An Interview With a Social Media Manager about Meta's Hit New Social Network
On July 5th, Instagram launched a new social network called Threads. Widely touted as its response to Twitter, and taking advantage of a seeming exodus of both users and advertisers from Twitter, Threads launched with an impressive 10M users in less than 24 hours.
Being a fan of the written word, but not being the world's biggest social media user myself, I turned to my colleague to help explore the risks and opportunities posed by Threads, and to get her early take on the platform.
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Jurnee Parisotto-Charron is the National Social Media Manager for Legend Boats, where I also work as the Senior Digital Marketing Specialist. Jurnee is my go-to for all things social, so I can think of no one better suited to helping Insurgent Marketers to help navigate what Threads will mean for them.
Jurnee, welcome to the Insurgent Marketing newsletter.
A: Thank you so much for having me! You’re a brilliant marketer and I’m honoured to be part of this week’s newsletter.
You're far too kind, but I love flattery, so thank you. It feels like we all woke up this morning to this thing, called Threads, and had a mild panic attack about there being yet another social network to think about. How did you feel when you saw the news?
A: I had been hearing rumblings about this “Threads” thing for a while, but I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I noticed a few of my friends jumped on it immediately following the launch last night, and I knew that I had to be there, too. In both the personal and professional sense.
It's of course too early to tell what will come of Threads and how it will evolve, but what are you initial impressions? How do you see it differentiating itself from other platforms?
A: Initially, Threads seems like an incredibly well-thought-out platform. The layout and function are incredibly organized, and while it certainly has room to grow and improve, Threads is absolutely starting off on the right foot. The first immediate difference is Threads’ integration with Instagram. Of course, they are both Meta-owned platforms, but never before has there been a social media platform that allows a user to bring in their existing followers from another app. As a social media marketer, there’s always a small hesitation with joining a new platform - mainly because you need to overcome the hurdles of selling yourself/your business to the users of that platform. This integration mitigates that risk and hesitation.
Do you see Threads as a Twitter killer, or as just more platform to add to our daily grind?
A: It’s hard to say right now. My immediate thought is this: Threads launching in the midst of all of the controversy happening with Twitter can’t have good implications for Twitter. I do feel some hesitation to say that Threads will render Twitter entirely useless and that is because Threads is a Meta platform. Anyone using Meta for business (or even personal) use, knows how unreliable it can be at times. Twitter existing independently could actually become its saving grace.
With Threads requiring an Instagram account to use, how do you see leveraging the integration between the two apps? Do you see that as an opportunity or a hindrance?
A: This integration is massive and incredibly innovative. It removes some barriers to entry for businesses, including the stress of having to earn your followers on yet another platform. While marketers will indeed have to create their own strategic plans for Threads, this integration means the biggest hurdle is already crossed - especially if a significant number of your following is already buying in.
Threads gained over 10 million [Ed. note: Now well over 100 million] users within the first 24 hours. Of course, it helps that Instagram has over a billion users. Do you think this is just a blip? The news story of the week? Or do you think this platform has legs and will become important?
A: I definitely don’t see this as a blip. I can’t speak for all social media marketers, or social media users in general, but I’ve been experiencing fatigue with the existing platforms. It feels like right now, they’re all already doing everything they can - which means it’s the same content on repeat. Although people are already referring to it as “Twitter 2.0”, I anticipate Threads growing to be more than that. After scrolling through Threads a bit this morning, I do already see differences in the content on Threads versus Twitter - which is something I certainly didn’t anticipate.
With the surge of new users, how can marketers, and in particular underdogs or insurgents (as I like to call them), take advantage of Threads to drive brand awareness and engagement? Is there a playbook for turning this kind of attention into sales and into loyal customers? Or is it too early to say?
A: Be an early adopter. Even though there are already millions of users, there’s still time to make a name for yourself on Threads. My first thought when I signed up was: “I wonder what brands will be dominating, and what kind of people will end up becoming the influencers of Threads.” Because this platform is so new, early adopters can shape it to become what they want. There are no set rules, yet. Sure, there are best practices that have been published by Instagram, but nobody genuinely knows what direction this platform is headed. Put yourself out there, and take advantage of the Instagram integration!
A key component of Threads is, of course, threads. What can you tell us about how threads work?
A: At its core, Threads is about sharing information quickly. Bonus points if you can entertain. While Threads gives us the ability to use up to 500 characters, keeping it short and sweet is best. Every blog you read about Threads talks about how the goal of the platform is to open up dialogue between users. So keeping information open-ended and easy to interact with is key. Similar to any other social media platform, you want to give your followers some kind of value for following you - whether it's insider information on your business, deals, or just simply sharing entertaining content. Right now, everyone is jumping into Threads, so you’re competing with different messaging and topics, which is why you want your posts to be straight to the point. Even when posting a full thread of your own content, keep the thread itself short.
