Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s likely that you’ve heard about the new social media platform, Threads. Meta’s new app was launched on Wednesday evening (July 5th), and tallied over 30 million users in less than 24 hours. Big celebrity names like Oprah, and businesses such as Netflix, Spotify, and Wendy’s were quick to jump on board. But what do we actually know about Threads, and what impact is it likely to play in social media marketing in the foodservice industry? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the platform below, and made our own Rawlingson Lane account to experience it first-hand.
What is Threads?
Meta has positioned Threads as its text-based version of Instagram, though many people have been quick to point out the similarities to Twitter. Unsurprisingly, a lawyer representing Twitter has already threatened Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, with legal action on the grounds of using Twitter’s trade secrets and former employees to create the ‘copycat’ app – both accusations have been denied by a Meta spokesperson. Twitter owner, Elon Musk, has been uncharacteristically quiet on the matter. Although he hasn’t released an official statement, he has replied to several snarky Tweets about the new platform.
So, what’s the difference between the two platforms? Like Twitter, users have a limited character limit for their posts – though Threads allows up to 500, compared to Twitter’s 280-character threshold. “Retweet” has been renamed to “Repost”, but users are still able to like, comment, and send posts. Despite initial glitching, the Threads app also lets users share up to 10 images in a post – the same number as Instagram – rather than Twitter’s 4 pictures. The video time limit has been increased from 2 minutes 20 seconds to 5 minutes. Unlike Instagram however, Threads doesn’t support hashtags, with users unable to search for specific content either. This could potentially have a big impact on whether businesses choose to invest the time and effort in creating content for yet another social media platform, that their potential customer base may not even be able to find.
How do I use Threads?
Anyone with an Instagram account can create a Threads account. As the two platforms are both owned by Meta, users can import information from their Instagram account, including their bio and accounts that they follow – though there is the option to personalise each. If you want to sign up to Threads but don’t have Instagram, you’ll have to first create an account there and then join Threads. Once you do, you’ll notice the Thread’s logo appear under your Instagram bio, with a number that people can click to go straight to your Threads profile. Number 1 of course went to Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Inconveniently, users are unable to delete their Threads account without also deleting their Instagram profile (though it is possible to deactivate the account on Threads without deleting).
In terms of content, users are very much treating Threads in the way Twitter was previously used before its tumultuous takeover by Musk last year seemed to lower engagement and enthusiasm for the platform. As such, the tone is a lot more casual than Meta’s other social media arenas. Brands known for their wit and short, snappy content such as Wendy’s are predicted to thrive. In an indistinct newsfeed, corporate posts risk getting lost amongst the buzz. It’s unclear how the Threads algorithm may differ to Instagram.
What does Threads mean for social media marketing in the foodservice industry?
Whether Threads is here to stay or if it’s just a novelty, it’s difficult to say. Experts have pointed out that Meta launched several platforms that flopped in recent years. Including an Instagram messaging app, also called Threads, which was meant to be the equivalent of Messenger to Facebook. The fact that the name and concept are recycled may not stand the platform in good stead. Nor does the looming lawsuit Twitter seems poised to file. It’s also worth noting that Threads is currently unavailable in the EU, due to their strict privacy laws. Threads’ extensive privacy statement seems unlikely to see that change anytime soon.
On the flip side, Threads is already being hailed as the Gen Z revival of Twitter. With many Twitter users becoming so disillusioned with the app, Threads may be the perfect alternative. The short, snappy format of real-time updates could be exactly what Gen Z is searching for in terms of authenticity and perfectly imperfect content. If done correctly. Threads is unlikely to be the sort of app that businesses can plan out content for in the way they do for Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. To tap into the style of the platform, corporations could share behind the scenes content and snippets that make the business personable and relatable.
Only time will tell if Threads has what it takes to stand amongst the social media giants, or if it is simply a passing fad. Creating buzz and maintaining it are two entirely different challenges.