7 days after Instagram’s Threads launch, the app surpassed 100 million users.
Many have lauded this as the final nail in the coffin for Twitter.
Others have said that Threads is just another passing fad (akin to Clubhouse).
The real truth here is that understanding the potential power of a new social media platform can be tough. TikTok had a lot of critics when it first came into the market (it still does), but look at it now — despite some hiccups in the road, it has become a staple in our digital and influencer marketing worlds.
With that in mind, let’s walk through some of the possible outcomes and implications from Instagram’s Threads launch and talk specifically about how it could impact your influencer program.
How Could Meta’s Threads Impact Your Influencer Program?
Threads vs Twitter: Is this do-or-die?
Let’s be honest, Twitter has not been a compelling investment option for brands and creators for quite some time now, so it makes sense that other platforms are launching competing offerings.
None of these new competitors, whether Threads from Meta, Bluesky (new company by Jack Dorsey), or others, are existential threats to Twitter though. Twitter’s most formidable foe over the past few months has been itself.
That being said, although Meta doesn’t have a strong track record of launching brand new products (vs. acquisitions or platform enhancements), they tend to do better in markets that have been primed by other platforms. This is definitely the case with Threads and Twitter.
Meta’s strength resides in its ability to instantly reach critical mass (as proved by the 100+ million users in 7 days) and access to its large ad inventory. So despite the early rumors of the shortcomings of Threads, it would be a mistake to dismiss this newcomer too early.
Threads lesson #1: Never over-index on a single platform
The emergence of Threads and controversy surrounding Twitter has been showing us one clear thing: it’s important not to over-index on any single platform.
Both creators and brands should avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket (and many haven’t for quite some time). For a while, though a bit underwhelming, Twitter had proven to be one of the most “stable” platforms (stable API, clear rules of engagement for brands and creators).
However, Twitter’s recent volatility is reminding us that social media marketing and influencer program strategies should be navigated like an asset portfolio investment strategy: invest small in new platforms (experiment and learn) and diversify your budget (time and money) across the main platforms.
Threads lesson #2: Prioritize diversity and experimentation
As I told to eConsultancy, this mindset towards diversity and experimentation applies to how we think about content creation too. The savviest creators tailor their content to each platform – what performs well on Twitter doesn’t necessarily perform well on Instagram. Although Thread’s ability to import Instagram followers is tempting, it is likely not all that useful in practice. The types of folks that will be drawn to the content style on Threads will be different from the folks that were drawn to Instagram content. Besides, creators have shown that they are capable of moving their audiences over to new platforms when there is interest and it fits their community’s needs.
If you are looking for a real example of how a brand strategically and successfully experimented with a new social platform, check out the story of how Beekman 1802 integrated TikTok into its influencer program. What I love about this story is that the team:
- Developed a very specific plan for experimenting with a new platform, managing to be both careful and quick in their execution.
- Figured out how to stay true to their brand values and voice while trying something new.
- Saw real results — became one of the highest performing skincare brands on TikTok and sold out of two product lines at Ulta.
3 tips for incorporating Threads into your influencer program
Considering all of the above, what should influencer marketers do now? You certainly don’t want to miss the boat if Threads turns out to be another TikTok-esque success. But, it’s important to not derail your influencer program in the pursuit of something new and untested. So:
- Celebrate a new social platform coming to life! Don’t get overwhelmed or worried — new (or newish) things emerging in the space is exciting and beneficial for us all.
- Sign up, try it out, and document what’s working. There’s no harm in trying out something new, and in the spirit of exploration, it’s good to get some first hand experience. This could mean signing up for a personal account so you can get a feel for the tone and feel of the platform, or even having multiple folks on your team sign up so you can compare notes. If you’re truly interested in testing this platform out for your brand, make sure you document these observations in a central place and log works and doesn’t work for both you and your competitors.
- Proceed with caution. As a marketer or a creator, hold your horses on spending too many cycles or resources on Threads until data can confirm that it has a positive impact for your business. And, remember that “impact” can mean many things! If Threads isn’t a place to rack up a ton of likes, is it a good place to enter into conversations with your community? Or, if it appears to fall short in driving sales/click throughs to your website, does it work well as a new way of disseminating key information to your follower base?
The net-net: Threads is new and exciting, but it’s too soon to know exactly what it will do for the social media and influencer marketing industry. That being said, it’s good to cautiously experiment and gather some key learnings so your team can be ready to invest in the platform if it proves to have real staying power.