As Legend's social media manager, how do you plan to adapt our content and messaging strategy to resonate with the Threads user base? Should we treat it like Twitter? Or are you noticing any patterns that might suggest we should treat Threads in a unique way?
A: Threads is unique in comparison to Twitter in the sense that the content that people are currently sharing is more chaotic than what we’re used to seeing on Twitter. I would even go so far as to describe it as Gen Z’s Twitter. This is mainly because Twitter has quickly evolved to become a place for professionals to connect and share their knowledge in a less formal sphere than LinkedIn, and gave businesses, sports teams, etc. the opportunity to connect with their customers or fans in a way that hadn’t been seen before. Another key differentiator is that Threads does not currently have a Direct Message feature, so all of the conversations that are happening there are public. This can be great for engagement, because it encourages users to come out of their shell and interact right then and there. This lends itself to the entire concept of Threads, which is “…to take what Instagram does best and expand that to text, creating a positive and creative space to express your ideas.”
With regard to adapting Legend’s content and messaging strategy to resonate with the Threads user base - a more casual approach to start seems like the way to go. All of the excitement of this new platform brings in a lot of noise - we need to cut through that noise to our audience. To me, that means continuing to provide the valuable content that our audience expects from us, albeit in a more casual way. I see us using Threads to really lean into the community and memory-making side of the business, rather than focusing on the hard sale. Threads is simply not the place for that - at least not yet.
In what ways should we treat Threads differently than social networks that came before?
A: Threads encourages its users to have conversations right there in the open, on the platform. Without any Direct Message features, this is the perfect opportunity to create a space for your community. Regardless of the space you’re occupying on social media, you need to be comfortable and confident in what you’re speaking about and sharing.
Real-time conversations and instant feedback are key features of Threads. How do you plan to use these features to engage with your audience? How should insurgents use it to build meaningful relationships?
A: I’ve chosen to focus my personal Threads account on everything marketing - whether that’s sharing tips and tricks, asking questions, looking for feedback, etc. The best way to do this is to make posts open-ended and easy to respond to. If I want engagement, I need to not only provide value, but also give my followers something to engage with.
With regard to Legend’s account, I will be doing much of the same. Posting valuable content that our audience loves, but simply approaching it in a way that gives them something to respond to.
Meta has been incredibly forthcoming in terms of the purpose of Threads. While we are very much in the beginning stages, keeping that purpose at the front of your mind when creating content will only serve you well as the platform progresses.
Threads was released with a promise to support ActivityPub in the near future, the open standard for competing apps to become interoperanble. Apps like Mastodon and Bluesky, for example. Do you see any challenges or opportunities to this "fediverse", as it's often referred to?
A: Meta is known very well for their unwillingness to work with other platforms and 3rd party scheduling platforms, so supporting ActivityPub and joining the “fediverse” could be a big opportunity. If done right, the days of marketers having to fight with Meta could be coming to an end… although I’ll admit I’m a skeptic. Meta has a lot of work to do in order to regain the trust of marketers, including myself, however, they are a social media giant and have a significant amount of the market in their pocket. I can see Threads supporting ActivityPub as being a big step in the right direction for Meta.
With every social network comes a commitment of time and labour. Do you think it's risky to spend time on Threads when it's so new? Or do you think it's riskier not to participate? How do you balance competing demands for your time?
A: It’s riskier not participating. We are very much in the formative days of Threads, so if you are planning on taking it seriously eventually, but want to sit on the sidelines and see where it goes… don’t. You have the opportunity right now to exist in a brand new space that’s available in over 100 countries and continues to make headlines even almost a week after its launch. Don’t put yourself in a position to play catch-up when you don’t have to.
While it’s risky to not be occupying space on Threads, it’s also not a platform that requires a lot of your energy right now. If you’re working on a post for another platform and you think to yourself “Hey, this could make a great online conversation”, make a couple of small changes and share it to Threads! The beauty of Threads still being new is that everybody is just finding their way. Don’t rush into anything - because Meta could also decide this is not the direction they want to take after all, and the platform could look entirely different in a month from now.
Social media is evolving at an insane pace right now. No one knows what it will look like in a year from now, much less a month from now. How should marketers stay up-to-date and informed in order to adapt their strategies as Threads and other platforms continue to evolve this year?
A: Learning never stops. Especially in the world of marketing. I will yell that from the rooftops until I lose my voice. Continued learning is more than certificates and degrees, it’s keeping yourself up-to-date on emerging trends, platforms, tactics, and more. If you’re already good at keeping yourself informed on the ever-changing landscape that is social media, then you should have no trouble in maintaining a current and successful Threads strategy. Setting aside time bi-weekly to read a few articles, conducting a deep-dive analysis on your own social media, and overall looking into the ways Threads and other platforms are being used is a great way to keep yourself informed and your strategy fresh.
