The new text-based conversation-based app, launched on 5 July, is free to use and operates on a nearly identical format to Twitter. Threads already boasts a quarter of the number of active Twitter users, with many businesses flocking to the new platform, after Twitter, under the reign of Elon Musk, alienated its users.
But others claim Threads is failing to win over Twitter’s following. BrewDog, Inception Group and The Alchemist Group have been quick off the mark in creating accounts for their bars. Is the new social app a key to boosting business, or is it just another fad?
We spoke to social media experts and pub businesses to find out if pubs should be downloading Threads and how they can best use the platform to reach new audiences and showcase their brand.
For social media manager Hannah O’Donoghue-Hobbs, Threads has “really good reach”. Her advice for pubs is to create quick, authentic content that fit with the brand’s tone of voice. She also suggests businesses shouldn’t repurpose content from Instagram or Facebook, nor should they put all their eggs in one ‘social media’ basket. It’s vital to take care not to neglect platforms that work for your audience in favour of a new app, she says.
Paywalls, the constant bombardment of ads and the reign of Elon Musk mean many have stopped seeing Twitter as a reliable platform, says O’Donoghue-Hobbs. Instagram is driven by aesthetic-focused curated feeds and the upkeep of an account can be time consuming. This has opened up a space for Threads as a much-needed space that is fast, trusted and genuine.
Instagram expert and speaker Estelle Keeber says being an early adopter of any app always comes with benefits and with Threads being the fastest growing app since ChatGPT, there’s never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon.
As the app is currently free from adverts, Keeber says it’s a “pretty level playing field” for most businesses, no matter how new they are. What’s more, a business’ Instagram followers can easily find it on Threads, as they get a notification once it imports contacts, which the Instagram expert calls “free marketing”.
Her top tip for using Threads? Make sure your bio is up to date and uses words your ideal client would search for. For instance, if you specialise in cocktails, use the word ‘cocktails’ in your name and bio.
A key thing to remember? “People don’t like to be sold to,” says Keeber. Mix content up with a variety of fun posts that showcase the company’s culture, alongside value posts which show staff know their stuff in terms of food and drink. “Remember, it’s called social media for a reason,” she adds. “Threads are shared to other users’ feeds based on comments, so engage and get your business out there.”
London-based operator Inception Group has created Threads accounts for its portfolio of experiential venues including bar chain Mr Fogg’s and Cahoots, Kingly Court, central London.
The platform provides a space for sharing text updates, allowing the company to deliver targeted messages to its followers, according to Inception Group social media & digital marketing manager Selen Arioglu. She said this could help build a stronger brand presence, engage effectively with the business’ audience, while also connecting with those with similar interests and gathering customer feedback.
While Inception Group was still testing the waters of the platform, it had noticed certain brands generated higher engagement among its target audience.
Arioglu sees Threads as striking a middle ground between Instagram and Twitter: its text-based nature set it apart from the visually orientated app and it also had a higher character count, increase image usage as well as the ability to post longer videos than Instagram.
The Rose Pub & Kitchen in New Cross, south-east London, has also been quick on the uptake – with a Threads account up and running with “humour and edge”. Often, says general manager Matt Holmes, hospitality can lag behind in terms of getting involved on social media, so the team was “excited” to be there right at the start of a new platform.
So far, they’d kept things pretty casual, using the app as an outlet to showcase the pub's personality and humour. “[We] feel like we’re able to be a bit less scrutinised than we are on Instagram,” Holmes adds. Threads itself is still finding its feet and the general manager forecasts more to come, like the option to search for specific things. “At the moment it’s a bit of a random free for all and we’ll hopefully start to see its full potential soon,” he says.
Orange PR and Marketing founder Megan Dorian says pubs looking to use the new social platform should share their Threads profile across all social media accounts to attract followers.
“At the moment it’s a bit of a random free for all and we’ll hopefully start to see its full potential soon."
She also recommends making sure content on Threads is relevant to your brand an audience. “Share short, punchy updates that are going to keep you audience engaged while encouraging them to interact with your account,” she says. This can be done by including a question or jumping on a hot topic trend.
Being such a similar platform to Twitter came with “pros and cons,” she believes. The downside is engagement can be hard to maintain after the novelty wears off. On the flipside, the app was created to promote a friendly platform for users to connect, compared to Twitter, which has won a reputation for “harsh realities and controversial opinions”.
For BrewDog head of content Richard Innes, no brand-new social platform had ever had the immediate benefits of Threads in terms of scaling. Due to the ease of uptake for Instagram users, it's possible to instantly grow a sizable audience at the tap of a few buttons, making it the “perfect opportunity” to dive right in.
Equally, adds Innes, in a space where ads are currently non-existent: it's only well-engaged organic content which is going to get the brand seen.
It’s too early to assess how Threads might benefit business. Threads started with masses of engagement, but BrewDog’s head of content puts that down to its novelty. Ever since its launch, he’d seen engagement dip substantially as the novelty starts to wear off.
Just a fad?
This is a concern shared by Top 50 Gastropubs social media manager Charli Tomney, who warns Threads could be a fad. Still in its BETA testing stage, she sees it as more of a personal platform rather than a business channel. “It’s just a carbon copy of what you can do on Twitter, just with more characters,” she says.
And does she think businesses should use Threads? “I would definitely wait and see,” she says. What’s more, it’s impossible to delete your Threads profile without also deleting your Instagram account, which she explains is off-putting for lots of people.
Tomney compares it to making a WhatsApp group, posting stuff about your business, and hoping everyone sees it: “That’s not really how it works.”
The Alchemist Group is another company that has taken on Threads, but its social & PR manager Kieran Corbitt doesn’t shut down the idea that it could be a fad.
The business took the decision to delete its 50,000 follower-strong Twitter account after Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform prompted “troll culture” to take over. But the bar company is now on Threads. Corbitt sees an added avenue to speak to customers as a “huge benefit”.
As a visual brand, using the story-telling aspect of the platform is a “huge plus,” and also echoes the space to authentically communicate that Twitter fostered in its early days.
The bar group has already incorporated Threads into its immediate marketing calendar, and will aim to post a mix of promotional content, comedy or meme led threads and responses to conversations with people and brands.
But, in the same way recent new social app BeReal “came and went”, Corbitt thinks Threads might lose its fervour. However, Meta holds far much more power than other new platforms on the market. Moreover, even if it is a fad, he believes it would be a shame to lose out on an additional method to reach new and existing guests.
It’s too early to tell whether Threads is the next best thing for pubs. But plenty of brands have jumped on the bandwagon and are showing off their business with quickfire wit and authenticity. Keeping things casual, genuine, and engaging can help businesses shine on the new platform.