Instagram continues to be one of the most popular platforms for individuals and businesses to connect, share, and build relationships. Amongst its array of features, one often overlooked gem is Instagram Threads.

Launched in the summer of 2023, this feature offers a text-based alternative to Instagram that can be a great networking tool and allows users to share content in a new way. Let's delve into the world of Instagram Threads and explore how professionals can leverage this tool as another networking avenue.

Threads was created to compete with X, formerly known as Twitter. As with Instagram, Threads users can elect to have a public or private profile. Like X, users can create a series of connected posts, called Threads, forming a thread on a specific topic.

However, its key difference from X is that each thread allows for a more narrative style of content. Threads are great for storytelling (much better than telling long stories in the captions of an IG post) and for conveying complex ideas. When used strategically, Threads can elevate your Instagram presence and contribute significantly to your professional networking goals.

Threads are great for crafting long-form content. You can take your followers on a journey, sharing the evolution of a project, the story behind a business milestone, or even a day in their life. By combining visuals and captions in a thread, a more immersive and engaging story unfolds, capturing the audience's attention and fostering a deeper connection. Each Thread can be up to 500 characters long, which is almost two times longer than X’s 280-character limit. Another great Threads feature is that many of your followers are already built in from Instagram, so you won’t have to start from scratch.

A professional looking to establish themselves as an industry leader can also use Threads to showcase their expertise. Try creating a thread that highlights your key achievements, skills, and lessons learned throughout various projects. Show people what mistakes you learned along the way, too. This helps build your credibility while providing your followers with a comprehensive view of your professional journey, reinforcing your position as an authority in your field. The best part about a thread is that what used to be limited to a Medium blog or series of posts and comments can now be shared as a wealth of information in a single source or thread.

Threads are also a fun avenue for discussions around current trends and innovations. You can use Threads to share your insights and opinions, weighing in on what’s going on in your industry. You can also position yourself as a future-forward leader and make predictions about what’s to come next. Encourage your audience to participate in the conversation, too, so you can attract like-minded professionals and foster an authentic dialogue that will hopefully lead to a community of individuals passionate about your topic and looking to connect with others who care.

Use Threads as a Digital Networking Companion

Networking is of course a crucial aspect of professional growth, and as any successful business leader would know, that usually means going to a lot of conferences. Threads can serve as a powerful tool right alongside your LinkedIn to document those events. Post about your participation in conferences, workshops, or other events; network to find other attendees. You can create a thread about it that talks about your key takeaways and the connections you've made, all in one place. It’s as if the LinkedIn feed post, Medium article, and X hashtags all blended together.

Collaboration is the heartbeat of successful entrepreneurship (and in business success in general). Another great feature of Threads is that it can serve as a collaborative canvas for creators. You can build joint threads with others in your network where you can showcase collaborative projects, discussions on shared interests, or co-presentations. This not only diversifies your content but also expands your reach within your professional network.

It’s a lot easier to interact with other users on Threads than on Instagram and it's not uncommon for people to share posts seeking connections with like-minded peers. You can post about what kinds of people you want to connect with (bonus points for throwing in some appropriate emojis) and the algorithm will work its magic to pair you with others in your field. They can simply like or comment on your post if they're interested. You will also likely be connected to similar folks based on the accounts and hashtags you both follow on Instagram.

Another great way to position yourself as a thought leader is by sharing educational content. You can break down complex topics into a series of posts, offering valuable insights and information to your audience. This both showcases your expertise and positions you as a valuable resource within your professional community. You can also add photos to the threads — which is a lot easier to put together than splicing up a video on TikTok.

Engage in a Dialogue

There are several ways you could do this, but since it is a social media platform and designed for more socializing, some creators have taken to writing Q&A or Ask Me Anything style Threads, also known as AMAs. These engage your audience on a personal level so they can ask you any questions they’d like, and feeds the parasocial desire to feel like they have more of a connection to you. The Q&A is similar to the feature on IG Stories, but Threads offers you the space to write back larger, more detailed responses. You can invite your followers to ask questions related to the work you do and respond with thoughtful and informative posts. This interactive format can strengthen your connection with your audience and allow you to address their specific interests and concerns.

Another interactive way to use Threads is to create engaging challenges tailored to your industry. Whether it's a skill-sharing challenge, a photo contest, or a more niche activity (like best travel photos if you’re a travel blogger), encouraging participation fosters a sense of community within your network. It also positions you as a facilitator of engaging and thought-provoking content and allows you to capture emails and phone numbers for your marketing funnel.

Our team of marketing experts and in-house influencers have experimented with a lot of ways to use threads and have come up with the following suggestions for fuelling your creativity on the platform:

1.  Behind-the-Scenes Threads:

If you’re a content creator by trade, show video footage that includes your process of cropping and filming. If you sell a product online, showcase the day-to-day operations of how you and your team make that product. You can also introduce your team members, and give viewers an authentic glimpse into your professional life. If your business is your passion, you can also show audiences your personal life, too, to illustrate how meaningful it is to your life as a whole.

Regardless of what you sell or what service you provide, you, too are a brand and people want to feel like they have a peak behind the curtains.

2.  Success Story Threads:

You can craft threads that tell the story about big moments for your business, like key projects that were a big success, or milestone moments like raising a round of funding or getting a promotion on the job. But don’t just share a highlight reel. Tell your audience about the challenges you faced along the way and what you did to overcome them. Success stories like these will inspire your audience while establishing your credibility, sense of resilience and authenticity in your professional world. Plus, people always love a good happy ending.

3.   Interactive Poll Threads:

You can pose industry-related questions, seek opinions on current trends or important news, poll people to get their opinions or ask them for their feedback. This two-way conversation serves the purpose of scrappy qualitative research so you can better understand who you’re targeting and what they care about if you are a business owner. And even if you’re not, it positions you (the individual) as an industry expert.

4.  Virtual Networking Threads:

Rather than wait for the next networking event in your city, why not create your own online? In the digital age, physical distance is no barrier to networking. You can host virtual networking threads where followers can introduce themselves, share their professional backgrounds, and connect. This fosters a sense of community within your audience and expands your network organically. It’s a lot easier for people to connect in this organic fashion through this environment than it is on Instagram, which is largely picture-focused, or X, which doesn’t allow for as long of a dialogue.

5.  Bring Experts into the Fold:

Know someone else who would love to chat biz with you? Why not invite them on a thread with you (or create a joint thread)? It can be an interview-style format so you can focus on their expertise. There’s a way to feature their insights, experiences, and advice within a series of posts. This will both enrich your content and introduce your audience to valuable perspectives from other people, too, further positioning you as a valuable connector within your professional network. 

These are just a few of the ways you can leverage Instagram Threads as another platform for building your brand and networking with people across your industry. By strategically utilizing Threads to tell stories, showcase expertise, engage with trends, and foster collaboration, you can enhance your Instagram presence and build an engaged, robust engaged professional network that could even lead to potential business or job opportunities. As you embark on this creative journey, remember that authenticity, consistency, and active engagement are absolutely crucial elements that make up successful networking through Instagram Threads.

Written by Olivia O.

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