Welcome to The Social Smarty Show, your weekly podcast for social media marketing tips, tactics, and practical digital marketing advice. Let's get you taking real action to grow your online audience, build connections, and your business. I'm your host, Jodine McIntyre. Think of me as your digital marketing coach, cheerleader, and wing woman all rolled into one. Grab some of my social media marketing know-how for free at socialsmarty.co/freebies now, before we dive in, make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss any future episodes.
Welcome to The Social Smarty Show where I dive into all things social media marketing. Today, I'm going to delve into the latest buzz around a brand new app that's making waves in the social media world. That's right, I'm talking about Threads, brought to you by none other than Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram. Why is Threads generating so much excitement? Let me break it down for you. Now, on the fifth of July 2023, Meta unveiled Threads. In my world, the social media world was just buzzing with anticipation. I mean, let's be honest, when the biggest player in the field launches a new app, it's definitely worth paying attention to. But the intrigue goes a little bit deeper. Threads has been on my radar for quite some time now. If you're in my email community, if you get my weekly newsletter, you'll know that I have been sharing some of the rumors and the leaks that have been circulating for months prior to the launch of Threads.
What has always been interesting is just how similar Threads seems to be to another popular social media platform, Twitter. Well, sorry, I should say X. Twitter is no more. The Twitter, as we know, is gone and has been replaced by a big white X. Now, you're likely to be aware that Twitter X is under the ownership of Elon Musk, and it has been facing its fair share of challenges since Elon took over the management. Trust in the platform has dwindled, ad spend is down, businesses are pulling out their ad spend, users have even been closing down their accounts. So X is not in a good place right now, but Twitter or X has always focused on really short text-based content, and that's what set it apart from the other platforms. That's what it was known for. Facebook, Instagram, they rely heavily or they emphasize video content. I've spoken a lot about Instagram reels, Facebook reels, that short-form, vertical video, which seems to be taking over. But with Twitter, now X, it was always about that short-form, text-based content. But of course, confidence at the moment in X is at an all-time low, and it seemed like there was a bit of a window of opportunity for a new platform to step up.
Enter Threads. What exactly is Meta Threads? Well, Threads is an app, and it was developed by the Instagram team at Meta. Now, it's designed to facilitate text-based updates and public conversations. The keyword here, the one thing I want you to take away from today is the word conversations. So unlike the traditional broadcasting style of many of the other social media platforms where we post a piece of content and we broadcast out to the world, Threads instead, it really encourages an intimate, meaningful discussion. So it's about having real conversations with other people, sharing your thoughts, your opinions, receiving responses to those, those, that back and forth interaction. That's obviously why it's called threads, because that's what a thread is. If you think about a thread online, it's a group of messages that have something in common, a conversation. Here are the key things you need to know about threads. Each post can contain up to 500 characters. We're thinking short, succinct, snappy updates. We're not writing our life story. We're not sharing novels. As of the time of recording, I can search for accounts, but I can't search for topics or keywords. Say, for example, I search for the word photographer, it's going to pop up any accounts that have photographer in the account name or the username, but it's not going to show me content that mentions the word photographer.
Or like on Instagram, we see #photographer in our search results. Instead, it's just searching for accounts at this stage. The other thing that I should mention is hashtags aren't functional yet on the platform yet. Did you hear that? I think they will come. That is my prediction that hashtags will roll out to threats, but they haven't as of yet. Now, that means they can't be clicked, they can't be searched, you can't follow a hashtag. They're pretty much pointless. When you post a thread, when you create a new piece of content, you can include up to 10 photos or videos, and each video can be up to five minutes in length. But you will notice when you're scrolling through threads that the majority of the content is just text. Threads doesn't support post-editing at the moment, so I suspect this is another feature that will roll out soon because we really need the ability to edit our posts, but at the moment we can only delete them and then repost, or we just have to live with that typo. Unlike Instagram, links on Threads are clickable. I so wish this would roll out for Instagram, but as we know, we're trying to send everyone on Instagram to the link in our bio, but on Threads, we can drop the link right there in our caption and it will be clickable.
We can send people to our website, our landing page, our sign-up forms, anywhere we want them to go. Now, the other thing that's missing from Threads at the moment is the direct messaging or private messaging feature. Again, I suspect this will come or maybe there will be a shared inbox feature with Instagram. That could be something else that maybe will be rolling out in the future. Now, Threads has gone bananas. It is the fastest growing app in history. Over 100 million users signed up in just five days. That is wild to me. I cannot believe that growth, but it makes sense because Instagram has a massive user base and Threads was basically built on top of Instagram. It was the easiest sign-up process for any app I have ever signed up for in my life. If you are already using Instagram, all you need to do is download the Threads app from your app store wherever you get your apps from. Yes, it's free. Then you just log in using your Instagram account and you're good to go. That's it. That's how quick and easy it is to sign up to Threads. You can even keep your existing username if you want to pull that over from Instagram, your profile image, your bio.
If you're verified on Instagram that your verification tick will carry on over too, it is so easy to get started and get your account set up. I suspect that is a huge reason why 100 million people jumped on board in those first five days. But what happened next was that honeymoon period, those first few days where we were all discovering what the app was about, that has died off. The latest stats I've read are we're about a month on from the launch now, and user engagement is down about 80 %. So if we know there's over 100 million users, we can maybe make a guess that there's maybe 20 or 30 million users that are actually really active on the platform. That is a huge drop-off, and it's going to be really interesting to see how the team at Meta keep their engagement up, how they keep drawing us back into the app. I'm suspecting we're going to get some notifications, maybe some advertising coming through from particularly Instagram, and we'll just see how that rolls out. Now, how do we use threads? Well, it's very similar to other social media platforms. It has a very simple layout.
