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Grand Potential Podcast

08Nov

Would you pay to use social media? It’s an interesting question being tossed about this week.

Prompted by news that Twitter, now under 100% ownership by Elon Musk, has plans to charge $8/month for the coveted blue check mark, noting an account is “verified.”

The proposed price for verification shifted from $20 initially, to $8 as of this writing, in a wild series of tweets between Musk and followers over the course of several days, in what can only be described as a bizarre, but incredibly interesting live focus group and discussion.

The Twitter gamble
It seems Twitter has landed on the idea of charging $8/month. For that, users who can be verified, and thereby eliminating fake accounts and bots so goes the argument, would then get what is currently offered with Twitter Blue at $5/month plus additional features.

Twitter Blue currently includes the ability to edit/undo tweets, shows an app icon as a premium user and offers ad free articles.

The Twitter paid verified for $8/month would include those features plus priority in replies, mentions and search, the ability to post long video and audio, and half as many ads.

Personally, I think they should also include some sort of gated content (verified as credible journalism) and they might actually move the needle on this idea.

While a dust up over potentially being charged for something they already have has incensed current verified users, there is no disputing the numbers: based on 240 million users, if just 5-6% were willing to pay $8/month, that’s a $1.5 billion business opportunity.

It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $44 billion Musk paid to acquire the company, but it’s an interesting revenue stream at scale and over time.

Would you pay to use other platforms?
Both Facebook and LinkedIn have verification programs, but neither charges for it. Could that change? It will be interesting to watch this all unfold, but it could signal the beginning of a shift in the business model – especially if the bet pays off for Musk.

So rather than asking “would you pay for social media?”, perhaps the better question to ask is, “what social media would you be willing to pay for?”

Measuring priorities
That question frames up priorities. And those priorities are likely to be largely guided by two things:

  • What platforms benefit my business financially? (because now it’s a $ question)
  • What platforms am I willing to pay for because they bring joy? (measured by connection, entertainment for example)

For me it would likely come down to LinkedIn and YouTube for business, with a side serving of Facebook partially for business as well as connection to family and friends.

I would still use Twitter, but would be satisfied with non-verified status. And depending on what Pinterest charged, I might justify it as a business expense for my CarryOnQueen.com brand, since the platform does drive evergreen traffic, and quality engagement.

The assumption is also that there would some form of user priority in exchange for paid subscription, which would favor organic reach.

Know your objectives and analytics
All of these decisions are based on a clear understanding for the objectives of each platform for both of my businesses, and a clear understanding of measurement – available through platform analytics and Google analytics on my websites.

Yes I play on all the other social media platforms for both personal and business reasons, as well as my www.fiveminutemarketing.com and www.carryonqueen.com brands, but it’s mostly to understand them and keep up date to help inform others from a marketing perspective.

When you make your living as a marketing consultant, speaker and writer, it’s important to be an information sponge in order to distill it into strategy.

Joy and revenue
The question of what we would be willing to pay for forces us to quantify “joy and revenue.”

I don’t think there will be a mass move to start charging for social media.

But I’ve long said a subscription model would help fix the need to constantly jack revenue, and feed quarterly results to shareholders, which are ad sales driven with algorithms geared to keep eyeballs in the feed because of it.

For better or worse, (and I mean that as first a marketer, and then a user) THAT is what is the real rot in social media.

My question to you…
Do you think a paid social media subscription model would work?

What platforms, if any, would you be willing to pay for?

MEET OUR CONTRIBUTING MEMBER MARY:

Mary Charleson, is a marketing speaker, educator and strategist. She is the author of www.fiveminutemarketing.com blog and weekly newsletter, featuring marketing tips, served up like a personable chat with a caring friend over coffee. She has authored two books: Word of Mouth Mouse & Mobile and Five-Minute Marketing. Mary is a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), a designation through NSA (National Speakers Association) held be fewer than 12% of speakers globally. She is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and the Global Speakers Federation. Subscribe to Mary’s Weekly Five-Minute Marketing Tips.

 

 

 

Meet Mary at the Grand Connection Speaker Event on Nov 17, 2022 for her talk – Key Marketing Trends and Their Impact on YOUR Business for 2023