Thanks to a special partnership, Small Business Xchange is syndicating this article, which was previously featured on Retail TouchPoints. Some content has been edited and condensed for clarity and relevance to our small business community.
Threads, Meta’s highly publicized “Twitter killer,” has seen dwindling engagement rates since its launch in the summer. But that hasn’t stopped marketing teams from building out their presence on the app and pushing creative limits in the process.
“Despite there being an approximately 70% drop off in daily active users, we’ve still seen a massive amount of engagement,” said Kayla Kleinman, Social Media Associate for Bookshop.org, an ecommerce site that connects readers to independent booksellers. “People are hungry for a text-focused social media platform, especially in the book world!”
Kleinman and other business leaders also think consumers are hungry for authentic connection, community and humorous (yet productive) discourse. With the app still being so new, they have a unique opportunity to not just test these theories but get more creative in how they connect with consumers. Retail TouchPoints asked executives from five different brands to share:
- Why Threads has been valuable for their companies and consumers;
- How they’re integrating Threads into their social strategies;
- What methods have worked well so far; and
- Lessons they would share with other business executives.
Why is Threads Valuable?
All executives admitted that they quickly joined Threads because of the hype surrounding the platform. Beyond the perks of being first to market, however, they have already seen benefits from their presence — from improved brand awareness to deeper customer connections.
Nadya Okamoto, Co-founder of period care brand August: “We want to eradicate period stigma by making it more gender inclusive and also bringing conversations about periods out into the open. That comes through in everything we do, so when we try to start conversations online, it’s not just about products, but general topics about periods and how periods interact with our life and current events. Threads is a new platform that creates an opportunity for us to have these conversations with our community. The nature of the platform isn’t about consuming; the algorithm is not advanced enough where it’s meant to get you addicted. It’s purely based on how to feed people with content and users they’re going to engage with, so it’s about community, conversation and participation.”
Kylo Freeman, Founder of queer wellness brand For Them: “The most important thing for our brand is building customer intimacy. Instagram is a calling card for the brand and is almost synonymous with the brand site. It is visual and allows us to convey our brand persona, which is this cool older sibling that’s going to teach you and help you. Threads offers us the ability to do that and be playful, which is very hard to do on Instagram because it messes up your grid. We use Threads to do topical and quick-witted interactions with our customers. It’s even a bit more ad-hoc, so it’s a big juxtaposition to what we do on Instagram.”
Kleinman: “Threads has been valuable for us when it comes to brand awareness. We aren’t a Starbucks or a Wendy’s, where everyone already knows the brand. Threads has given us this opportunity to get in front of new people who maybe find us because they think our posts are funny, but then they get to find out who we are, what we do and what we stand for. There have already been several people that have told us that they never heard of Bookshop.org before Threads, but now they’ve placed an order with us.”
Becca Stern, Co-founder and Creative Director for Mustard Made, an Australian and UK-based homeware brand: “We approach our other platforms like Instagram and TikTok with quite a lot of consideration; we have the feed planned out well in advance and it’s a more polished presentation. Threads gives us a chance to interact with our audience in a more casual, in-the-moment way. It was a good opportunity to be an early adopter rather than sitting back and waiting until there was a lot of noise on Threads and it might be harder to make an impact.”
Britany LeBlanc, CMO of skincare brand Supergoop!: “Our community is largely on Instagram and given the inherent connection between the two platforms, we were eager to launch on Threads once it was introduced. Since we play where our audience is, one of the biggest benefits of Threads was that it seamlessly connected our Instagram audience to our Threads page, so we had the opportunity to instantly talk to almost 40K people who already love and follow Supergoop! We see a unique opportunity to engage in two-way dialogue with our audience and get more personal and real-time in our communication while being clever and fun.”
Shizu Okusa, Founder and CEO of health and beauty brand Apothékary: “We are finding that a lot of the people signing up for Threads are content creators and influencers; they’re first-movers and want to grow their following. We’re meeting a lot of [them] through Threads simply because it’s easier to get a hold of them and engage with them there versus on Instagram through DM. We haven’t done a paid partnership with an influencer on Threads specifically, but we’re starting to integrate it into the scope of work in our proposals and contracts with creators. Everything that we do now, and I think a lot of brands are doing this, is a lot more holistic and 360-degree.”
