Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, recently announced the launch of Threads, an app developed by the Instagram team to extend its photo and video-sharing platform to text-based communication. The launch has implications for small business owners who can leverage this new channel to engage with their customer base and expand their audience reach.
Threads, unlike Instagram, is centered around real-time conversations and updates. It provides a separate space for creative expression and public dialogue, allowing creators and casual posters to connect in a dynamic, text-centric environment.
To use Threads, users log in with their Instagram credentials. A user’s Instagram verification and username will automatically carry over, offering an option to tailor their profile specifically for Threads. Those under 16, or 18 in certain jurisdictions, will default to a private profile upon joining.
Threads’ feed includes posts from followed individuals and content from undiscovered creators recommended by the platform. Posts can comprise up to 500 characters and include photos, videos, or links. Users can effortlessly share a Threads post to their Instagram story or disseminate their post as a link on other platforms.
The significance of Threads for small businesses lies in its interactivity and personalization. With Threads, small business owners can initiate real-time discussions, exchange ideas with their audience, and gain invaluable insights into their customer’s needs and preferences.
The app is designed to foster productive and positive dialogue. It offers tools to control interactions, such as filtering replies based on specific words and controlling who can mention or reply to a user’s post. Like Instagram, any profile blocked on Instagram will also be blocked on Threads.
A noteworthy aspect of Threads is its commitment to user safety. Instagram’s Community Guidelines will govern content and interactions within the app. Since 2016, Meta has invested more than $16 billion in teams and technologies to safeguard its users; an approach Threads is set to follow.
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Soon, Threads plans to support ActivityPub, an open social networking protocol established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This will make Threads compatible with other apps that support ActivityPub, such as Mastodon and WordPress, creating opportunities for connections that other social media apps currently do not offer.
The integration with ActivityPub also means small businesses can engage customers who use different apps, helping to increase their audience without additional effort. Similarly, if a business decides to stop using Threads, it can easily transfer its content to another service.
This level of interoperability and flexibility is set to accelerate innovation, as developers can create new features that plug into open social networks. Threads mark Meta’s first venture into apps compatible with open social networking protocol, hoping to usher in an era of diverse, interconnected networks.
Threads is now available in more than 100 countries for both iOS and Android users. Future enhancements will include improved recommendations in the feed and a more robust search function. These enhancements could give small businesses even better tools to connect with their customers, stay ahead of trends, and broaden their market reach in real-time.
For small businesses worldwide, Threads represents an exciting opportunity to leverage a new, dynamic platform for engagement and growth.