What is Threads and how to get started

Ellie Burns Written by Ellie Burns

5 min read   -  31st July, 2023

What is Threads and how to get started

Move over Twitter (X) -  Threads is here. Launched on July 6th, and backed by Meta’s very own Mark Zuckerberg, Threads is a new text-based social app. Named the ‘Twitter Killer’, rivalling Elon Musk, Threads takes on a similar personality with text updates, public conversations, imagery, video, and even the dreaded character limits.

It's the hot topic in social media, causing a stir among disillusioned Twitter users and Instagram addicts alike. It received an astonishing five million sign-ups in the first four hours, with 30 million, in total, by the next morning.

However, there's one stark difference - its link to Instagram. From the onset, Threads accounts are synched to your Instagram profile - transferring key data like usernames, and the ability to keep followers (we’ll get into that later).

So what is all the fuss about, and how do you use this new shiny networking app?

Threads logo

What is Threads?

One of Meta’s many social branches, Threads is a spin-off app from Instagram designed specifically as a shared space for friendly conversation, rather than visual content. This new platform looks very similar to Twitter with a feed of text-based posts.

As a user, you can sign up and log in with your own Instagram account and share day-to-day thoughts, repost, like, and comment on other users' posts, and share your own photos and videos. Focused on real-time, communities can come together to discuss current trending topics.

Combining Instagram’s appearance with many of Twitter’s key components, the simple design of the app resembles Instagram’s comments section. 

How to get started with Threads

You may have yet to take the plunge and set up your very own Threads account. But that’s ok. You’ll be delighted to know that the process is quick and easy. This was one of the main reasons Threads was so successful in the first place, allowing users to sign up in seconds - as long as an Instagram account was already present.

Follow these next steps and you're ready to start communicating and join the world’s latest conversations.

1. Download the app

Like all apps, first you need to make sure it's downloaded onto your phone. Just head to the Apple App Store, or Google Play Store for android and search for Threads in the search bar. Threads is free to use!

2. Create your account

As Threads is already linked to your current Instagram account, you don’t need to sign up from scratch. All you need to do here is to click on your username at the bottom of the welcome screen.

3. Fill out your profile information 

Once you've created your account, you’ll move to the profile screen. Here you can either import your exciting Instagram bio, or create an entirely new one - it's completely up to you.

4. Choose your privacy settings

There are two privacy options you can choose from, with the same two choices as Instagram:

  • Public profile - all users both on and off Threads can see, share and interact with your account and content.
  • Private profile - in contrast, only approved followers can see and interact with your account and content.

5. Import the accounts you already follow

Due to Threads’ link to Instagram, users have the option to automatically follow accounts they currently follow on Instagram (we said we would come back to this). For those who want to keep all their followers, there's an easy 'follow all' button to quickly import your full list. Or if you only want to follow certain accounts, you can instead go through users one by one here. 

6. Agree to the terms of use

Lastly, on the final screen for setup, you’ll be asked to accept three pieces of information to agree to the terms of use. Once these have been ticked, voila - you can begin to use the app.

Key features of Threads

  • The app is connected via your Instagram account.
  • Like Instagram, you can have a public or private Threads account.
  • Posts can be up to 500 characters long compared to Twitter’s 280.
  • Videos can be up to 5 minutes in length.
  • You can choose who replies to your post - either anyone, profiles you follow, or only profiles you mention.
  • Deleting your Threads account will not delete your Instagram profile.
  • If you're verified on Instagram you’ll also be verified on Threads.
  • Posts can be shared as a link on other platforms and posted to Instagram stories.
  • Feeds consist of both followed accounts and recommended content.

What is Threads missing?

For all the pros, there are a few cons to Threads which has seen the initial hype and numbers of daily users die down considerably. For all of Twitter’s flaws, the Threads platform still can’t compete in many areas. Hence, the mass migration and the ‘death’ of Twitter (sorry X) is yet to happen. Although there’s plenty of data to suggest it’s hit Twitter (X) hard.

  • The ability to edit posts
  • Inline translation
  • A ‘following’ feed
  • Support for GIFs - no dedicated GIF button
  • Hashtags
  • Multiple accounts
  • Direct messaging features
  • A desktop version
  • Lists

Twitter vs Threads

Is Twitter slowly on the way out?

Since Elon Musk’s takeover, Twitter has frequently made the headlines, for many different reasons, including policy changes and reoccurring technical issues. It seems that users are speaking up, openly discussing their opinions not just on Twitter, but on Threads too.

For those of you who keep up with the latest news, you may have noticed the trending Twitter vs Threads articles. It’s not all sunshine and roses for Threads and with a few key differences between the two. Twitter still contains much-loved features that Threads lacks, so it will be interesting to see how the ‘ultimate battle’ plays out.

Especially with Threads now reporting on up-and-coming updates including making it compatible with ActivityPub - an open social networking protocol. This means a Threads profile will be able to follow and be followed by people using different servers.

It’s not just Threads with the updates though, as Elon Musk has now embarked on his next journey with Twitter - rebranding to ‘X’...

Twitter rebrand

Summary on using Threads for business

It’s early days, so how successful a channel this is going to be for brands remains to be seen. But where there are conversations being had, there are stories to be told and brands will be there to do it.

We’d advise you don’t employ a one-size fits all approach. This isn’t Twitter, it isn’t Instagram, it needs a fresh look. That doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel with every piece of content but repurposing should mean just that. Make sure this content fits the platform. It’s called Threads for a reason and they can be really useful to maximise what you can say. You can break down information into bite-sized chunks that are easy for your audience to digest. People are on the go, consuming masses of information all the time. That for us is part of the power of Threads. Short-form but useful, insightful, and engaging content will be key.

We're waiting with eager anticipation to see what happens next - but first, let's join the 100 million users out there. You can find us at @builtbyevo.

It starts with discovery

Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.

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Speak to us today and let’s start growing your business.