A rocket ship with the Threads logo blows past the Twitter icon.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

'Threads' is taking off — here's why you should try this Twitter alternative 

Yes, there's a new social media app in town. It might be a fad — or the next big thing — but getting on board now could reap dividends for your business.

July 7, 2023
4 minutes

Key points:

  • Threads is the fastest-growing social media platform in history, with 70 million downloads in just two days.
  • Don’t hesitate to jump in and start building your following, say social media-savvy real estate pros.
  • Powered by Instagram, it’s easy to sign up, and you can even copy your profile and existing Instagram followers to the new app.

If you regret not hopping on the TikTok train when it was gathering steam, you'd better jump on the Threads rocketship today, social media-savvy real estate agents say.

Threads, the new social media app dubbed the "Twitter killer" by some, is a free and easy way to grow your network and your business, said Matt Lionetti, managing director of The Agency Toronto West.

"Plug in as soon as you can when it's so much easier to be able to progress," agreed Aken (Moose) Musa, with Yellow Brick Realty in Milford, Conn. "If you hop on it early and become popular early, it's the same thing that happened on TikTok with early creators."

So what exactly is Threads?

Hailed by some as the most robust rival to Twitter yet, Threads was developed by Meta, the same company that operates Instagram and Facebook, and is linked to a user's Instagram account.

But unlike Instagram, it's primarily text-based, and unlike Facebook, there is a limit of 500 characters per post. There's no built-in direct messaging function, and you can't choose to see only accounts you "follow," though the company has hinted they are coming. 

The app has many similarities to Twitter, which is also largely text-based. As with Twitter, you can reply to other people's posts, quote posts or repost someone else's "thread" and let them know you've mentioned them by using the @ symbol in front of their username. You can also post photos and videos — and that's exactly what people have started doing.

Unlike Twitter, there is no hashtag or trending-topics function, and no way to edit threads once you've posted them.

Getting started

The connection with Instagram is undoubtedly what has already made Threads the fastest-growing social media app in history, soaring past 70 million users in just its first two days.

Signing up if you already have an Instagram account is easy and intuitive. (If you don't have an Instagram account, you'll need to create one.)

Download the Threads app, log on to your Instagram account, and you will have the option to simply copy your Instagram profile, including photo and bio, over to your Threads account. You can also choose to copy all or some of your Instagram followers into Threads, which means anyone who currently follows you on Instagram will probably automatically follow you on Threads when they sign up. 

That's it. The algorithm will begin showing you "Threads" it thinks you will find interesting, along with posts by people you follow. And you can begin posting threads of your own.

Don't just 'wait and see'

With social media platforms, fortune often favors the early adopters. "You can grow fairly quickly because it's such a new platform," Lionetti said. "When something is shiny and new, it's easier to grow — that's how so many TikTok creators blew up."

And even if the app turns out to be a flash in the pan, it can still benefit your business, Lionetti said, referencing the Clubhouse app that faded as quickly as it grew early in the pandemic.

"With the Clubhouse thing, so many people were resenting it, calling it just a fad," he said. "They were right. But during that 'fad,' myself and a couple of my partners grew like crazy. … The network we built from that was just a great investment."

The benefits of using multiple social media platforms

No matter how easy it is to get started with Threads, It's tempting to just stick with Instagram if that works for you, Lionetti acknowledged. Because an Instagram account is required to join Threads, you have the same potential audience.

But a new format can help improve all of your content, he said, comparing it with his experience as a musician. "When I sit down at a piano compared with sitting down with a guitar to write a song, I come up with a totally different vibe," Lionetti said. "It's a different way of thinking."

Musa said he sees it as a low-cost, high-reward investment in his business. "Why wouldn't you do this free thing that will allow you to get business and maintain business?" he said. "It would literally be crazy not to do it."

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