Social media is ever-evolving, and nonprofits need to keep up with changing trends to stay competitive and keep up with the times. While LinkedIn and Instagram remain valuable channels for nonprofit organizations, there’s a new kid on the block — Threads.
With so many tools and platforms demanding your attention, the question becomes: Should you or shouldn’t you use Threads for your nonprofit?
The TL;DR answer is this: You should, absolutely. Here’s how to begin.
What is Threads?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably already heard of Threads. The rollout made a splash, for sure. Even my 70-something mother-in-law texted to ask me if she should be on Threads.
Threads is a photo-sharing and messaging app operated by Meta (the parent company of Instagram and Facebook). It’s ideal for sharing stories and engaging with a community in nearly the same way you’d use Twitter (now “X”), but with longer posts and more content.
It allows users to share content using photos, captions, and text, turning each post into a story or a “thread.” It may look similar to the platform formerly known as Twitter, but it’s designed to offer a unique experience by combining aspects of Twitter and Instagram. You can use it to build a following, create a brand identity, and share stories about your organization with a broader audience.
Why should nonprofits use Threads?
Despite astronomical early sign ups in the first week thanks to a ridiculously enticing invitation within Instagram, Threads is not yet as popular for daily use as its more entrenched social media rivals. This isn’t a surprise; we expect a slow adoption with any new platform where users have to figure out how and when to show up. But that shouldn’t dissuade you from using it.
While the numbers may not be as impressive as some social media sites, Threads offers something that others can’t: a fresh start.
With Threads, you can try out a new approach to social with relatively low risk because your audience will be small, at first. Now’s your chance to do something amazing and make a footprint for your nonprofit – embrace the opportunity!
The barrier to entry is even lower than TikTok or Snap, with text-based posts ruling the feed but allowing up to 500 words. That means repurposing your content from LinkedIn or Facebook will be simple, and the easiest way to get started. Have a library of great photography? Threads offers a gallery format with up to 10 photos per post, and maintains their native dimensions.
How to get started using Threads: a step by step guide
Here are some ways nonprofits can utilize Threads for maximum engagement:
- Claim your handle. First things first, claim your nonprofit’s username and handle, so no one else can take it and start posting with it.
- Establish your brand voice. Take your time to select your organization’s voice, putting a lot of thought into your tone. Also, keep in mind who your target audience is, and how you want them to perceive your organization. New platforms mean you can play with new voices; perhaps Threads offers a place where you can be a bit more informal and comedic, or more wise and serious. Pick a direction and run with it!
- Repurpose content. It’s always a good idea to repurpose posts from other social media platforms. This will save you time and allow you to share relevant content but with a Threads twist.
- Engage with your community. Threads’ biggest strength is its interactive qualities, and you should take advantage. Respond to, comment on, and repost content from your peers and community members to raise your organization’s profile.
- Experiment and get creative. Finally, Threads offers a new platform where you can play with new ideas for content, voice, and frequency so have fun, especially while your audience is small.
- Monitor your progress. As with any new platform or tool, you need to know if your (time) investment is worth it, so monitor your engagement and growth as you would on any other platform.
Do I have to go all-in on Threads?
With any new social media platform, knowing how much time and energy to invest can be tricky. Invest too little and see no return. Invest too much and risk jeopardizing other more tested tools and tactics.
Here’s what we suggest:
- Start small. Start by repurposing content you’re using on other platforms and with the same frequency. This approach isn’t likely to get you any massive results, but you’ll start to earn followers and learn how the platform works.
- Listen. Spend a little time each day just browsing the feed, casually interacting with others, learning how people use the platform. You’ll quickly get a feel for what brands are doing and what’s getting results because you can see the feedback. Pay attention.
- Create time-bound experiments. Set a length of time to try different publishing frequencies or content types to see what works. Try posting twice a day for two weeks, then try once per day, then maybe only on weekdays. Try sharing single photos or in galleries, short sentences or longer paragraphs, or videos. Measure follower growth and engagement to see what’s resonating.
- Lean in. It’ll take a few months for all of us to learn what’s working or not on Threads (or if it’s even worth our time at all), but right now it’s a perfect place for you to lean in to new ideas and creative content, so have fun!
Learn which platforms work best for your nonprofit
As with any new platform, Threads provides an excellent opportunity for nonprofits to reach out to a wider audience, complementing their existing social media channels. It’s a great way to engage with your community, experiment with new ideas and content, and ultimately improve visibility for your organization.
Start slow and let it grow; abandon if you aren’t seeing results, and always, always have fun.