The world of social media never stands still. Established platforms evolve and change, while new ones emerge and disrupt the landscape, sometimes seemingly overnight.
In recent months, Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter has exacerbated this unpredictability – characterized most recently by the controversial rebrand to X. Meanwhile, Meta has seized the opportunity to capitalize on the uncertainty of Twitter/X with the launch of Threads.
What does this mean for B2B organizations that have put social media at the heart of their marketing and communications strategies? Should they stick with tried and trusted platforms like Twitter/X or switch focus to new challengers like Threads?
Threads makes its mark as a new option on the social media market
To answer that question, it is worth assessing the pros and cons of Threads to judge the chances of its long-term success. Since the platform launched in early July this year, social media experts have been poring over its layout and features, and some consensus has emerged.
On the plus side, there is no doubt that Threads has gained traction quickly; it gained well over 100 million users in a short period after launch. It is worth noting that its daily active user count has decreased by 82% (an initial drop is to be expected), and active users are spending less time on the platform. Many people have praised its user-friendly interface, with features such as the 500-word character count limit per post and the ability to combine text, images, video, and links proving popular.
While Threads is too new to pull data on the average user demographic and interests, early reports have shown that brands with an active presence on the platform achieve high levels of interaction, mainly when using humor, jokes and lightheartedness with younger, tech-savvy audiences.
Perhaps slightly controversially, users need an Instagram account to establish a presence on Threads – this can be seen as both a positive and a negative. On the upside, users or businesses with an active Instagram account will start with a larger follower base on Threads because they can carry followers from one platform to another. However, individuals or organizations without an Instagram account must create one to access Threads. Additionally, if users want to delete a Threads account in the future, they will need to delete their Instagram as well.
Usability improvements are required for Threads to be a high-level advertising platform
That brings us to some other downsides. Currently, Threads is primarily mobile-only, with accessibility as a full platform only available via an app rather than through a website on mobile. You can access a specific Threads profile via a direct link if you have their username or URL already (for example navigating to https://www.threads.net/@bbc), but there is no current functionality to navigate the overall Threads platform via a website, thus limiting accessibility. This could present challenges for businesses keen to create pathways from their established online presence to Threads.
The platform also does not currently allow pre-scheduling of content, and there are very limited analytics, performance data, and audience insights to measure success/ROI. Moreover, there are no hashtags and no search capability, as well as no pinned posts and no direct messages. It is worth noting that some of these features may soon be on the horizon. But at the current stage, these constraints limit Threads’ usefulness as a tool for information sharing or searching.
Finally, as Threads does not have the traditional discoverability features such as hashtags and keyword searches, it will require an extremely active presence for community management – a cadence of 2 to 4 posts a day to establish engagement and stay relevant. One very recent update heading in the right direction for discoverability is the new “following” feed, which allows users to filter their feeds to view posts only from other profiles they follow, in chronological order.
What this means for B2B social media marketing strategies
So, what do these early-stage assessments mean for companies looking to future-proof their social media strategy? For one thing, there is demand for an alternative to Twitter/X, which has been destabilized by the controversies of recent months. In addition to Threads, other platforms such as Mastodon and BlueSky, which take a more decentralized approach to ownership and structure, also previously emerged as viable alternatives to Twitter/X.
But with many of these platforms at the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ stage on the Gartner Hype Cycle, it would be a brave move for any B2B organization to completely and suddenly shift its social media strategy at the present time. Publitek believes that while there is mileage in stopping paid advertising on Twitter/X, it is too soon to abandon it entirely and switch all resources to new platforms. Companies and organizations that have previously established a more lighthearted tone of voice on social media and already have an Instagram presence should take the opportunity to test out the new social media channel and see how it evolves; this is something that Publitek is currently testing out with a few clients.
So, for now it is a case of wait and see, with regular reassessment required. Social media never stands still – the landscape could change radically in the months ahead. If you’d like some help with your social media stretegy, let’s connect!