Insight

Threads for law firms 2024: Is Meta’s social media platform a good bet for your firm?

June 25, 2024

In summer 2023, the world had high hopes for Meta’s newest social media platform, Threads. At a time when it looked like Elon Musk’s overnight rebrand from Twitter to X would contribute to the platform’s demise, Threads was widely dubbed the “Twitter-killer.”

Available only to users of the Instagram smartphone app at first, Threads allowed users to share text-based messages of up to 500 characters, as well as photo and video content. It boasted 100 million downloads in just five days and seemed poised to take over the market, leading us to ask: Should law firms use Threads for legal marketing?

Due to limited functionality and a 79% drop-off in users within one month of the initial launch, we advised law firms to wait for improvements before investing valuable time in an unproven tool. Now, nearly one year after the Threads hype began, we’re diving into the platform’s current functionality to help determine whether it’s truly valuable for law firms.

Early adopters among law firms have vanished with barely a trace

In July 2023, 11 of the top 20 firms on the AmLaw 200 list had established a presence on Threads, showing promise for the platform’s use in legal marketing. Of these so-called early adopters, seven no longer have any discernible presence on Threads. The four who can still be found there have few followers to speak of. Two of them never made any posts to begin with, and the other two have ceased posting entirely.

There are many possible reasons for this domain-parking, followed by abandonment. To help you avoid a similar outcome, we’re going to take a closer look at some successful uses of Threads – along with its limitations.

Finding your way on Threads

To log in to Threads, you first need to sign in to your Instagram account via your smartphone app or desktop web browser, then navigate to Threads. Compared to its initial launch, the app now provides a feed of content from those you’re already following and makes suggestions for accounts you might like to follow. 

When you’re starting out by looking for engaging content, you need to hit the search button and enter a search term, a hashtag or the exact handle for the person or organization you’re looking for. Search results appear as a list of posts with no way to filter the results.

Unless your search term turns up useful results within the first few posts, it can be extremely difficult to find what you’re looking for. Without knowing the exact handle of the person or organization you’re trying to find,you may not be able to locate their content or follow them. For example, if you type in West Coast Trial Lawyers, the search will turn up no results despite the fact that they have an active Threads presence.

What makes it even more difficult to find what you’re looking for on Threads is that even the most popular users – like CNN and Neymar Jr – don’t link to Threads from their homepages, where visitors can find linksto Instagram and X / Twitter. This discourages visitors from engaging via Threads. The platform’s limited search functionality makes it that much more difficult for would-be followers to find a person or organization on Threads, even when they make a special effort to do so. One promising development is that the Facebook app now integrates people’s Threads feed into their user timelines, so people can now start accessing Threads content from two Meta platforms.

A graph showing social media platforms by active monthly users with Facebook exceeding 3 billion, Instagram with 23.5 billion, X / Twitter with 600 million and Threads with 150 million.

In June 2024, X / Twitter has 600 million monthly active users, and Instagram has 2.35 billion while Threads lags behind both with 150 million. Despite Instagram’s huge market share compared to X / Twitter, the app’s devoted users have been reluctant to embrace Threads.

While the minimalist design aesthetic is attractive to some, the platform’s limited functionality may be a source of frustration among users – vastly decreasing your chances of engaging with your target audience. In fact, daily users spend only 3 minutes on Threads, compared to 30.9 minutes on Twitter and 33 minutes on Instagram.

Despite recent reports that Threads is now surpassing X / Twitter in daily active users in the United States, and the app is an increasingly popular download for Apple and Android, the time users spend on each platform is a metric that should not be ignored when measuring the quality of user engagement.

While there are no statistics comparing the size of an organization’s X / Twitter following to their Instagram or Threads following, in many cases the Threads following is a fraction the size of an organization’s Instagram following – even for the most popular brands on Threads, such as CNN. The most-followed person on Threads is Brazilian footballer Neymar, with 16.1 million followers – coming in at just a fraction of his 222 million Instagram followers, and his 63.5 million-strong X / Twitter following.

The fact that Threads still lacks options for advertisers also suggests that the platform has not yet grown to a point where it can be effectively monetized.

Threads success: West Coast Trial Lawyers

Although Threads has been slow to grow and evolve, some brands are still investing time and effort in using the platform to engage with their audiences.

West Coast Trial Lawyers is one example of a law firm that posts on Threads multiple times weekly. With 3.4K followers, the firm puts significant effort into video production to answer everyday and novel questions related to the law. Recent questions have included: “Have you ever shared your Netflix password?” and “What do you think of AI deepfakes?” While it may seem like the firm is putting a lot of effort into their Threads presence, a look at their Instagram grid shows that they are repurposing 100% of their visual content from Instagram for Threads – which represents less than 10% of their 36.1K Instagram followers.

Important questions for would-be Threads users

We know that thought leadership and client engagement is essential to the success of law firms, and we encourage our clients to seize every valuable opportunity to engage with prospective clients. With this in mind, we encourage you to ask these questions if you’re considering using Threads:

• Are your competitors using Threads?

• Are your clients using Threads?

• Are your clients and competitors talking about Threads?

If you are hearing about Threads from clients or competitors, we recommend doing some research by finding and following them on the platform. We also think it’s worthwhile to compare their Instagram, X / Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media profiles to see where most of their engagement is happening. It’s possible that those using Threads already have a thriving Instagram presence, and that they’re cross-posting content on Threads that was originally developed for Instagram while they’re already on the app – or through Hootsuite.

It’s clear that X / Twitter has survived and thrived against the odds despite the continued marketplace presenceof Threads. Given the numbers available, it’s clear to us that Threads isn’t competing directly with X / Twitter – at least not yet. Instead, most organizations that use Threads seem to currently represent a minute fraction of Instagram users who are holding out hope for future improvements.

We’re also hoping for a better Threads that will make it a great option for law firms, but we still haven’t seen enough growth or enough successful uses of the platform for us to recommend it to our clients.

Jenny van Enckevort
Jenny
van Enckevort

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