Business owners are being urged to wait and see before signing up to the new social network Threads in case they get tangled up in pursuing a strategy that does nothing to serve their interests.
UK marketing agency JDR Group, based in Derby, says companies could lose precious time and derail their sales campaigns if they succumb to the lure of Meta’s latest online platform without proper planning.
Threads has caused a worldwide sensation since its launch as a rival to micro-messaging platform Twitter, with 150 million new users having already signed up.
Among a flurry of headlines, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s direct competitor to billionaire Elon Musk’s Twitter had many people announcing they were abandoning Twitter in favour of Threads, leading digital experts to speculate over whether the famous blue bird’s days were numbered.
But Will Williamson, a director at JDR Group, which looks after the online marketing for hundreds of companies across the country, says firms who currently rely on established social networks should resist the temptation to join the stampede – for now.
Threads definitely has potential, he adds, and there are benefits to get on board early, not least because it is easiest to build followers and get engagement in the early days before the site’s algorithm start to prioritise adverts.
But equally there is the danger that it may not be compatible with their business needs or is not likely to be used by their potential customers.
And experts – including Meta with its failed Horizons World VR project – have been wrong about the next best thing before and it might be that the latest online sensation won’t come from America at all, but from China, with a new app from the makers of TikTok called Lemon8 waiting in the wings and steadily growing its own new following.
Will said: “There is always a sense of panic every time a new social media platform launches with everyone wondering if they should get involved and what might happen to their business if they were to miss out.
“There’s no doubt Threads has made a huge impact and has vast potential. However, we all remember other social media platforms which arrived in a burst of publicity but which never fulfilled their promise, including Google Plus, which plenty of people thought would be the next big thing.
“I understand companies wanting to seek any advantage that might be gained, but our advice is that they should be cautious and do their research before getting involved.
“Social media takes time and investment and every minute and pound you spend on it is precious and so we wouldn’t advise opening an account on Threads until there is certainty about whether it’s right for your business.”
Social media has become one of the main marketing tools for businesses over the years and there are now plenty of ways in which companies can harness the power of social media in order to grow their brands.
Will added: “The huge success of Meta and TikTok may well mean that Threads and Lemon8 have potential to become really important, however I think the days of huge subscriber numbers are over because platforms are becoming more specialised and serving distinct niches.
“From having three or four giant social media platforms 10 years ago, I would say there are now 50 available, 20 of which we are actively aware of and with new ones coming along all the time.
“It means that companies need to understand who their customers are and find the social media platform that is meeting their needs the best. As ever with anything that’s new, it’s always wise to seek advice and hold off doing anything drastic.”