Brands trying to one up each other on social media platforms, or even the battle for supremacy among platforms for that matter, is not a new phenomenon. Yet almost every time there is an all-out digital war, the engagement levels reach new highs. One such recent faceoff is the Twitter vs Threads showdown, which drew the attention of brands and had them vying to be early entrants.
Threads, the latest platform launched by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta recently, created history with 100 million registered users in just five days of going live. While Twitter allows crisp, primarily text-based updates, Threads – 'Instagram’s text-based conversation app' – is designed to share more personal content with videos, photos and text updates that encourage interaction among users.
Branding in the age of social media
Twitter, a pioneer in the social media landscape, has played a key role in shaping communication strategies for many a brand over the years. Examples abound of successful, memorable campaigns by brands, from witty exchanges to viral hashtag challenges. Be it Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke and Audi’s #WantAnR8, the #IceBucketChallenge or clever interactions between Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King, we are no strangers to the brand awareness that can be brought about by leveraging this platform.
However, the one thing that’s been making brands reconsider the use of Twitter is the fact that it can foster an environment that is negative, abusive even, at times. Threads has been positioning itself as a much safer positive and less political alternative. Brands lost no time in jumping aboard with innovative posts to engage their audiences. Wendy’s, Kerala Tourism, Zomato, Swiggy, Maybelline, Clinique, Spotify India and American Airlines were just a few among the early adopters.
The shared login with Instagram for Threads is also an opportunity for brands to leverage existing content from the sister app. The familiarity with Instagram’s ad format will facilitate a seamless transfer of branded content as well as followers for accelerated engagement and community building.
Unfolding brand narratives
While there can be endless debate on the faceoff, the fact remains that all popular social media platforms are an integral part of any communication strategy, and any brand worth its salt understands that. Be it Twitter, Threads or any other platform, brands have at their disposal unique opportunities to boost engagement levels with their followers as well as the larger audience.
The art of storytelling: Brands can continue to leverage digital platforms to craft compelling narratives and in-depth stories to showcase their values, vision, history and more, thus evoking emotions. This builds deeper connections with their audiences and nurtures brand loyalty.
Enhanced engagement: Interactive conversations raise engagement, helping brands amplify their messages to a broader audience. Moreover, such conversations work towards improved message retention.
Opportunities for meaningful discussions: Use of the right platform enables brand communicators to dive deep into complex ideas and subjects, fostering profound dialogues and exchange of expert knowledge. This is particularly beneficial for brands looking to build thought leadership or educate consumers.
Navigating the digital landscape
There are several reports indicating that Threads is a resounding success with brands garnering significantly more engagement on it as compared to Twitter. And while engaging in a social media battle can be appealing, brands should evaluate the pros and cons before jumping onto the wagon. The first question to answer here is: what are the specific objectives that you are looking to achieve through this communication? If you are looking to drive sales and expand your reach to a larger audience, Twitter can be the perfect choice. But if your focus is on building relationships, show your brand personality and share entertaining content, Threads may be a better fit.
Ultimately, the best way to decide what is right for your brand is to experiment and observe the outcomes. It all depends on the target audience and your brand’s exact goals.
Pro tip: If you need help outlining goals, try the SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound – goal model. In addition, tailor your content, stay true to your brand’s values irrespective of the platform, make the right use of visuals and be proactive in engaging the online community.
The ever-evolving nature of communication demands dynamic approaches and strategies. As the social media landscape evolves constantly, it is imperative that brand communicators stay updated, experiment and adapt strategies to leverage various platforms, thus maximising the impact of their brand messages and maintaining a competitive edge. The Twitter vs Threads faceoff in the brand communication industry only underscores the importance of defining clear goals and choosing the right approach.
The author is co-founder and CEO, Pitchfork Partners. This article was written before Twitter re-branded as 'X'.