Social media has always been an unpredictable way for podcasters to promote their show and connect with their audience. When Elon Musk took over Twitter in November of 2022, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri had a mandate from Zuckerberg: create a stand-alone app to meet the needs of Twitter users jumping from the little blue bird site. Meta launched Threads seven months later, and scuttlebutt indicated it’s “the opposite of Twitter.” Right now, Threads seems like it could be a hub for community interaction and information rather than a bad habit. Whether or not the world needs another social media platform is a different discussion entirely. Here, I’ll focus on a question pertinent to podcasters – is Threads any good for podcast promotion? Let’s find out.
What is Threads?
Threads is another social media platform, yes. This one only shows text or image posts from accounts you intentionally follow. The aforementioned article from the Washington Post says Mosseri’s team deliberately “eschewed difficult features, including private messages and the ability to search for content or view the feeds of people you don’t follow.” The result is a lean, quick-loading interface that behaves like Twitter did when it first launched. Users can read the accounts they asked to, instead of scrolling through tons of accounts they didn’t. You aren’t swamped with promoted posts, ads, or whichever post gets the most attention.
Meta invited creators to Threads through their Instagram notifications, like having the caterers get to a party venue with the refreshments before the guests arrive. Now, anyone with an Instagram account can join. At least it seems that way: they let me join, so I’m testing it. So far, it makes me feel like less of a marketing target.
How Does Threads Work?
If you already have an Instagram account, search in its engine for “Threads.” An image that looks like a ticket pops up. When you click on the ticket, the Threads app downloads. Your profile and followed accounts carry over from your Instagram account. It’s so smooth and simple you’ve joined before you know it. Currently, you have to have an Instagram account to join. The two platforms use a single sign-on.
Threads is definitely a social media platform for people who have burned out on rudeness. One of the privacy features is the option to hide “offensive words or phrases” and even custom words and phrases. If I’m sick of hearing about my friends’ summer vacations, I can add “summer vacation” to the blocklist. Threads’ privacy settings will block it. You can customize whether or not people who don’t follow you can see or respond to your posts.
Promoting Your Podcast On Threads
After our Indiepod Community live training about how to market yourself on Instagram with Bonnie L. Frank, I started an Instagram business account for my podcast. With a business account, Instagram helps you track engagement.
Instagram shows me how many people saw and/or engaged with the post. Comments, shares, and saves, reactions and so on are all measured like a scorecard. In this case, five users let the reel play.
Does Threads show engagement? Not in the same way. Since Threads lacks a scorecard like Instagram’s, users prioritize comments and conversations. What you contribute and how matters more. So, simply putting up an audiogram and calling it a day isn’t enough. Instead, caption the audiogram with a question, or invite the audience to engage with you through that post.
In the example above, Libsyn‘s post encourages people to leave a comment, even if it’s simply an emoji. This is low-pressure for the audience, and gives Libsyn a little bit useful data.
The app appears to be a good place to post conversation starters about my podcast’s topic. Or, add “find me on Threads” in your podcast call to action, so your audience can converse with you. Threads’ users appear to be interested in sharing ideas. It’s less of a “post and ghost” scene, and more of an information exchange.
What About Podcast Discovery on Threads?
On Instagram, If I want to find new puppetry companies to follow, I can browse the hashtag for #puppetry. On Threads, hashtags aren’t available yet. Search finds accounts, not topics.
What I can do is pay attention to the content that people I follow post, read the responses, and see if the people who engage with them are worth following as well. Maybe they have content that’s open for me to follow. It’s a nuanced, human, consent-based approach, as opposed to trying to surf the latest wave of scrolling.
Is Threads Worth Podcasters’ Time and Energy?
It’s too soon to tell. Threads’ initial launch brought 100 million signups, but about half of those accounts stopped using the app pretty quickly. With new features on the way, like an edit button, improved search and messaging, those users may return.
It’s possible that Threads’ users value personal interaction more than other platform features. Adam Moserri said, “If you look at how teens spend their time on Instagram, they spend more time in DMs than they do in stories, and they spend more time in stories than they do in feed… But, the thing is, we’re not a messaging app.” Threads puts the spotlight on communication and privacy controls, rather than pushing content in front of users. It gives users more choices.
Maybe Twitter’s bullhorn approach has twisted how we promote our podcasts, and a subtler approach is necessary. Right now, Threads is a quieter social platform. If you’re focused on communication, this may be a good platform to try.
That said, there is no shortage of podcast promotion and growth strategies you can already invest your time into. Maybe Threads is a fantastic place to take your podcast to the next level, but are you up-to-speed with everything else? Is your website on point? Are you running a must-read email newsletter? And do you already spend time building your own community?
Just like we shouldn’t blow our wages buying the next new fancy mic, we shouldn’t freely give away our time to the latest Silicon Valley attention economy app without first asking ourselves, “Do I really need this?”.