Nonprofit Tech for Good launched in 2005 as a Myspace page and in the 18 years since we’ve been through multiple early adoption phases of new social media — first Facebook and Twitter and then on to LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The early days and weeks, and sometimes even months, are when your nonprofit is most likely to experience the fastest organic growth rate of new followers.
That said, the early adoption phase of Threads is unlike any other we’ve experienced due to the integration with Instagram that allows you to mass follow those your nonprofit already follows on Instagram with one tap. In response, many of your Instagram followers will follow you in return on Threads. The results are growth never seen before. Some quick Google searches reveal the number of days the tech giants took to reach 10 million users:
- 10 million Threads users: 7 hours
- 10 million ChatGPT users: 40 days
- 10 million Instagram users: 355 day
- 10 million Twitter users: 780 days
- 10 million Facebook users: 852 days
- 10 million LinkedIn users: 1,710 days (approximately)
- [7/21/23 Update]: Threads has reached 100 million active users
Gratefully, the integration with Instagram spares all of us the whole “Follow us on Threads!” routine that we’ve had to enlist when growing a new community on a new social media platform. In all honestly, Nonprofit Tech for Good would not even bother with Threads without the Instagram integration. Unless you are a well-known brand or influencer, starting a community at zero is too exhausting and too time-consuming.
Over the years, we’ve recommended nonprofits embrace early adoption as a strategy and now two decades into the Social Web, we have some tried-and-true best practices that can be applied to Threads as well as a few red flags. Here are five tips for those nonprofits ready to embrace the early adoption phase of Threads:
1) Read the fine print about the Instagram and Threads integration.
Odds are that your nonprofit has no plans to delete your Instagram any time soon, so use this important piece of information to decide whether your nonprofit wants to use Threads. For Nonprofit Tech for Good, it’s not a dealbreaker, but the backlash has been swift and the CEO of Instagram has announced that they are “looking into a way to delete your Threads account separately.”
2) Know the basics about creating and posting a thread.
- Threads can be up to 500 characters.
- You can upload up to 10 photos to a Thread.
- You can upload a video up to 5 minutes long.
- Hashtags don’t work on Threads, so if your nonprofit imported your bio from Instagram and it includes hashtags – delete them from your Threads bio.
- There are no direct messages, pin to top, bookmarks, polls, or ads on Threads (yet).
- You can re-post, love, and comment on Threads including your own.
- You can also “Share” your Threads as an Instagram post and/or an Instagram story. It should come as no surprise that doing so seems to result in higher organic reach than regular posts and stories (for now).
- If your nonprofit is verified on Instagram, then you are also verified on Threads.
- The maximum “Follow” count is unknown.
- Instagram Fundraising Tools are not available on Threads.
- Threads is available in over 100 countries, it’s not available in European Union countries due to local regulations.
- As we learn more about the functionality of Threads, we’ll add more. Please check back for updates.
3) Upload your profile pic, add a bio and website, and post a first thread immediately.
This is especially true if your nonprofit has opted to mass follow your Instagram followers on Threads. When they join Threads and see your invite and profile for the first time, make a strong first impression. It is much less likely they will follow you in return if your profile pic and bio are empty and there are no threads displayed. At the very least, introduce your nonprofit in your first thread and come back when you have more time. For example, the first thread by Center on Budget & Policy Priorities:
4) Know that your Instagram username becomes your Threads username.
First and foremost, know that your Instagram username is reserved for your Threads account. Unlike other social media where you sign up immediately to protect your username, this isn’t necessary for Threads, according to TechRadar.
Also important to know is that your Threads username becomes the basis for your Threads web page on desktop. For example, threads.net + your username. In the case of Nonprofit Tech for Good, we can be found at threads.net/@nonprofitorgs:
Web pages have no functionality (yet), but they could be useful in the future and at the very least a way to let others know how to find your nonprofit on Threads. Surprisingly, a Threads icon for your website doesn’t exist yet online for download, but give it a few days.
5) Resist the urge to do traditional social media marketing and fundraising on Threads (for now).
Traditional marketing and fundraising threads are not getting much traction. Asking your new followers to make a donation or sign up for your email newsletter — hold off for a while. The people using Threads are early adopters and they have seen it many times before. Threaders are looking for something different and now is a good time to stretch your social media manager skills and try a new tone or content. It may come as a surprise to you, but Nonprofit Tech for Good has never used first-person on any social media platform — until Threads. We’re experimenting and getting out of our comfort zone a bit.
Our Certificate in Social Media Marketing & Fundraising program covers the fundamentals of social media marketing and fundraising for your nonprofit. Participants will learn how to create and maintain a content strategy, current best practices for the top-performing social media sites, and how to be an early adopter of emerging social media trends.
The program requires the completion of four webinars and costs a total of $100 USD. You can attend the webinars live or view the recordings. Learn more & register!