For established social networks, there are tools to help manage them centrally. Tools like Hootsuite, Hubspot, Buffer, and so many others. Threads is brand new. How do you plan to keep on top of the platform without burning out?
A: Right now, Threads is very casual. It does not yet require the same level of upkeep as other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter. For my own purposes, I’m setting aside time every day to scroll through Legend’s Threads account and interact the same way I would on any other social platform. Setting this time aside will also give me ideas for posting, which never hurts. I’m a big believer that in many instances (at least for myself), burnout happens as a result of poor time/project management. Scheduling time in my day to tackle different tasks is how I avoid burnout in general - I anticipate this strategy also working now that I have a new social platform to manage.
Should marketers be promoting their Threads accounts yet? Or just treat it as an experiment for the time being? How will we know when Threads is a real player? Or do we already know the answer to that?
A: There’s somewhere in between promoting your Threads account and treating it as an experiment where I recommend marketers exist. Be present on the platform, but build it organically. Don’t invest too much time into your Threads strategy, because the direction of the platform can change just as quickly as the platform itself became available to the public. I also recommend treating Threads as a real player. The fact that it is owned by Meta tells me that eventually, it’ll be another place to not only post organic content, but a place to also dedicate some ad spend. It might take time before this becomes a reality, but when it does, it’s going to be a place where you want to exist and take up space.
How should marketers measure their success on Threads? What are the goals and key metrics we should be watching?
A: Right now, we don’t have too much information on metrics that marketers should be keeping an eye on. It’s a great time to test out what post types your audience is more likely to interact with, and use this information to your advantage. Do they like videos? Q&A style posts? Photos? Marketers, content creators, and casual users are all testing the waters to see what works with their respective audiences. Now’s the time to experiment and have some fun without the stress of metrics looming over you!
Some platforms encourage collaboration between users. Do you see collaboration becoming a part of your Threads strategy? If so, How should marketers approach collaboration opportunities?
A: Absolutely. Threads is all about creating a sense of community and engaging with your audience in a way you don’t have the opportunity to on other platforms. Collaborations on Threads should be more casual to start. It could be as simple as a Brand Ambassador interacting with your posts, or using Threads as a way to soft-launch a major collab. The nature of the platform will encourage people to interact with posts, especially if you can make it something fun like posting a photo with the caption “Big news dropping soon! There’s a hint in this photo. Can you spot it?”. If you want to get people talking, this is the platform to be doing it on. If you’re using Threads to help you soft-launch a collab, you can also direct people to your Threads account via your Instagram story. There are so many opportunities here, the sky’s truly the limit!
Under your direction, Legend's social media has made heavy use of promoting content from our customers and friends on Facebook and Instagram, in particular. You also lead a team of brand ambassadors who create Legend branded content from the place that makes the most sense: The hulls of their boats. Will you be encouraging existing brand ambassadors to get engaged on Threads? Do you anticipate finding new brand ambassadors via Threads?
A: I communicate with our Brand Ambassadors on a monthly basis at a minimum, so I will be encouraging them in this month’s email to join Threads. Especially because we have a few Brand Ambassadors who are working towards becoming full-time content creators. I plan on doing my best to support them in a way that benefits not only Legend Boats but the Ambassadors themselves.
It’s hard to think about who will emerge from Threads as the top creators. If boaters and anglers do it right, I think there’s a big potential to discover new Brand Ambassadors through this platform, although we won’t be looking for new Ambassadors until 2024. So much can change between now and then.
What didn't I ask that you think marketers should know about the platform? Any opportunities and/or risks we should be watching for?
A: It’s crucial to me that I drive this point home: marketers, don’t be afraid to take up space. Even if you aren’t quite sure what will become of Threads, or how it’ll benefit your business - Take. Up. The. Space. You’re only losing on opportunities by not being here at the beginning. Even if the concept of Threads doesn’t interest you in the least, it’s crucial for you to be where your consumers are. And with 100 million sign-ups in the first week of Threads, I promise that some of your target market is residing here.
Jurnee, thanks so much for your time today. You have an incredibly busy schedule, and I appreciate you take a moment out of your day to share your expertise with the Insurgent Marketing audience.
A: Thank you for having me! You’re a phenomenal marketer who I’ve looked up to for some time, so being asked to participate in your newsletter is an absolute honour. I hope I was able to bring some good insight to your audience.
So there we have it folks! What say you? Is Threads the hot new thing? Fire off in the comments section here or on social media. Maybe even on Threads. See you there.
Insurgent Marketing is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.