Agency Advice Meta Threads

1 week in, here’s how agencies are advising clients to approach Threads


By Sam Bradley, Journalist

July 11, 2023 | 9 min read

As users and brands continue to flock to Meta’s Twitter rival Threads, we ask agency experts how, if at all, they’re advising clients to react.

smartphone in a hand

Threads passed the 100m user mark on Monday (10 July) / Unsplash

Threads has been available for less than a week. While journalists debate whether it can support the same calibre of political discourse as Twitter – and regular users wonder whether it’ll provide the same quality of unhinged memes – questions remain for marketers about its worth as an audience channel.

Should it be used for ads? Brand banter? Or as a customer service platform?

We asked social experts at some of the industry’s biggest agenices how they were guiding their clients during the first days of the new network.

How do you solve a problem like... settling on an initial strategy for Threads?

Ben Obadia, senior planner, Leo Burnett: “Threads can be a great place for tactical, social, and organic opportunities. There is scale (people, content), it feels safe (Meta family), and most importantly it feels positive right now. But will the hype go beyond the meme? Threads is a mix of Twitter’s UX, Insta’s social graph, and most importantly TikTok’s algorithm. Theoretically, Threads could be great tool for mass organic reach, fame and earned media. It seems worthwhile to get in there early and experiment. We recommend brands to test and learn, start small and build their voice.

Thom Josephson, media director at Blue State: “Meta, for all its faults, is a platform deeply concerned by brand risk. There are few downsides to joining Threads and starting an organic strategy. For organizations thinking about Threads, they should at least claim their username in case you might want to use it later. At a higher level, Threads' initial culture looks different from Twitter and a more conversational, colloquial tone may work better. Threads is still early going and organizations are sure to have questions about long-term viability.”

Sarah Jardine, social strategy lead at Wunderman Thompson UK: “For Threads to have longevity, the benefits of moving from Twitter to Threads need to be clear. Twitter's future is uncertain, Threads needs to act as a confident social network to attract sign-ups. Play into how it’s not just a Twitter copy, but a standalone social network you want to be a part of. Meta channels should also utilise their ad space to promote Threads, just like TikTok does with Lemon8 to help with user acquisition.”

chris whitson

Chris Whitson, global head of strategy, Iris: “Two days on and with 30m+ signed up, Threads looks like a masterstroke of timing and strategy. Yes, we don’t know if people will want to engage with the same people on Threads as they do on Instagram, but Musk’s lunacy and the cauldron of hate that Twitter has become continue to confound users and advertisers alike. So many possibilities are opened up by knowing what users love on Instagram and then being able to serve relevant content and advertising on a platform where their behaviour may be very different. I can see connected Meta universe strategies, deploying Facebook, Instagram and Threads to operate across the funnel. However, only time will tell, so my advice to clients would be to hold fire for now.”

Tony Wright, strategy director, The&Partnership: “Whether diving in quickly to make a fun and fast start or holding fire and taking a more considered approach, the age-old principles of strong social brand marketing remain. Root everything around your brand’s proposition, define a clear role for your presence on the platform, have a strong, clear and distinctive tone-of-voice and know how you will and won’t play. The best uses and returns of social brand marketing across any channel are the result of purpose and craft.”

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Mara Dettman, digital strategy lead/co-editor, BBH Labs: ”Yes, Threads occupies a similar niche to Twitter – but the current user base is largely coming from Instagram. So, to get started on Threads, review what your audience likes best about both your Twitter and Instagram presence and build on this. Also bear in mind that, for the moment at least, people are embracing Threads as a joyful space of positive interactions. Brands pushing sales messages and promotion codes (especially in the fast fashion sector) are receiving negative reactions – but brands which joined Threads with humour and grace were generally welcomed.”

Emma Robertson, associate planning director, social media, Langland: “Healthcare brands have relied on Twitter to engage with and learn from healthcare practitioners, but most companies have cut down or stopped advertising altogether since Musk took over. While it’s tempting to jump on the Threads train for healthcare and pharma clients, I say, stay put. Instead, start experimenting with a personal profile and build a plan behind the scenes as we learn how the healthcare community is using Threads. Lean on your agency partners for support – their social team should be immersing themselves in the app and can provide guidance on when and how to get onboard.

Calum McDonald Ball, head of social at McCann: “If your brand isn’t on Threads yet, you’re already late to the party. Not because of a crystal ball, or a sure bet that Zuckerberg will beat Elon in the social platform battle, but because we can learn from our past. We all know that the brands that were earlier adopters to IG and Facebook grew the fastest – before there weren’t advertiser options where they could charge you to grow your follower base.”

Louise Jones, director of social strategy, Ogilvy PR Australia: “Brands should remain open minded about the long-term potential of Threads. For brands that already have a highly engaged and active community of fans on Instagram our advice is to test and learn with the new platform. Meta will boost reach for active brands especially for first movers as new features and capabilities are launched on the platform. For brands that are focused on driving impact and ROI, our advice is twofold. Firstly, wait and see with Threads and secondly, invest in TikTok, a growing platform that is proven to drive sales, cultural impact and brand salience.”

Stephanie Granowicz, head of social/influencer, Tank Worldwide: “So far, the standout brands on Threads have mirrored approaches of brands that have been active and recognizably ‘good’ at Twitter. Their approach to Threads has pretty much been a clean copy/paste of the stylization of their Twitter content. However, we shouldn’t expect all the same main players on Threads — the emergence of a new app will always open the door for brands and creators to reintroduce themselves.”

We’ll be tackling a different question next week. If you’d like to join in the debate, email me:

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