Should my business be on Threads?
The pros and cons of being an early adopter
As Twitter slowly dissolves from one of the largest social media platforms into a mess of ego and terrible brand choices. Many businesses have been keeping an eye out for a possible replacement. A handful of options have been presented, for example, Mastodon and Post, but none have really stuck. Mostly due to quirks in their design that made the user experience just foreign enough to be uncomfortable for former Twitter users.
Then in July of 2023, Meta announced Threads, an extension of the Instagram app that offered the most Twitter-like user experience. Users signed up in droves, climbing to 100 Million, active users by July 10th, but then rapidly falling to just 25 million by July 31st.
This bizarre blip has left many people wondering, should my business be on Threads? And for us, this became a larger conversation about the pros and cons of being an early adopter of social media. Let’s break it down.
The pros of early adoption:
1. Claim your handle
There’s nothing worse than signing up for a new social media account only to find your preferred handle is already taken. Maintaining a consistent handle across all social media accounts makes it much easier for your audience to find you online and drastically simplifies your social media blurb.
By being an earlier adopter to a new social media platform, your chances of securing your handle are greatly improved.
2. Less competition
Your competitors may be slower off the mark to sign-up, allowing you greater access to your audience. It seems strange to think back on the early days of Facebook or Instagram, where your posts had a much higher chance of actually reaching your audience. Before extremely high user numbers, crafty algorithms and paid advertising made it increasingly difficult to achieve without paying. The benefit to signing up early is that the field is smaller are there are far fewer players.
3. Build a niche
Going viral or starting a new social media trend is more luck than science. However, on a new platform, anything is possible. As advertisers and users are simultaneously figuring out how the app works and what kind of content resonates with audiences. There is a high potential for creativity.
This means you have much greater freedom to test content and see what sticks. You never know, your idea could help form what the app becomes for other users!
4. Become the expert
When there are no experts you could very well become the expert! If you see potential in the platform and have the time and dedication to test it out, you could become the person others look to for guidance on how to proceed. Very quickly making yourself a highly desired and saleable knowledge source.
5. Grow your brand
Being known as an early adopter promotes a very strong message about you and your brand. It clearly indicates that you’re innovative, ahead of the curve, and prepared to take risks. If this aligns with your brand values or the image you are trying to promote. Of course you’re going to sign up early!
The cons of early adoption:
1. It may be a fad
Not all new social media platforms are a success. Some suddenly explode in popularity, rapidly building an enthusiastic audience who abandon the app mere months or years later. For example, BeReal the anti-social media, social media app, saw a huge increase in popularity in 2022. Climbing to 73.5 million monthly active users in August 22. But has since plunged to 33.3 million active users in March 23.
Or a competitor comes in who does things just that little bit better and everyone transitions over.
2. You’re flying blind
When you’re one of the first, there are no set guidelines on how to optimise your content and get the best results. There are no ‘gurus’, no one has cracked the algorithm. Or more likely, the algorithm is a work in progress and constantly changing. Therefore, you don’t know if the content you’re creating and sharing is even likely to get results. Possibly resulting in wasted effort.
3. Your audience may not be there
Depending on your audience demographics, the people you generally interact with or wish to target may not be early adopters by nature. For example, if your primary audience is women over 40, you’re very unlikely to find them creating a Threads account. Compared to young men, 18 – 35.
4. It may not be secure
A new platform is less likely to have all its kinks ironed out or may not be backed by robust infrastructure. Meaning a sudden jump in usership could cause the app to crash and/or provide an easy opportunity for hackers to find backdoors to access your personal information.
Alternatively, the app could have been developed in bad faith and access far more data from users than most would be comfortable with. Relying on users to not do their due diligence in checking the terms and conditions. As is currently the concern with Threads.
5. Paid advertising will be in its infancy, if available
Currently, there is no option for paid ads on Threads, but rest assured there will be soon. However, even with Meta’s vast wealth of advertising data, there will likely be a learning curve for running ads on Threads. For both the users and the developers. Meaning if you do decide to be one of the first, you may not get the results you’d expect on a more established platform.
Should my business be on threads?
Whether or not you should sign up for Threads, or any new social media accounts, will ultimately depend on your appetite for risk and what you hope to gain from it. Signing up early offers endless potential at the risk of wasted time (or possibly stolen data).
If you feel you should sign-up purely out of FOMO, maybe give it a couple of months. If you have a large Instagram presence and are serious about exploring an alternative to Twitter/X, it’s worth considering.
Or, if you have a high tolerance for risk, and being first off the block aligns with your brand image. Go for it. Just double check the terms and conditions first.