A guide to threads for eCommerce sellers

By Rebecca Montag | July 17, 2023
A guide to threads for eCommerce sellers

There’s a new social media platform creating a stir across the internet. Threads is a microblogging app that was released by Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta on July 5. In just 48 hours, more than 70 million users signed up, an unprecedented rate of growth for a new app. By July 10, the number of sign-ups jumped to 100 million.

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The much publicized launch, rapid surge of sign-ups, and widespread conversation surrounding Threads led many business owners to ask how they can use it to market their brands.

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So, should you promote your brand on Threads? And how can you best use the platform to grow your business?

Here’s what you need to know about the new app and a breakdown of how to leverage Threads to grow your brand.

In this article:

What is Threads?

Threads was labeled a “text-based conversation app” by its creators at Meta, parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Users post text-based content with a 500 character limit and respond to other threads to create conversations. They can also share images and videos.

One of Threads’s biggest draws is its seamless Instagram integration. With over 2 billion global Instagram users, the potential market is huge and easy to reach. In fact, Instagram users were notified of the launch through an Instagram notification. They can access Threads through Instagram, carry over their username and verification, and even choose to automatically follow the same accounts. Users can also easily share their threads through their Instagram stories.

Threads was developed by the Instagram team and is Meta’s response to the ongoing turmoil at Twitter. With recent changes at Twitter such as daily usage quotas causing outrage among users, demand for an alternative has increased. While previous competitors such as Bluesky and Mastodon failed to make a dent in Twitter’s dominance, Threads is catching on fast. So fast, in fact, that Twitter’s leadership seems worried, and has threatened to sue Meta for “misappropriation of Twitter’s trade secrets and other intellectual property”.

Twitter has been plagued by controversy since Elon Musk took over in October 2022. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta, and the Tesla CEO have been publicly feuding, even going so far as to propose a cage fight in the style of the UFC. While that seems unlikely, the rivalry is playing itself out in the social media space as Twitter and Threads face off.

Threads is still new and will likely undergo many changes in the coming months, but for eCommerce business owners, now’s the time to start building your presence.

Getting Started

If you’re not already familiar with Threads, it’s easy to get started. As of now, you’ll need to use your Instagram account as the two are connected. You can click over to Threads directly from Instagram by clicking on the Threads logo. This will prompt you to download the app from the App Store.

Then, simply log in using your Instagram username and password. Your username and verification will carry over automatically. You can choose if you want your account to be public or private, and if you want to follow the same accounts as you do on Instagram. Users can customize their Threads profile with a new picture and text, too.

Once your account is set up, you’re ready to start posting and interacting with others. Choose which accounts you want to follow, start your own threads, and reply to other threads to keep conversations going.

If you don’t have an Instagram account, you can still view threads through the Threads website, but at this time you cannot post or interact with them.

How To Use Threads For Your ECommerce Brand

So how can eCommerce business owners promote their brands on Threads?

There are not yet any advertising opportunities or monetization on Threads, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help amplify your brand. In fact, many brands are currently using Threads as a way to grow their audience and engagement.

Limitations of marketing on Threads

Threads currently lacks an ad placement feature and monetization opportunities. In addition, there are no direct messages (DMs) which can make it difficult to engage with individual customers in a private setting.

There is also no desktop app available, limiting users to the mobile app. Threads also lacks hashtags and a search feature.

Another challenge for businesses using Threads is that the feed is not organized chronologically. That makes it a poor choice for timely announcements and news.

Instead, users simply scroll through their feed of threads from accounts they follow and suggested accounts. They engage with threads and build ongoing conversations. And this is where the biggest opportunity for brands can be found.

Amplify your brand

Big brands from ASOS to Netflix to Walmart quickly started building their followings, coming up with unique approaches to content on the new app. Unlike with other social media platforms, the goal here is solely to get people to engage in real-time conversation. Social media managers are trying to push people to answer by asking questions and writing prompts that people want to respond to.

Clothing brand Anthropologie, for example, started a competition for followers to come up with puns related to the brand. Those who submitted the best responses received coupons.

Threads brings eCommerce brands a new way to communicate with audiences. People are actively engaging on Threads, and that provides a unique opportunity for eCommerce sellers. They now have a new space to focus on organically attracting a following, community building and conversing with their audience.

Perhaps due to Threads’s direct connection to Instagram, users seem to be engaging with it differently than they do with Twitter. The content is more similar to the content they post on Instagram, but with a greater emphasis on text. Therefore, sharing funny and inspiring ideas, images, and videos is a great way to start.

For brands just getting started on Threads, it may take some trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t. Work on matching your tone to your target audience, and focus on fostering meaningful conversations that people want to participate in. You can also use the app for product announcements and to collect feedback from your audience.

Engage with followers and build your audience

Engaging with followers on Threads can help you build your brand awareness and loyalty organically. Even if it doesn’t directly lead to sales, this type of content marketing has a lot of value for your business.

It remains to be seen if Threads is a passing fad or here to stay. In the near future, Threads will likely implement Instagrams branded content tools, and Threads advertising may not be so far behind. In the meantime, however, it’s a good idea for eCommerce brands to take their place on Threads and start conversations with their audience.

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