Integrating Threads into Your Brand Strategy
Because Threads is still such a new platform, brands are taking varying approaches to content planning and execution. However, sources agreed that while Instagram profiles are more carefully plotted and brand-forward, Threads presents an opportunity to show the people behind the products and ideas being shared, which actually accelerates the customer journey and inspires product discovery.
Okamoto: “A lot of our strategy is based upon experimentation and keeping a close eye on how our direct community is using Threads. There’s this smattering of content — we tried short-form video, we’re sharing our press releases — we’re just trying to figure out what they want.”
Stern: “We’ve created a posting schedule for ourselves, with room to move things around. It gives us a framework without being too rigid. We’re aiming to post regularly under a few content umbrellas, and we’ve focused on a couple of pillars of our brand that feel aligned to the Threads platform. We’re not talking about products at all; instead we’re sharing brand stories that bring people on the journey with us. We’re loving the light-hearted tone; with such a simple framework in the feed and limited functionality at this early stage it feels liberating to not take ourselves so seriously.”
Freeman: “We have our Instagram schedule that’s based around launches and is very structured. But I’ve given our very smart social media manager full rein to post on Threads. It’s a bit scary and maybe not scalable, but it’s a better way to tap into the real authenticity of what the customer wants. And based on what we’re seeing so far, the more raw and spontaneous it is, the more successful we’ll be. We’re also seeing [that] people like visuals. We post these prompts and ask people to share images as responses, so my gut tells me that when we post pictures alongside the questions and conversation-based posts, it’s helpful.”
Kleinman: “I currently look at Threads as its own platform, focusing on brand awareness and community engagement rather than conversion. The vibe there is also very different than other social media platforms and therefore requires unique content that won’t always work somewhere like Facebook. I might be sharing the same core message on Threads, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook, but that message will look very different on each platform. There also is an opportunity to use Threads as a place to test out content ideas. If a post does well [on Threads] and makes sense for another platform, I’ll repurpose it.”
Okusa: “We find product-specific campaigns, sales or anything like that to be most effective on owned channels like email and SMS. But we really like Threads because it acts as a text-based, more promotional place. It’s a little bit more tactical and ideal for UTM tracking. You can link things very easily, whereas Instagram makes it really difficult to do anything like that. I think of Threads as a little more middle-of-funnel, while Instagram is more top-of-funnel brand awareness.”
4 Keys to Using Threads Effectively
Brands that were first to market on Threads have been able to benefit from a rush of engagement, and this engagement has allowed them to test, learn and uncover some best practices — at least until the platform gets its next round of updates. Executives’ thoughts fell into four key takeaways.
It’s perhaps the most simple advice, but “if you’re not consistent on a new platform, people just assume you’re not taking it seriously,” Okusa said. “If you’re going to start, start and be consistent in creating content and reposting.”
Engage in outside conversations
Sure, brands should kickstart conversations on their own accounts, but they also should participate in other discussions, too! In both cases, brands should be authentic and conversational.
“Approach Threads like you’re joining a conversation at a party,” Stern said. “You wouldn’t come in and steamroll the situation, trying to shout about your product or service. It’s about being a part of the conversation, offering insight or humor and bringing an open mind.”
Break the fourth wall
On a platform like Threads, conversation posts should have personality. Kleinman noted that for so long, brands took a Wizard of Oz approach to social media, which never showed the person behind the curtain.
However, on Threads, “I’ve seen a lot of success in breaking the fourth wall,” she explained. “This means acknowledging yourself as a social media manager (or whoever it is that is posting!) and posting as you, not as a mystery brand voice.”
This creates an opportunity to really double down on what makes your brand, and its people, unique.
“Threads feels truly social in nature — fun, creative, of-the-moment,” Supergoop’s LeBlanc said. “Instead of leveraging it as a more traditional marketing channel, which is focused on both messaging and selling, Threads allows us to let the brand’s personality shine through.”
Embrace the ridiculousness
Kleinman described Threads as “delightfully chaotic” and encouraged brands to have fun with the creative aspects of the platform. “For other social media platforms, there’s this big focus on hacking algorithms and tracking your analytics,” she said. “There’s none of that on Threads. It’s this opportunity to play.”
Freeman had a similar sentiment, noting that at this point, brands shouldn’t think about strategy too much — at least right now. “Just try it and go for it,” they said. “Switch things up. That iteration is the key to finding the thing that works for you and your customer base, not just on Threads but on social media in general.”
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