This week, Meta’s Instagram platform has officially unveiled Threads – a new “text-based conversation app” designed to rival Elon Musk’s Twitter.
What is Instagram Threads?
Instagram Threads is a “text-based conversation app” launched by Instagram’s parent company, Meta. Notably, Threads is a stand-alone app separate from the main Instagram app. Instead of integrating a new feature into their existing software, they’ve launched a separate entity known as Threads.
However, Threads is inextricably linked to Instagram in a few important ways. To sign-up for Threads, you must have an existing Instagram account. Your Threads username must be the same username as your Instagram account (nobody can take your handle, but you also cannot take any new handle on Threads). Sharing Threads to Instagram, and Instagram posts to Threads, is quick and seamless. Finally, and controversially, reportedly your Threads account cannot be deleted without also deleting your entire Instagram account.
The new app is very similar to Twitter visually, although on Threads retweets are called “reposts” and tweets are called “threads”. Every user is also given a 500 character limit, as opposed to 280 characters for most (un-verified) Twitter users. Just like on Twitter, Threads users are able to filter out posts by censoring certain words.
Will Instagram Threads Succeed and Replace Twitter?
The million dollar question that everyone is asking is “Will Instagram Threads replace Twitter?”. Meta was able to sign up over 5 million users to Threads in just the first hour of launch. The app already has over 30 million users at the time of publishing. Comparing this to Twitter’s 259 million daily active users, Threads still has a long way to go to completely replace the platform. However, this type of growth of an app and social media network is unprecedented.
We’ve seen Instagram succeed in adopting features from other competitors and platforms in the past. “Stories” were inspired by Snapchat’s disappearing content system (along with AR filters, the discover page and name tags), “Reels” videos are directly competing with TikTok and Direct Messages evolved from Messenger. Now, Threads has launched to (potentially) replace Twitter. It is important to note that Snapchat, TikTok and Facebook are still thriving in their own regards, even if some features have been copied by Instagram. Therefore, it is unlikely that Twitter will ever be completely replaced, but we could still see a shift in popularity from Twitter to Threads over time.
Can Cannabis Brands use Instagram Threads?
However, it’s no secret that the cannabis industry’s past relationship with Instagram and Meta Platforms has been tumultuous to say the least. Brands and influencers are subject to harsh censorship, account suspensions and deletions. Unfortunately, it appears that Threads will be no different in this regard. Threads will be censored similarly to Instagram’s main application. Users have already experienced numerous warnings and content deletions on Threads for violating their policies – including their policy on controlled substances such as cannabis. Furthermore, advertisements on Threads are limited or completely banned for cannabis-related companies.
Cannabis brands can definitely utilize Instagram Threads and get some value from it. However, they need to tread carefully and be strategic – just as they need to be on Instagram’s main application. Content cannot outrightly feature promotions, discounts, call-to-actions (such as shop now, available now, buy here, etc). Content cannot promote the sale of cannabis in any fashion. Be sure to follow Meta / Facebook / Instagram’s guide on cannabis as closely as possible.
Facebook/Instagram/Thread’s official content policies around “drugs and drug-related products” are:
- Ads must not promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription or recreational drugs (Ex. drug-related paraphernalia, such as bongs, rolling papers and vaporiser devices)
- Avoid using images of smoking-related accessories (such as bongs and rolling papers)
- Avoid using images that imply the use of a recreational drug
- Avoid using images of either recreational or medical marijuana
The Benefits of Using Instagram Threads for Cannabis Brands
There are a number of benefits of engaging on Threads for cannabis brands, influencers and agencies. Threads gives brands and individuals access to a new platform with a massive amount of attention and users. Threads offers a lucrative opportunity for creators and marketers that can create compelling text-based content. Not every brand or creator specializes in the visual content that tends to succeed on Instagram’s main platform. This opens up new opportunities for writers, copywriters and brand strategists.
For those brands and creators with existing Instagram followings, Threads offers unparalleled follower growth (as existing IG followers are encouraged to follow accounts they know on Threads). Furthermore, Threads is a fantastic platform for customer service and consumer engagement. Threads allows users to ask questions and interact with brands in a more informal, playful environment. We may very well see some of the most popular accounts on Threads turn out to be brands (as we have on Twitter).
Meta has made public statements that they intend to make Threads compatible with ActivityPub, which is the technology that powers Mastodon (a “decentralized” social media network) and allows social networks to be “interoperable”, which means that users of Threads would be able to take their accounts and followers to other ActivityPub-supported apps. For cannabis brands that begin to build an audience on Threads, they may be able to export this audience into other (more cannabis-friendly) platforms in the future. This could potentially be extremely valuable depending on how the future of social media unfolds.
At ADCANN, we suggest that cannabis brands experiment with every social media and digital platform available. You never know what will work with your target audience until you try. Threads will undoubtedly be a lucrative opportunity for some creators and brands, and will result in wasted time and resources for others. The important part is to be in the game, test things for yourself and adapt and evolve over time. We are excited to continue tracking the developments in the world of digital and social media and hope that platforms become more cannabis-friendly as time goes on.
Last Updated on July 7, 2023 by ADCANN