How Your Small Business Can Utilize Instagram Threads
In 2017, Instagram released an app which it called Direct, and it was intended for usage as a private messaging app. It was supposed to compete with Snapchat and to provide functionality along the lines of Instagram’s Stories feature. After just a couple months, that app was shut down and all messages which were loaded into it were transferred over to Instagram’s Direct Messaging feature. Fast-forward to the present time, where Instagram is now reviving this defunct app, still intended for use as a private messaging vehicle, and the app is now being called Threads.
How Threads is different
This new Threads is basically a juiced-up version of Instagram’s current private messaging feature, although it is meant to focus more on establishing and nurturing connections between friends and groups of friends. Just like the current Instagram feature, users will be able to see all of their friends who are currently online, and will be able to talk one-on-one with them in small groups.
You’ll also be able to take pictures and send them immediately, and you’ll have the capability of viewing Stories. Instagram has also added in some new features that are quite similar to Snapchat’s Snap Map. When you use Threads, you’ll be able to opt in for automatic sharing, and that will allow the app to automatically update your current status, so that your friends are aware of your location, or whether your in-transit somewhere.
The idea with this added functionality is to make it easier for friends to plan activities together, as well as to maintain contact even when you’re not actively engaged with those friends. Any manual updates can also be posted at any time by a user when making use of Threads.
About private messaging
As most people in the industry are now aware, the next big thing in Digital Communications is expected to be private messaging. At a recent F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg famously commented that private social platforms will begin to become the focus of the social experience for online users, and that the future of social media would be in privacy.
Facebook itself has had a completely independent messaging app available for almost 10 years now, and Instagram considers its Direct Messaging feature to be so powerful that they are also considering making it a separate app. There’s no question that privacy has become an industry hot button, especially for brands like Facebook and Instagram. A great many more people are inclined to make exchanges privately, and that makes private messaging a much more in-demand feature than it was a decade ago.
Private messaging has indeed become the preferred method for exchanges online now, and according to current research, online users tend to prefer private messaging to social media platforms themselves. This is true of both individuals and business users, so the trend toward private messaging is undeniable, and it is likely to become even more pronounced in the future.
Messaging apps have grown to be more popular than social media apps, and that trend is also expected to continue. This doesn’t appear to present any problems to either individuals or businesses though, because private messaging is just as useful to brands as it is to individual users. Target audiences can still be reached by private messaging, as opposed to contacting a target audience through social media.
Should businesses use Threads?
Absolutely. As mentioned previously, private messaging apps have become even more popular than social media apps themselves, so businesses need to adapt to this fact and use private messaging apps to their advantage. It’s an extension of the age-old principle of meeting your customers where they hang out. Since 80% of Instagram users currently follow one or more brands voluntarily, it’s obvious that this is fertile ground for establishing business-to-customer relationships.
In terms of why a business should use Threads as opposed to any other private messaging app, it’s worth considering that Instagram has the highest engagement level of any social media platform, and it’s also very accessible and easy to use. There is every reason to believe that Threads will perform up to expectations, and that it will become a very solid vehicle for private messaging.
Since Instagram users engage with brands at a rate 10 times greater than users on Facebook, it just makes a world of sense for business users to have a presence on Threads so as to reach their potential customers. Believe it or not, brand engagement on Instagram is 54 times higher than on Pinterest, and 84 times higher than on Twitter – how could your brand afford to ignore Instagram?
The future of private messaging
Based on the information above, it should be clear that the future of online social experience is in private messaging, and that’s something that businesses simply can’t ignore. The proven engagement rate of users on Instagram is another important fact that businesses simply cannot overlook, because of the powerful connection between brands and consumers on the platform.
Given the fact that this connection is a virtual gold mine for businesses, there should be no doubt that Instagram Threads is a vehicle which should get serious attention from brands. In the future, it seems likely that Facebook will unify all its messaging apps, at least in terms of their technical foundations. The individual apps themselves, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram, would still be separate apps, but would have that same common technical foundation supporting them.
The significance of this is that the 2.6 billion people in the world who make use of these messaging apps would then have the capability to communicate with each other across platforms. This would be a tremendous step forward, and it will be a boon for both consumers and businesses, because when the integration does take place, one of its chief features will be end-to-end encryption.
This will guarantee that the only people who can actually view private messages are those individuals who have been designated as friends that can share those messages. With Instagram’s Threads app already undergoing serious development efforts, this is another step in the direction of unified messaging, and another step which businesses should take note of for their own benefit.