The first days of Threads, Meta’s new text-based social media platform designed to rival Twitter, were described as “unhinged,” “chaotic,” and “off the rails,” by some users. Specifically, those who own small businesses, namely independently-owned consumer brands. 

The quick and effortless sign-up process through an Instagram account, also owned by Meta, is a low barrier for entry, allowing the number of Threads users soar to 100 million in the first week after its July 6 launch, according to CNBCQuiver Quantitative estimates there are now 115 million Threads users. 

Social media savvy consumer brands had Threads accounts within a day or two of Threads launching—most having Instagram accounts—and their followers grew instantaneously, some into the thousands. Fast and frequent engagement on Threads ensued; the giddiness, perhaps augmented by a major dopamine rush across the platform, was palpable. 

But the adrenaline-fueled wackiness of Threads’ first days seems to have waned for these independently-owned brands, part of a larger trend. According to Gizmoto, user time spent on Threads has “cratered.” By July 11 and 12, within a week of launching, the average user time was down to 9 minutes, a 50% drop from the 20 minute user time several days prior. Similarweb reports that average user time is down to 6 minutes by July 17. 

“Wake up and smell the medjools,” posted Joolies, a Medjool date company, one of many early posts referring to the lack of sleep many users described, half in jest, due to the excitement of Threads. The truffle oil condiment company Truff, which now has 23.4K Threads followers, posted “rise and thread,” and later, brand-centric absurdities like, “be the sauce you want to have in your life.” 

Brands unabashedly, thus hilariously, attempted to engage fellow Thread users with brand-relevant questions, promotions and ridiculous, verging on nonsensical, posts. Ithaca Hummus asked its followers to “Thread” their favorite flavor and a song “matching its vibe.” Ithaca Hummus suggested lemon beet with “Starships” by Nicki Minaj, which only got two responses. Several days prior, they posted Taylor Swift’s just released Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) album cover with a tub of their lemon garlic hummus superimposed on Swift’s face with the caption, “me this morning.”

Brooklyn-based Graza, which sells single source Spanish olive oil in green squeeze bottles, went exuberantly freestyle. Posts for the grazoids (their audience) read, “Sleep is for the non-squeezers,” “WE SQUEEZE AT DAWN,” and the non sequitur, “Cooking lube.” Graza now has 7K+ followers on Threads. 

So far, Threads is a “safe space” for small brands to let their freak flag fly, so to speak, all while still marketing to their audience. Small independent brands don’t have the editorial constraints that corporate brands do, but they are after all, still companies, many with investors, but the nuttiness continued. 

The environmentally-friendly toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap best summed up Threads (while deftly weaving in relevance to their brand) in a post, “This place has the warm, welcoming and slightly unhinged vibes of making a group of new besties in the nightclub toilet line.” They now have 22.8K Threads followers.

“The platform still has the space to have, we call it, an alter ego,” says Sajani Amarasiri, the founder of Kola Goodies, which makes Sri Lankan—her homeland—milk tea lattes. Ingredients are sourced directly from Sri Lankan farmers. “It feels like the platform still has the space to have—we called it an alter ego,” says Amarasiri. Threads easy to post format allows her team to post any “spicy takes” they want, “without causing too much of a… raucous,” she adds, laughing. 

Consumer brands could return to the more visual Instagram and Tiktok, which have been the popular platforms for brands, as they showcase eye-grabbing package design, for example, or beautifully photographed products. Which might leave Threads to evolve into a less toxic Twitter, featuring political and breaking news posts by journalists and pundits, rather than brands posting about their products.

While Kola Goodies has nearly 1K followers and Amarasiri says she’s having fun experimenting on Threads, she does concede Instagram and Tiktok do work better for her brand, not everyone knows what milk tea lattes are and how they’re prepared. It’s easier to explain with visuals. However, Amarasiri reports of Kola Goods having better visibility on Threads, she says she’s received messages like, “The best part about Threads was finding you,” by people who previously hadn’t found her company’s posts on Instagram.

Other brands have also reported greater visibility on Threads. Perhaps due to a far more generous algorithm than Instagram, which, of course, can be changed and tweaked at any time—especially after Threads users are hooked and want to relive the initial dopamine engagement rush.   

