How MULO (Multi-Location) Brands are Using Threads

How MULO (Multi-Location) Brands are Using Threads

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The newest social media app, Threads from Meta, has already close to 100 million users after its launch on July 5th. (As of this publishing, the number may even be higher, reflecting the viral spread of the app.)

Despite skepticism about its functionality and staying power, big brands have already “threaded up” and are claiming their brand names on the platform. Like its rival Twitter, it’s telegraphic, visual, and sometimes fun and quirky.

Twitter has recently been criticized for “hate speech,” among other things. It has lost users and advertising sales (down a whopping 59 percent).

Although it doesn’t (yet) have an advertising function or simple search, Threads is Meta’s line in the sand to dominate the social media world and give users an alternative to its rival.

Multi-location (MULO) food and fashion brands are claiming their handles on the platform, and some are actively starting to use it. After all, mass marketers love to go where the market is. Whether or not Threads is here to stay, the “curiosity factor” has potential customers checking out the site in large numbers.

Among the MULO brands that are already using Threads are:

  • Wendy’s: Already up to 200K+ followers, they are posting regularly with fun food-themed graphics.
  • Target: This brand has proven once again that people love puppies. Its photo of the Target dog (with its recognizable eye graphic) is captioned “Getting ready to thread” and has generated more than 2K likes and 230 replies among its 265K followers.
  • Sephora: “If you don’t love us at our Threads, you don’t deserve us at our Instagram,” the brand quipped to its 700K+ followers.
  • Nike: The brand wants to engage its fans in dialogue, inviting its 1.6M followers to drop their favorite sneakers in the comments. (They got  close to 2K replies)
  • Coach: With 200K followers, the brand uses the platform to showcase products and engage consumers in conversations.
  • Abercrombie: Offering discounts and random posts directed at 112K consumers, this brand seems to be looking for its footing on the platform.
  • Calvin Klein: As of this writing, they have only put up one post, but they’ve attracted close to 700K followers, and that one post got more than 4K likes. (It’s black-and-white and features a sexy woman, so that’s no big surprise!)
  • Chipotle: With only 80K followers, this iconic food chain seems to be taking a “wait and see” attitude, not putting a lot of creativity into its posts (so far).
  • Dunkin: When you view the brand’s page, you see “America Threads on Dunkin'”, indicating that their agency or social media manager has a sense of humor. About 120K followers are engaging with the brand.
  • Arbys: One of its threads just reads “meats.” At least it’s consistent with the brand campaign. Only 26K followers have engaged so far.
  • Ulta Beauty: Garnering 231K followers, the brand’s threads include a graphic of lipstick emojis, consumer questions, and product features.
  • Crumbl Cookies: The brand’s 219K followers are being “fed” threads multiple times daily, including an excitement-build for its new flavor.

We expect the list to grow. Brands would be smart to secure their handles now and choose to plunge in full-stop or adopt a “wait and see” approach. Those who do the former will at least get some buzz in trade media.

Some MULO brands’ locations are claiming their own handles. Although this may create more engagement and loyalty at a local level, consumers (and media) wanting to see national brand news will have to sift through them all to find the “official” handle.

Product brands (especially fashion and food) seem to have jumped on the bandwagon first. MULO restaurants, retail, and service businesses are gradually catching up.

In the first few days, the content from MULO brands on Threads is eclectic and sometimes even bizarre. The vast span in followers noted above illustrates that some companies are putting more time and energy into it than others.

As with any new social media platform, brands probably ask themselves, “How can I use this to generate fans, awareness, and revenue?” Brands rely on their current social media talent and agencies to help guide them through its application and utility.

Iconic food/beverage brands like Burger King, McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway have claimed handles, but their content is slim. Perhaps they are awaiting guidance from creative agencies.

Still in its infancy, the functionality of Threads is somewhat limited. This great chart lays out the differences between Twitter and Threads.

As we’ve seen with other social media platforms over the years, Threads will either become part of the ecosystem of marketing media. Or, it will be just the week’s topic and then be replaced by some new tech-centric communication trend.

Walmart’s page probably sums it up best. It says (to its 90K followers):

“We’re ALL new here. Let’s enjoy some rotisserie chicken, cheese balls, and figure this out together.”

(If you’re not on Threads yet, be sure to claim your handle — even if only to follow Street Fight!)

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.