You'll find a home tag, tab, and that will display a feed which you scroll through. It will show you threads from accounts that you follow as well as some recommended content from new creators that you might not have heard of. If you like what they're putting down in their threads, you can click on the heart icon to give them a bit of love. Or if you want to join in the conversation, you just click on the conversation bubble underneath their thread or their post, and you can join in and type your reply in there. Very, very simple. But I know what you want to know. It's not how to use threads, it's whether or not you should be using threads. Is threads a good fit for your business? Is it worthwhile marketing your business on there? Now, we have to come back to the whole purpose of threads, and that's about sparking conversation. So if you're going to use it as more of a broadcast channel where you just repost your content from Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, that thing, I don't think you'll be making the most of the platform's potential. So instead, you need to think about how you can show your personality behind the business maybe, how you can have those real, authentic, meaningful discussions with your potential and existing customers and others within your industry.
It's a great place to be networking as well. So if you're struggling with that, for me, that's really easy. I'm Jodine, I'm SocialSmartie. When I show up online, I show up. That's me showing up, and I'm building my personal brand. Socialsmartie is really an extension of me. But that might not be the case for you. So if that is something you're struggling with, I want you to imagine that your business, your brand is actually a person, and that person has thoughts, interests, values, views, industry insights, all these sorts of things. And so if you take that concept and turn your business or your brand into a person, how would they show up on threads? What would they share? What questions would they ask? What short, thought-provoking updates would they share? How would they engage in friendly debates, for example? How would they have those conversations? So that's how you need to approach it. If that seems hard and it seems like a lot of work and you're already showing up on these other platforms and you're getting reasonable engagement and you're getting the click-throughs to your website and you're making money and you're getting the sales, then probably park threads for now.
Another way you could approach it is rather than taking it from a business perspective in terms of showing up as your business, you could show up as the founder. You could create an account in your own name, and you could share content that's more about your own personal journey as a business owner, as a founder. That's the thing that I would love to follow along. I think that there's real power in showing up as a person behind the business, and I think that that's a great way for people to connect with you. So we often connect with people rather than brands. And if you're showing up as the founder, as the person behind the business, we can buy into that story and then we'll buy into your business. So that's another way that you could approach it. Now, if you are already on Instagram, you're in luck because growing your audience on threads can be a lot quicker than normally starting out from scratch on a new social media platform. And that's because many users will just automatically follow the Threads accounts that they follow on Instagram. It's a built-in feature with threads. You just say, Yep, I agree to that.
And then every time someone you're already following joins the platform, you will automatically follow them. But from our perspective, it means we can grow an audience a lot quicker. So within a month, I have maybe 400 followers. That might not sound like a lot, but I only have 300 and something followers on Twitter, and I've been on there for over a decade. So it's a different concept. It means that maybe you're not going to reach as many people outside of your existing network, but it means that you're not talking to no one when you're posting your content. That can be a really nice boost when we're getting started. Now, before we go any further, I just wanted to mention a special free resource that I have created just for you. It's a list of 31 prompts perfect for threads. It's a whole month of content ideas, one post a day for 31 days. You can literally copy, paste, and customize these prompts for your own business. The prompts are created for self-made business owners just like you. If this sounds like something you're interested in, head to my website, socialsmartie. Co/threads. I'll also pop the link in the show notes.
Now, let's address a common question. Can you schedule posts on Threads? As of the time of recording, no scheduling post in advance isn't possible. The Threads API hasn't been made available to third-party scheduling apps, and the app itself doesn't have any native scheduling features built in. What are having multiple accounts? Yes, just like on Instagram, you could have multiple thread accounts. You need to create the accounts on Instagram first and then pull them over into the Threads app, but then it's quite easy to switch between the two or multiple accounts. You just have to log out of each one, but it will save your login details. It's not quite as easy as switching between accounts on Instagram, but it isn't too bad at all. Now, privacy, Threads allows you to choose between public and private accounts, and users under a certain age, I think maybe 16, are defaulted to a private account, so just keeping that safer online environment. For those of you who are wondering if you can use Threads on desktop, the answer as of now is no, Threads is exclusively available on mobile devices. We can see or read thread posts if we have a link on our desktop, but we can't engage with them and we can't create news like we would with Instagram.com, for example
Now, something I haven't heard a lot of talk about is Meta's plans to make threads compatible with ActivityPub. What the heck is ActivityPub? Well, great question. I'm still getting my head around it. But it is an open social networking protocol that basically lets different social networking platforms communicate and interact in a decentralised way. It basically lets users connect, follow, share content across the platforms that are compatible. Now, if you want to do more reading on ActivityPub, I'm not going to pretend that I know all about it, but do a Google search. There's lots and lots of information out there on Google.
But before we wrap up, I would love to connect with you on Threads. If you haven't already joined and this episode has encouraged you, come and find me. I'm @socialsmarty.co or if you're there already, let's connect and let's have a conversation. Now, that's a wrap on today's episode of The Social Smarty Show. Thank you so much for turning in and exploring the world of Threads with me. Remember, the social media landscape is ever evolving, and Threads might just be the thread that ties your conversations together in a whole new way.
Give it a go. Until next time, stay social.