Threads for Marketing Strategies: Community Building & Credibility Are Trending

When Meta’s Threads – the conversation-based companion app to Instagram, and supposed Twitter/X rival – launched on July 5 of this year, it was met with as much speculation as fanfare. Threads so dominated discussions of Twitter’s future that the latter rebranded to X, partly to regain control of the dialogue. Some became early adopters of the new platform. Others chose to “wait and see” before incorporating Threads into marketing strategies. After two months live, it’s clear that while Threads may look like an X clone, its value – and future – lie in its focus on building and engaging online communities. Organizations should begin marketing on Threads and building audiences now, and some of the top brands and thought leaders already have. Here’s why.

A scroll through Threads feels familiar: brief, topical posts with extensive comments. Users are sharing, tagging, and at times even arguing. It all seems like nostalgia for the early days of Twitter/X until one considers a subtle difference between the apps. X is intended for broadcasting users’ ideas and opinions, while Threads is designed for hearing from others. Indeed, its description in Apple’s App Store begins, “Threads is where communities come together to discuss everything from the topics you care about today to what’ll be trending tomorrow.”

And that is where engaging Threads stand out from repurposed tweets. While it is smart to populate an empty profile with content originally for other platforms, Threads that spark conversation tend to pose questions and embrace groups identities. Individuals and organizations alike can directly engage in group discussions with their fans, receiving invaluable input and feedback on everything from current events to anticipated releases.

Take, for instance, Starbucks, Barack Obama, and The New York Times. What these users get right is that Threads is used primarily to engage and educate. On an app where community comes first, promotion should be secondary.

Starbucks has used the transition from summer to autumn to rally pumpkin spice latte (PSL) lovers by prompting debate over when pumpkin-spice season begins. The coffee giant used the platform to boldly declare, “PSLs summon fall, not the other way around,” effectively mobilizing their hordes of pumpkin spice devotees in the replies. A subsequent post asked followers to fill that Thread with pics of them enjoying their first pumpkin spice lattes of the season. They did, with crowdsourced images ranging from driver-seat selfies to artistic vignettes.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has made few posts to his profile, but one stands out as an excellent example of Threads’ potential for audience engagement and group discourse. The former president posted his annual book and song recommendations, turning the Thread into a discussion of his suggestions.

When not reporting on current events, The New York Times engages its Threads following with appetizing recipes. Long a popular feature of the Times, the publication’s beginner friendly recipes are as eagerly consumed online as at the table. Comments on these Threads range from recipe reviews and pics to childhood memories of similar dishes being prepared for Sunday dinner.

When these examples are considered, it’s clear that marketing on Threads can remove communication barriers between users and the companies and creators they love. Why though, should brands with large and active audiences on other platforms begin building their Threads following? The answer is audience segmentation.

While other platforms have been launched and later incorporated into content strategies, Threads seems to have been engineered for content marketing. Audiences on Threads include a “Close Friends” tier. While similar follower designations exist on Facebook and SnapChat, Threads allows users to publish content exclusively for Close Friends. This rewards individuals for regularly engaging with their favorite accounts and incentivizes continued interaction between brands and consumers.

Multiple close friends lists can be established based on user personalities and interests. This audience segmentation helps marketers create customized content and distribute it to specific groups of followers. Greater brand trust can be established when voices are heard and content is relevant. Audience segmentation is perhaps the single feature that best distinguishes Threads from X and other social media platforms. It has the potential to turn the app into a powerful marketing tool even before paid advertising features are introduced. Discover all of Threads’ functionalities, here.

Threads is young, experimental, and full of potential. More importantly, it’s version of online socialization mirrors real-world discourse and fosters meaningful relationships among users. Organizations seeking to gain credibility and establish trust with their audiences should begin incorporating Threads into their social media strategies now to reap continued benefits as the platform grows and evolves. After all, long before Twitter became X, it was new once, too.

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