Verified social media profiles and the impact on brands

The GistVerification please. Meta introduces verified social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram. user interest. Social media is at a crossroads to keep users interested. Inventory. Marketers remain interested, if wary, of what type of social media environment will emerge.

Social media has reached a critical crossroads this year. Major platforms continue to demonstrate their vitality through consistent daily user engagement; However, the robust audience growth in their early years has started to wane. This shift can be attributed to the increasing variety of options available for building and connecting virtual communities. Enter verified social media profiles.

Some social media platforms have started offering verified accounts — subscription versions of their free profiles — that include premium features. These account options don’t solve every audience problem platforms have, so marketers should approach these offers with caution. But verified accounts can be valuable long-term assets for brands that have already invested heavily in social media.

Meta leads the charge on verified social media profiles

The biggest news on social media profiles comes from Meta. In February, Meta announced a verified profile program for the US, like the trial it operates in Australia and New Zealand. Users pay $14.99 for increased visibility and reach, a badge showing verification, and a monitoring service to prevent identity theft.

Meta joins Twitter and Snapchat in offering verified profiles. Twitter Blue is a similar program that offers longer tweets, the ability to upload longer videos, and prioritized tweets in its reach algorithm. Snapchat works on metrics. When an account’s stories reach 50,000 views, the profile becomes eligible for verification status.

More verified profiles are on the way. TikTok is reportedly working on a subscription version that will allow users to watch 20-minute videos, significantly longer than the free platform.

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Increased reach of verified social media profiles

The extended reach is the most intriguing aspect of verified profiles. Free profile access has kept social media users happy with their social media choices for the past 15 years, drawn by the ability to share any posted conversation beyond one’s profile audience. Achieving the greatest reach in post, whether organic or paid, has always been the goal of campaigns.

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However, the myopic pursuit of reach has both positive and negative effects on the way people communicate.

While social media has provided innovative platforms for self-expression and a voice for those who may have been overlooked, it has also empowered scammers and attention-grabbing trolls and critics who raise mental health concerns. This mixed result has affected some users.

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Challenges with verified profile adoption

Verified profile accounts are arriving just as user metrics are showing some public fatigue. According to the Pew Research Center’s 2021 Social Media Fact Sheet, the number of US users has leveled off since 2019.

Instagram and Facebook are still the largest communities among social media platforms. However, along with Twitter and Snapchat, they have shown the highest percentage of users interacting less frequently on their preferred platforms.

Leveling of usage: Impact on customer experience

If you think these numbers simply reflect sentiment during COVID – online fatigue due to restricted activities during the pandemic – consider the 2023 Rival IQ Benchmark Study. The study identified 150 brands where average engagement rates were flattening or declining across major social media platforms.

TikTok was the only exception with significantly higher engagement. This trend can threaten the launch of new features like verified profiles and impact brands that rely on social media as an integral part of their customer experience strategy.

Innovative features Advantage?

In addition, social media platforms are faced with ever shorter periods of time in which they can secure a head start through innovative features. Many recent updates offer refinements to the user experience, but each new feature introduced by one platform is quickly replicated by another.

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Both Reddit and Spotify have developed features similar to TikTok alongside YouTube Shorts, which also mirror TikTok’s short video platform.

Significant challenges for social media

The combination of slowing audience growth and a shorter window for platform innovation creates significant challenges for social media. The decline in user interest is hampering platforms’ efforts to develop advanced strategies or crucial business models, such as B. the entry of meta into the metaverse or the development to the next “super app”. A multi-faceted app like this could attract more user time and serve as a gateway for cryptocurrency transactions.

Questions for brand marketers

Verified profiles pose questions for brand marketers, especially those whose brands have invested heavily in social media to support customer experience strategies.

The concept of verified services that offer dedicated support and features is attractive from both a financial and logistical point of view.

Verified profiles add an extra sense of credibility to brands and even more influencers associated with popular brands. People trust influencers a lot for recommendations and suggestions.

Verified profiles signal that an influencer or brand’s profile is safe and uncompromised by spam attempts, increasing customer confidence in the messages in posts and videos.

However, critics argue that many features offered by verified accounts should have been provided when accounts were free. A significant portion of the criticism leveled against social media platforms by brands relates to their handling of account trolling and transparency in ad metrics.

Additionally, while the monthly subscription may be minimal, it may not convince brands and influencers to up their investments. If brands question value, why should they pay?

Two experts decide

I reached out to two marketers to get their opinions on the potential success of verified accounts.

No fees please

DIYMarketers CEO Ivana Taylor pointed out that verification shouldn’t require a subscription fee. “What are people really paying for? Do people pay for verification or do they pay for a subscription? Verification and subscriptions are two different things. Subscriptions should provide some benefit to the customer, e.g. B. More control over the ads you see. I think brands that do customer service through social media profiles can benefit from preventing them from being spoofed on social media, so a review there would be useful. But people take a lot of time, which means they spend parts of the time on one platform, but it adds up. Brands should look at their engagement before really committing to a verification account. I’m just not sure if combining a verification subscription is a good idea.”

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Will there be anything special about getting verified?

Sara McCord, Founder and CEO of Sara McCord Communications offered her opinion. “I think to understand the pros and cons of verification going forward, we need to look at the pros and cons so far. Certainly, verification is meant to protect users. In an idealized world, it’s meant to protect celebrities and public figures from scammers who create fake profiles for all sorts of unsavory reasons (and the audience that engages with or is scammed by them)… Some non-celebrity verified users believe that this future pay-to-play will make their status less meaningful or valuable. Will it be so special to get verified when “anyone can”? Yes, because it shows it’s the real you, but no, if you want to be on an exclusive list. The reasoning gets even more nuanced when we consider that these additional salary reviews can bring additional benefits, and if they increase reach and community, most people will eventually join social media.”

Final Thoughts on Verified Social Media Profiles

The reality of the commercial benefits of verified profiles remains to be seen. It’s evident that the use of social media is undergoing a significant and unprecedented shift that can impact the brands that rely on it.

However, given the investments made by social media platforms, verified profiles will likely stick around long enough for brands to see how they are improving their customer experience strategies.