Could Threads replace Twitter? What Meta’s newest social media means for startups

The newest social media app stands a chance to dethrone Musk’s Twitter. Should SMEs jump the blue ship and hop onboard Threads?

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The rivalry between giant tech personalities Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg has entered its most recent heated episode with the launch of Threads. For small businesses and startups with existing Twitter accounts, the same conversation will be playing out worldwide – open a Threads account and go all-in, or wait and see if it’s worth their time?

Plenty clearly haven’t waited around. Meta’s new text-based social media app gained 10 million users in its first seven hours. What Zuckerberg describes as a ‘friendly’ competitor to Twitter might not be so benevolent a rival.

Threads certainly has convenience going in its favour, as users can sign up in a few taps directly from their existing Instagram accounts.

Whether or not Threads will reign supreme – especially after Musk threatened to sue Meta over misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and intellectual property – remains unclear.

Nevertheless, SMEs find themselves at a critical juncture. Sitting and waiting to jump onboard the new Meta social media app could cost them valuable brand building exposure and potential customers.

Is Threads the next big marketing opportunity for SMEs?

48% of SMEs who use social media as part of their marketing plan say it is essential to maintaining their business. Of those, 81% said they used Facebook, 67% Instagram, 57% Twitter, and 38% TikTok.

The stats support Zuckerberg’s ambitions for Threads. SMEs have a preference for Meta-branded social media, and considering how easy it is to migrate to Threads from Instagram, convenience will be a big factor for Threads’s early growth.

SMEs currently building their brands on Twitter might stray away from it, because of the volatility that Musk has brought to the platform.

Just last Saturday, Twitter began restricting how many tweets its users could read, narrowing it down to 1,000 tweets for unverified users. The move baffled advertising executives as it was a clear push for users to pay for Twitter verification status.

Wes Wilkes, CEO at Net-Worth NTWRK describes the launch of Threads as “another blow to the ever-decaying carcass of Twitter.”

“The Threads move from Meta may be the tipping point that illustrates the purchase of Twitter as the worst buy in history, as it is set to become a $44 billion echo chamber for Elon Musk,” explains the marketing specialist.

Musk’s leadership has become a divisive issue among users – the CEO only enjoys a 34% approval rating. Volatile decisions about how the platform is run makes it tough for advertisers to plan out their marketing campaigns in the medium and short term. Most importantly, it limits the reach emerging brands can have with their target audience.

Threads has emerged at an opportune moment, and has a respectable chance of becoming a new marketing platform thanks to a sizeable potential user base.

“Given its fast adoption and high-level integration with Instagram, Threads have reduced the barrier to entry and enabled brands to both replicate a pre-built profile and to some extent, follower base,” explains Joseph Black, Co-Founder of UniTaskr.

The frictionless launch of a Threads account and the dissatisfaction with Twitter, therefore, could mean Meta’s new app stands a chance to knit the next big social media platform.

Stitching together a marketing strategy on Threads

The main question to answer is whether Threads can capitalise on a deflated Twitter. The tweeting app might be volatile ground for advertisers, but brands won’t migrate to another platform that’s a no-man’s-land for marketing or customer engagement.

Instagram is predominantly used by brands for paid ad campaigns, working with influencers, and sharing highly polished posts and short videos. Threads could offer a way for brands to directly engage with customers in back-and-forth discussion.

“Whilst it’s too early to tell just how powerful Threads will become as a marketing channel, I’d home in on building a community or foundation on the platform in the interim and use this time to test new approaches,” reveals Black. “Adaptability towards this platform will be key.”

As they begin feeling their way on the new platform, SMEs can capitalise on users trying out Threads for the first time by raising brand awareness and repurposing existing content in fresh, Threads-like packaging.

Diversifying social media channels is key

Even if Twitter is challenged by Threads, there could be a good reason to keep a foot in both social media platforms. Just because a social media platform isn’t speeding ahead of the rest doesn’t mean opportunities won’t surface in future.

Every social media has its own identity. Whereas Twitter is all about the 24/7 news cycle and text-based banter, TikTok is about short, punchy, home-made videos that cut straight to the chase.

Each has their own value and inspires different techniques on reaching different demographics and target audiences. Therefore, when trying to approach Threads, brands should think about using new strategies and content to catch users’ attention and diversifying their marketing across various platforms.

Black believes Twitter is still a viable marketing option: “Twitter has a large user base and provides opportunities for businesses to engage with their audience in what was previously a fairly unique way,” he says. “Look at this as an opportunity to repurpose Twitter content for Threads in order to foster a new community.”

While Threads might be an alluring platform for many users, it would be wrong to assume that all of Twitter’s user base will automatically flock to Threads. Many will continue to use it for some time, and as long as Twitter has a sizeable population, it can still be a viable platform for brand building and marketing.

Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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