It’s time for B2B marketers to start talking about Meta’s Threads. We know, it might feel like just another ball to juggle in your already elaborate B2B social media marketing strategy. But whether Threads becomes the next big thing or the next big flop, it’s worth being in the know about why this app exists and what it can do. That way, if it does take off, you’ll be ready to take the initiative ahead of your competitors – and we’ll be here to help you thread that needle (couldn’t help it).
So, in this article, we’ll be covering a couple of topics B2B marketers are already pondering:
- Why Meta is muscling in on text-based space
- What’s different about Threads
- Possible use cases for B2B marketing
- Our predictions about whether Threads will eat the Blue Bird or become the next Google Plus (stay to the end for this one)
The background: why Threads, and why now?
For a long time, a lot of people have been waiting for an alternative to Twitter, with the notable exception of software engineers and developers (they eschew LinkedIn – we all have our preferences). For many B2B tech companies, Twitter is somewhere they understand they have to be, but they don’t necessarily know how to get the most out of it. That’s because it takes a lot of know-how to leverage its unique features and build audiences.
Beyond that, there is of course the ongoing spat between the respective CEOs of Meta and Twitter that everyone secretly loves to watch. So Meta has seen an opportunity to capitalize on the chaos at Twitter (X?) and use its own considerable social media muscle to effectively replace it as the go-to space for text-based social media. And early signs suggest that it may be onto something: Threads already earned the title of most quickly downloaded app within hours of its release.
Meta describes Threads simply as a place “for sharing text updates and joining public conversations”, perhaps with the unstated sub-text: “without all the toxicity and drama over there”.
So what makes Threads different from everything else (especially Twitter)?
The experience is different right from the outset. To use Threads, you need to have an Instagram account first. In fact, you use your existing Instagram account to log in. Username and verification details carry over (handy), and once you’re in, you can customize your Threads profile.
And the differences grow from there:
- Threads allows posts of up to 500 characters, substantially longer than Twitter’s 240 limit (you need to be a paying Twitter Blue subscriber to post long form)
- Video posts of up to 5 minutes, with links and photos (almost double Twitter’s maximum – again, except for Twitter Blue)
- Verification can be ported from Instagram
- No direct messaging or hashtags (yet)
The interface certainly feels open, personal, even inviting. And because Threads uses Instagram’s safety controls, it’s easy to curate a community of people you want in your conversations, excluding those you don’t. It awaits to be seen whether this more controlled ecosystem will be a boon for marketing on the platform, or whether users en masse prefer the openness of Twitter and the risks that come with it.
Towards the fediverse: interoperability on the horizon?
But perhaps the most game-changing feature of Threads is Meta’s promise to make the platform compatible with W3C’s ActivityPub protocol. Once this is realized, it will connect Threads to the fediverse, a network of interoperable apps and platforms. This interoperability will (in theory) pave the way for new types of connections – and open the door to an array of opportunities for B2B marketers. This is the development we’re following most closely as expert B2B marketers, and one of the main reasons we’re (cautiously) rooting for Threads.
Possible use cases for B2B marketers on Threads
Threads is already being used by early adopters for a number of classic B2B goals:
Thought leadership: the text-based format makes Threads ideal for sharing content, or simply joining in conversations on industry topics. In this respect, Threads feels like the best of both worlds: the immediacy and reach of a Tweet, but with more space, like LinkedIn.
Relationship building: like Twitter, Threads’ format lends itself to direct communication with prospects and customers. And because there are direct messages, this all happens out in the open, which can be great for boosting your reach if done right.
Influencer outreach & collaboration: Meta has made it easy for users to access Threads through Instagram, and share posts between the platforms. This could make it easier to find and engage with the right B2B influencers.
Despite its potential and its meteoric initial success, not everyone is convinced that Threads has what it takes.
But not everyone is on board: doubts, unresolved issues and loose threads
We’ve painted a somewhat rosy picture so far, but there are reasons to be cautious. Here are some of the biggest critiques leveled at Threads by its detractors.
It’s too rosy: As it stands, the platform has no hashtag feature, so it’s difficult to get conversations to coalesce around themes. Meta has also publicly stated that Threads will not promote political or hard news content. As a result, some have already characterized their experience on Threads as both aimless and bland. For many of us at least, Twitter’s chaos and outrage may actually be something of a guilty pleasure, and a Twitter substitute without that just won’t cut it.
Privacy: Meta dominates the digital advertising industry, enabling businesses to reach highly specific and relevant audiences. But because Meta’s advertising practices are so effective (far better than Twitter’s), there are serious concerns about user privacy and the extent of data collection for ad targeting. Regulatory concerns have halted its release in the EU, and experts are highlighting potential risks of extensive data gathering for users.
It lacks innovation: Other commentators have described Threads as a copycat that doesn’t really bring anything new or exciting to the table. To support their view, they often cite the rapid drop-off after the initial hype.
Needless to say, not everyone is on board.
But as far as predictions go, ours is probably not the hottest take out there: Threads is too big to be ignored, but it won’t be replacing Twitter. As expert B2B marketers, we are helping our clients to keep abreast of the situation as it develops, and be ready to be an early adopter if Threads really does live up to its promises.
Testing the waters? Navigate new terrain with Expert B2B social media management services
At Inspired Marketing, the fate of Threads is a lot more than a contentious conversation starter. It’s something we’re following closely, with an eye to figuring out how we will be able to use it to help our clients win. After all, we know that thinking out of the box is critical to success. Many people scoffed at the idea that TikTok could be a valuable channel for B2B marketing, and yet here we are.
We’re sure our modest prediction hasn’t satisfied either the naysayers or the die-hard fans. But if you’re curious about how we’re readying our clients to catch the wave when (or if) it comes, get in touch with our team to learn more.