Threads vs. Twitter: The Ultimate Social Media Platform Smackdown
Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has arguably been the dominant text-based social media platform for consumers and brands alike. Since Elon Musk took ownership in October 2022, the platform has experienced a significant revamp. Most recently, Twitter shook up the social media space when it announced a policy that limits the number of tweets users can view each day and as of July 2023, the company rebranded to “X.” But Meta—the owner of Facebook, Instagram and others—caused a shake-up of its own by launching its new Threads platform on July 5th.
While the posting and engagement functions of Twitter and Threads are similar, they have some important differences. Let’s see how they stack up.
The Reigning Champion: Twitter
- Up to 280 characters per post
- Userbase: 450 million
- Links, photos, videos up to 2 minutes allowed
- Algorithmic or follower feed options
- Features including hashtags, DM capabilities, search feature and an explore page
- Analytics through third parties or “Twitter Blue” subscription
The Challenger: Threads
- Up to 500 characters per post
- Userbase: 100 million (as of July 18)
- Links, photos, videos up to 5 minutes allowed
- Algorithmic feed
- No current advertising opportunities (more on this later)
- Links to Instagram account, cannot be deleted without deleting Instagram account at this point in time
- No analytics of “verification” feature
Threads has entered the ring. Now what?
Claim your handle.
There’s no harm in protecting your brand’s identity on the platform. Once you do, you may choose to hide the handle from your brand’s Instagram profile if you are not actively posting.
If you have the resources, observe conversations.
We’re not talking hours of scrolling—just a few minutes a few times a week. When you create your account, think strategically about who you follow (hopefully a small list, similar to those you follow on Instagram) and see how conversation is taking place. While you can’t search for keywords or hashtags like you can on Instagram, just spending a few minutes observing conversation will help you get a sense of how your audience and cohorts are using the platform.
Think before you post.
Before you come out swinging, take a beat and make sure any posting on the platform is motivated by the right intentions, not just following a fad. Ask yourself:
- Is this my brand?
- Is this bringing value to my followers?
- Am I prepared to further engage with those who respond?
Unlike Meta’s other platforms, Threads is purely about conversation. If you make the decision to post on behalf of your brand, you need to be prepared to further engage as followers interact.
If it’s on brand for you, early adoption is definitely a great way to gain quick traction on the platform. In the first few weeks, we’ve already seen brands like Ulta Beauty, Nike and Wendy’s establish large, engaged follower bases. While it’s hard to predict how long that engagement will last, it’s safe to say their use of the platform increased engagement from their active consumers.
Who will take the crown?
It’s still hard to say. In just one week, Threads has already gained 100 million users—making it one of the fastest-growing apps ever—which has caught Elon Musk’s attention. This proved the theory that society was looking for an alternative to Twitter given the recent changes to the platform. But will Threads be able to engage—and more importantly retain—those followers over time? Or will they run into similar issues that Twitter has faced? For now, we recommend not putting all your eggs in one basket, er platform.
At MBB, we advise clients across a variety of verticals on both paid and organic social media efforts and are here to answer your burning questions about Threads and how your brand can and should respond.
Want to chat further about Threads or your social media strategy overall? Give us a shout.
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