Wait and See

Most consumer brands are having a wait and see approach to Threads. The family-owned and operated Z&Z’s first post on Threads was, “Are we the first humans to say za’atar on this app?” referring to the thyme-y herb mix they sell, sourced from Jenin, Palestine, where they have family roots.  

“We are excited just like everybody else,” says Robbie Dubbaneh, one of Z&Z’s co-founders, which also makes manoushe and other baked Levantine goods, “but we want to kind of make sure that it’s not wasting people’s time. We’ve seen a lot on Threads that are just kind of pointless messages.”

Dubbaneh says they’re willing to give Threads a try, as long as their posts can add purpose and value for viewers, while being entertaining and educational. “If we can do that, we plan to stay on Threads,” says Dubbaneh. Z&Z’s Instagram posts in the past are often amusing and feature some of the elderly family members and cross-cultural antics. Social media is not a big driver of purchases for Z&Z, Dubbaneh concedes, based in greater Washington DC, but when they reach out to retail buyers, it’s important for them to see Z&Z has an engaged social media presence. 

Alli Ball, based in San Francisco, advises emerging packaged food and beverage startups. Questions about Threads were popping up among her clients within the first 48 hours of Threads launching. The general consensus among her clients has been to give Threads a try, but if it doesn’t increase sales, it’s not worth it.  

“Which is the right thing,” Ball declares. “As a small business, you have limited resources, limited time, money and energy,” she says, “and if your actions don’t positively impact the bottom line, you’ve got to cut it.” 

“The number one question that I’ve received is, ‘Do I have to have a different personality on there?’ And my answer has been, ‘You still need to be you. You still need to be your authentic self,’” recalls Ball, even though brands’ tone might differ on the various platforms for different audiences, Linkedin versus Tiktok for example. But to develop an entirely new character, would exhausting, she says. “I’m not going wake up each morning and brainstorm, ‘What’s my snarky comment of the day for Threads?’ No, thank you,” she adds.  

While Threads is touting itself as a text-based platform, a Twitter alternative, Ball says it feels like an extension of Instagram. She recalls reading a “pro tips” type article about posting on Threads, one of the tips to get noticed was to add a photo to your post. “I’m laughing over it because essentially, how you stand out on threads? You create an Instagram,” says Ball, slightly bemused. Threads posts also allows video, gifs and other media as attachments.

Ball is surprised by small brands claiming they can finally be themselves on Threads. “I just question, why couldn’t you do that on Instagram? Why couldn’t you do that on Facebook? Why can’t you do that in your newsletter? Why can’t you show up as yourself on any platform?”

Junea Rocha, the co-founder of Brazi Bites, which makes Brazilian pão de queijo, cheese bread, sold frozen in 17,000 supermarkets, parsed down how her company views the social media platforms: “Instagram is leading with photography, Tiktok is leading with entertainment, video content, this [Threads] is leading with conversation and storytelling.”

Brazi Bites, based in Portland, Oregon, has 3K followers, Rocha and her team jumped on Threads within minutes of the launch announcement. She notes that although small businesses might not have the resources that corporations have, they can move fast, be early adopters and learn new technology and platforms. 

Rocha considers Threads “another tool in the toolbox” thus far. “We’re a little bit in testing mode,” says Rocha, adding that they are experimenting with redirecting some traffic back to Instagram, for a recipe, for example, to see how that works. 

The Future of Threads and Independent Brands

Threads will inevitably evolve as a platform and Ball points out that for small independently-owned brands, it all goes back to their audience’s preferred social media platform. “It’ll be really interesting whether or not Threads catches on and sticks around,” says Ball, “to see if it’s the right platform for food and beverage brands. Or if Instagram and Tiktok really stay on the forefront.”

This story and others on New Builders Dispatch are made possible by a sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that provides access to opportunities that help people achieve financial stability, upward mobility, and economic prosperity – regardless of race, gender, or geography. The Kansas City, Mo.-based foundation uses its grantmaking, research, programs, and initiatives to support the start and growth of new businesses, a more prepared workforce, and stronger communities. For more information, visit and connect with and

One reply on “Brands Gone Berserk: Early Days of Threads Was a Small Brand Bonanza, But Traffic Faded ”

  1. Awesome article. Let’s see about Threads. It’s at least a friendly community to tell a story. Musk has created a toxic place so brands need to build community elsewhere. I think TilTok has the strongest potential.

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