Should Entrepreneurs Pay For Twitter Blue? The Pros And Cons Of Subscribing.

Who would have thought that a software company charging its users could be such a controversial topic. But there’s a lot to the Twitter debate, and everyone is weighing in with their opinion. In October 2022 Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion. Just after, he declared the platform’s legacy approach to verification a “lords and peasants system” that was, “bull***t.” Now, he’s taken a stand and changed the playing field with new program Twitter Blue costing $8 a month and including the once coveted blue tick. But who is playing ball and who is refusing to take their seat?

Dillon Kivo is CEO of Authority Titans, founder of Kivo Daily and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Authority Playbook. He works with influential entrepreneurs and aspiring personal brands to create them an online presence that secures their reputation and creates opportunities. Having successfully secured Twitter, Facebook and Instagram verification for his clients, Kivo has mixed feelings about what entrepreneurs should do about Twitter’s new system.

I interviewed Kivo about why entrepreneurs should or shouldn’t pay to become verified on Twitter.

Here’s why entrepreneurs should pay for Twitter:

Access more features

“There’s no doubt that paying for Twitter Blue brings access to more features,” said Kivo. “It’s a compelling proposition.” Subscribers of the programme not only get a verified blue checkmark once reserved for notable individuals, but they can post longer tweets and longer videos. They have the chance to undo a tweet just before it’s actually sent and they can edit some tweets within the first 30 minutes. There’s a new Top Articles section and two-factor authentication security options, as well as increased visibility.

“If you’re an existing Twitter user, these additions will enhance your experience for sure,” said Kivo. Twitter users have been begging for the ability to edit tweets since the platform’s inception in 2006. Now you can edit to your heart’s content, but it’ll cost you. With the new Twitter Blue revenue firmly in place, users might hope that these features keep expanding. Musk himself said he enjoys hearing what users want, recently tweeting that negative feedback is “great for reducing [Twitter’s] ego-based errors.”

Achieve better engagement

In his tweet on 25th April 2023, Musk confirmed a suspicion many held, that verified accounts are now prioritised. Exactly what this means is shrouded in mystery, but you can be pretty sure that your tweets will show more prominently in the timelines of your followers and perhaps that your replies are somehow set apart too. Maybe more weight is given to your retweeted and engaging content, maybe you get suggested when users search for who to follow.

“Paying $8 a month to be seen by more people in your target audience makes sense for most entrepreneurs,” said Kivo. “Especially if you’re already active on Twitter, it’s like buying a cheat code that gives you rocketfuel instead of petrol.” So why wouldn’t you do that? Businesses pay for premium listings on directory sites all the time. Twitter Blue is transparent; you’re not trying to fool anyone that you don’t pay. Thanks to years of visibility, blue ticks on Twitter give a first impression of legitimacy, so capitalise on the brand to benefit your business and see it as a simple advertising cost.

Subscriptions are common

Although the media would have you believe there’s more to this than meets the eye, on the surface, Twitter’s verification program is simply a software company with 450 million monthly users, looking to grow by adding a subscription service. How else does a software business monetize? “Facebook makes money by running ads; selling user data to advertisers. But how many people would prefer to pay and see no ads?” asked Kivo. Twitter is testing that theory and ascertaining the appetite.

“It’s totally normal to pay for Netflix,” said Kivo, “so why not Twitter?” Software platforms aren’t free to run. Servers, data and customer support cost money, which has to be recouped somewhere. Estimates put Twitter’s ad revenue at $3bn, whereas Facebook’s is reportedly ten times that. Under new management, most businesses cut old services and add new ones. Musk is clearly not afraid to trial and error his way to Twitter success.

Access more features and achieve better engagement by adding one more subscription to your list of several. That’s why entrepreneurs should pay for Twitter Blue. But there’s a flipside to this story that we’re exploring in more detail.

Here are some reasons entrepreneurs shouldn’t pay for Twitter.

If you don’t focus on Twitter

Twitter is by no means the only social network. Once part of just a handful of platforms, creators are now seeing results doubling down on TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, blogging or podcasting. LinkedIn organic engagement is high right now and podcast listenership numbers are growing exponentially. There are plenty of other options for your time and energy. “If Twitter isn’t your main social platform, it might not make sense to become verified,” said Kivo. Divert your efforts elsewhere and forget about Twitter entirely. “You can even edit your bio to tell your followers where you’re active.”

On a similar note, if you can’t justify the spend because you’re not seeing the return, forget about Twitter all together. A social media manager used to be one person; now that job title doesn’t really exist. Completely different skills are required for each platform, and it’s the same with your activity. If you’re not prepared to be Twitter-first, you can’t just repurpose old content and expect it to fly. Go hard or go home.

You don’t like Elon Musk

If you don’t like Musk or don’t agree with his methods and principles, you might not want to pay to become verified on Twitter. “If you have to like and trust the CEO of any company you buy from, keep your cash out of his pocket by not paying for Twitter Blue,” Kivo suggested. There are several people on this bandwagon, who believe Musk charging for verification is either an abuse of power or a shameless bid for cashflow. They are vocal about the potential for impersonation, new scams and misinformation that can come as a result of anyone with a debit card having access to a blue tick.

“Does paying for Twitter Blue mean you endorse everything Musk stands for?” asks Kivo. If that’s the meaning you have assigned, then think carefully before upgrading your account. You have to be able to live with yourself. If your principles are strong and stubborn, and you’re prepared to compromise any potential business gain to stand by them, take your $8 a month elsewhere.

It will change again in future

With all the changes that have already happened since October 2022, there’s a strong precedent for more to come. Twitter somewhat backtracked on removing legacy ticks, reinstating them for some users who hadn’t subscribed. Who’s to say this won’t change again in the future? Maybe Twitter Blue will mean blue ticks, Twitter Gold will mean gold ticks, and there will be a whole other class for the “notable but not paying” class of user. Who knows. Biding your time could be the right strategy as the dust settles on each decision.

While you’re waiting for Twitter to regain stability, do other promotion instead. Kivo recommends you, “get press in notable news outlets, focus on your product and become genuinely noteworthy.” A better offering means more customers, which means a bigger company. This can lead to the fame and fortune you might have previously associated with being verified on Twitter. “There are plenty of other ways to build your brand online,” added Kivo.

Pay for Twitter if you want to access the additional benefits of doing so, if Twitter is a platform on which you are very active, or if you’re comfortable with a monthly fee for something that you use and get benefit from. Don’t pay for Twitter if you don’t focus on Twitter, if your dislike of Elon Musk is getting in the way, or you want to see what happens before you get involved. No one will force your hand either way, the choice is completely yours.

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