How to use Threads for your self-employed business

Threads - Hero image 01.jpg

With more than 100 million users signing up in just a week since the new social network launched, it’s worth understanding how to use Threads for your self-employed business. Even if you’re not a huge fan of social media, it’s worth knowing how to claim any relevant usernames for yourself and your company. And how it may change marketing yourself and your clients.

It’s not the only network which has become a potential alternative to Twitter, with the recent launch of BlueSky Social and the growth of Mastodon. But being owned by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, means Threads has some significant advantages to attract users and businesses.

  • What is Threads?
  • Why sign up to Threads if you’re self-employed?
  • How to sign up to Threads
  • How to use Threads for your self-employed business?
  • What are the potential problems using Threads?

What is Threads?

Threads is a short-form social network (also known as microblogging), which allows you to share text up to 500 characters, images and videos. It launched on July 5th, 2023, with apps available for Android and Apple devices, but a web or desktop interface to use on your computer is still being developed.

More than 100 million users have signed up within a week of launch, which compares with the estimated 350 million active on Twitter, and one billion on Instagram. For context, Twitter launched in 2006, and announced 100 million active users five years later, in 2011.

You need to have an Instagram account to join Threads. If you decide you don’t want to continue, you can deactivate your profile without any issue, meaning nothing is visible to other people, but deleting it entirely also means you’ll need to delete your associated Instagram account.

Why sign up to Threads if you’re self-employed?

Many large companies have already joined, including Spotify, the New York Times, Ford, Nike, and even rival social network TikTok. And a lot of well-known celebrities, politicians and business people are also active.

Normally, smaller companies and individuals can benefit from signing up early to a new service by securing any usernames to prevent imitation, and growing their following before big names and brands arrive. But as your existing Instagram account is used to create your profile on Threads, it should prevent anyone stealing it before you join, and the integration also means big businesses are already there.

But there’s still a wave of enthusiasm and experimentation that occurs whenever a new social platform launches, so it’s a good time to benefit from that initial boost. And as we’ve seen on existing networks, a wide range of self-employed entrepreneurs and business owners can carve out a significant audience despite the presence of larger companies.

Given that Threads isn’t available in the EU yet, if Meta continues to cross-promote it via the huge audiences available through Instagram and Facebook, it’s likely to continue to grow substantially.

How to sign up to Threads

You need to start by downloading and installing the Threads app from the Google Play or App Store. When it’s ready, you can log in using your Instagram details, and you’ll be given the option to follow anyone already connected to your photo sharing account when they get started on Threads.

A profile can be set as public, or private for sharing only with approved followers. This setting isn’t linked to Instagram, so you can choose to have that account be locked down but your Threads posts still publicly available, for example.

Your current home feed will be a mixture of accounts you follow and algorithm recommendations, and the options to create your own content include text up to 500 characters, images, gifs, or videos of up to 5 minutes in length.

Content rules and moderation are effectively very similar to Instagram and Facebook, and you can choose who can reply to any of your posts. Currently there are no options for direct messages, separating your followers into distinct audiences, or hashtag support, but plans announced for development include a chronological home feed, the ability to edit posts, and easier switching between different accounts, along with a search function.

How to use Threads for your self-employed business?

There’s no single right way to use any social network, especially one that’s so new, and will be developing more features and functionality for the foreseeable future. The best advice on how to use Threads for your self-employed business will be to adapt anything that has proved reasonably successful for you on similar services like Twitter or Mastodon.

As a solo freelancer or small business owner, your time is likely to be limited. So, it’s important not to get overwhelmed or caught up in trying to build your brand and awareness through every available marketing channel. Think about what you’re aiming to achieve by using Threads, and try to set realistic limits on the time and resources you have available to experiment with it. Various companies including Google, 3M, Apple, and the BBC have offered employees a percentage of their time to spend experimenting on side projects, so take a similar approach with your own schedule.

One benefit to Threads at the moment is that the look and feel of the app is relatively basic, meaning you don’t need to necessarily invest as much time and effort in tweaking images and videos. There’s also no need for hashtag research or to deal with unwanted direct messages at the moment.

And it’s certain that most of the popular social media posting and management tools will start integrating Threads into their services fairly soon. Most already include Facebook and Instagram, and Threads has previously shared plans to be compatible with the open social networking protocol ActivityPub, which is also implemented in services including Mastodon, WordPress, and more.

What are the potential problems using Threads?

Aside from the time commitment issue that occurs whenever you add another task to your schedule, the main concerns raised about Threads regard user privacy, and the potential it could be closed by Meta if it’s not successful enough.

Like Facebook and Instagram, the platform requires access to a wide range of user data, potentially including GPS and location data, browsing history, health and fitness details, and financial information, along with access to cameras and photos.

While some of this is needed to allow Threads to function, the main reason is to be for advertising purposes, just as on Facebook and Instagram.
Currently Threads doesn’t have any adverts or methods of monetisation. So, alongside user numbers, Meta will need to roll out some ways of generating income from it to see the platform as successful and sustainable. How these are implemented will determine whether Threads continues to offer a great opportunity for smaller businesses and the self-employed, or becomes more skewed towards larger companies.

If you're looking for new ways to promote your business or tips on using existing channels more effectively, why not look at our advice article on marketing your self-employed business? Or other guides, including how AI can help you scale your freelancing or crafting an elevator pitch for client proposals.

Already on Threads? Follow us @teamIPSE!

Grow your business

Our mission is for all self-employed businesses to thrive. To help our members achieve this, we have a huge resource centre, dedicated events and specialist training, that allow you to build your skills.

Grow your business

Upcoming events

IPSE organises, supports and collaborates on over 100 events every year, from practical webinars, networking events and conferences. IPSE sources experts in their field to support the self-employed, with the events covering a wide range of topics.

Upcoming events

Meet the author

Dan Thornton.jpeg
Dan Thornton

Freelance writer, marketer, SEO