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Why some DTC brands find more success on Threads than X (Twitter)

Graza is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) olive oil company who has amassed only 1,000 followers on Twitter (now known as X) since it joined two years ago in 2021. As a result of its struggles to connect on X, the brand’s Head of Social Media Kendall Dickieson quickly embraced Instagram’s text-based platform Threads, when it debuted earlier this month. In less than four weeks, Graza amassed over 7,000 followers—more than seven times larger than its audience on X. 

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Graze isn’t the only DTC brand to find more success on Threads than X. Other DTC sets from Wendy’s to JetBlue have found more success on Meta’s photo-based Instagram, where they have been able to build more of a visual identity around their brand.

Just a few weeks into the platform’s existence, many DTC brands are far more interested in creating content for their brands on Threads than they ever were in X. Several brands said that Threads not only feels like a more brand-safe option but also allows them to seamlessly engage with their pre-existing Instagram followers in new ways.

“Since our tone of voice is very casual and we don’t take ourselves seriously, I thought it could allow us to highlight it best, gain new followers and also talk to brands that we have wanted a relationship with” Dickieson told AdAge.

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For Graza, Threads has led to some followers becoming “first-time buyers […] People were like, ‘Why is an olive oil brand taking over my timeline,’ which resulted in sales, but also new followers across platforms.”

On Threads, DTC brands—which have historically relied on Instagram for much of their marketing strategy—have the chance to “be exposed more to new followers or engage with folks who have followed but may not see your actual content on Instagram,” Dickieson said.

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When a user signs up for Threads, they have the option to follow every account they follow on Instagram. This means that for brands with a larger Instagram presence than X following, they can amass more Threads followers than X followers simply by signing up.

It’s no secret that DTC brands have historically been reliant on the Meta ecosystem for marketing and sales. Even as many brands boycotted Facebook in 2020 over its hate speech policies, some DTC brands found themselves unable to do so because they relied on the platform so heavily. 

Furthermore, The Center for Countering Digital Hate has issued multiple reports about hate speech on X in the months since Musk’s takeover, including comments targeted at the LGBTQ+ community. 

For this reason, some DTC brands see Instagram as the more brand-safe option. 

Even before Musk took over, social media users had more trust in Instagram than X, according to Insider Intelligence’s “U.S. Digital Trust Benchmark” surveys in 2021 and 2022. In the 2022 survey, respondents ranked Instagram as the fifth most trusted social media platform, whereas X came in at number eight out of nine brands. (Pinterest ranked first in 2022 while Facebook finished last both years.)

Many of the DTC brands that have seen success on Threads thus far say they’ve been using it as its name intended: to create conversation “threads” with consumers.Of course, those conversations could theoretically happen on Twitter. But because of Threads’s Instagram follower integration, many Threads users likely already follow the brands they follow on Threads on Instagram, making them familiar with the visual branding that has historically helped DTC brands stand out from their retail predecessors.

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