crucial to driving audience engagement. While many social scheduling platforms are likely to introduce Threads functionality to allow post scheduling, if they have not done so already, consider leveraging successful post ideas from other channels to build out your pipeline of Thread content in the interim.
Paid posts: Threads users should not see any ads at least for a year, after which the monetization strategy for Threads is likely to change and could include both ads and paid posts. Given some of Twitter’s more controversial changes under new ownership were tied to their revenue generation strategies, the route that Meta takes is likely to be designed as a clear point of difference from Twitter.
Analytics: As it is with any social platform, understanding account analytics is the driving factor behind successfully scaling a profile, helping you to understand the impact of individual posts growth strategies have the greatest returns, and posting schedule in order to optimise future activity.
The best mechanism for Threads analytics is not yet clear. Internal analytics tools may be made available to business profiles through the platform, as is available through Instagram or Facebook. Alternatively, we may see external Threads analytics tools to be released as part of or in addition to existing social media management platforms.
If you have any questions on how to establish your Threads presence or build a digital reputation, the Infinite Global is here to help.