Does Verification of a Social Media Account Make a Difference?

Times are changing on social media where if you pay a certain amount of money, you can obtain the famous blue checkmark to show verified account status. But does that little checkmark really mean anything to anyone anymore?

What Is Verification?

In the beginning of Twitter blue checkmark time, in 2009, the blue checkmark was used to show who was an official and authentic account, usually a celebrity, athlete, or someone of high status. It helped to determine which account was real versus fake or a parody as multiple accounts for users kept popping up, even though it wasn’t actually them. 

Facebook followed suit and started their verification process in 2012 and Instagram in 2014. Same kind of process to make a clear distinction between a real page and a page run by a fan. 

Most sites have a verification process and they are similar. Just prove you are who you say you  are and then you will obtain that blue checkmark. But now the blue checkmark is growing to include more people than just those with a big name or reputation. 

Exploring Paid Verification 

When Elon Musk took over Twitter, he had to figure out new ways to monetize the business. This came in the form of a monthly subscription to have the verified blue checkmark along with verified member-only features like the ability to post longer videos, less ads on their feeds, and a bump to the top of news feeds. At first Musk’s plan came with some backlash, but it is still chugging along. The numbers don’t seem to be coming back where they predicted they would be, but it is still new. “Twitter subscribers in the US made up less than 0.2% of monthly users in January, two months after Elon Musk introduced Blue, The Information reported Monday, citing a document,” via Business Insider. While 0.2% doesn’t seem like a lot, when you put it in monetary value, it is. “Twitter’s currently bringing in an extra $2.4 million per month via the program, or $7.2 million per quarter,” according to Travis Brown.

The platform is also adding gold checkmarks for official brand accounts, and gray ticks for ‘government and multilateral’ accounts. At what point is too many different colored checkmarks too much and do they even make a difference? According to Business Insider, businesses will pay $1,000 per month to keep their gold verification checkmark.

And now, Meta just announced their plans for verification for Facebook and Instagram which include, “a subscription service that lets you verify your account with a government ID, get a blue badge, get extra impersonation protection against accounts claiming to be you, and get direct access to customer support. This new feature is about increasing authenticity and security across our services. Meta Verified starts at $11.99 / month on web or $14.99 / month on iOS. We’ll be rolling out in Australia and New Zealand this week and more countries soon.” via Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post.

If Verification is Bought, Is Value Lost?

When something like verification is able to be purchased, does it make having the checkmark a lesser value? Do those accounts that have the checkmark even matter to users? Does it devalue the accounts that “earned” the verification in the first place with follower numbers?

The checkmarks could be looked at as a status of being able to afford whatever that checkmark costs. And because of that checkmark, whatever those accounts have to share, whether important or not, gets pushed to the top of the feed just because they pay for it. Do you like this or would you rather see the accounts that you follow because you enjoy what they post at the top instead?

New research from Maine Business School at the University of Maine shows that verification isn’t always a positive, as social media consumers associate verification more with celebrity than credibility and are much less likely to trust product endorsements from verified accounts if the content is inconsistent with the influencer’s brand.”

The results from a study published in February, 2022 in the Journal of Consumer Behavior showed that not only do consumers associate verification more with celebrity than authenticity or credibility, but because of that, they are less likely to trust a verified social media influencer if they are advertising a brand that is inconsistent with their usual messaging. Even when the brand seems suited to the social media influencer, consumers do not trust verified accounts more than their unverified counterparts.

However, since the social networks are all moving in this direction, we shall see how consumers feel really soon. Will the social media outlets make more money? Will consumers feel value?

The Bottom Line

Most, if not all, social media platforms have some form of a verification process. And just like how buying likes and followers is a big mistake on all platforms, buying verification might be looked at as the same thing in today’s world. 

Each business is unique and may benefit from the pro’s of verification. It is always worth researching what value is received when purchasing verification. But at this time, marketers and business owners might find more bang for their buck with other strategies. 

Is Working in Marketing and Social Media Really Like Emily in Paris?

I, Christine, was a little late to watching the Emily in Paris series on Netflix. Truth be told, I don’t watch a lot of television. But when my boss, Arlea, mentioned it to me, I knew I needed to check it out. Not only is the story itself really cute, especially with the love interests, but I eagerly await Emily’s next marketing and social media ideas for her clients! We all know this is just a show since typically 9 out of 10 ideas that real marketers come up with end up on the editing room floor. It is always just that one idea that sticks. But I do enjoy hearing about her successes and why they worked. I’ve read so many social media posts about how someone has a client and is wondering why their social media isn’t like Emily’s client’s networks and how they can grow theirs like they do on the show? So I thought it would be fun to discuss if working in the same industry as Emily is realistic and if anything relates back to the real world? Let’s take a dive into working like Emily in Paris. 

Every Idea Won’t Be a Success

Clients know their business and usually have an idea of what they want. Emily’s clients just let her usually do whatever. Plus, she is in a very niche market. Now, that is not to say there aren’t agencies that just work with clients in the same industry, but our agency works with various industries. We like the different strategies and the different clients we work with. 

But it just blows my mind how Emily’s ideas just fall into her lap. Sure, we all have awesome ideas every now and then. It is likely that is why we have a job! But some of her ideas are just so off the wall and I really don’t ever see them really working in the real world, especially when a majority of the time she has to get it done in less than 24 hours. Which leads me to approvals.

No Approval Chain of Command

Besides the client and Slyvie, it doesn’t seem like anyone else ever has to approve any of the ideas. In the real world, there are usually a lot of other people that need to give their approval, provide their edits and then the last person in the chain of command has to bring all of those ideas together into one cohesive plan. It takes longer than 24 hours to do all of this. 

It is good to have an approval chain of command. Mostly so other people can tell you if there is a mistake, or if after editing the same footage for hours on end you missed something. But also because we all do our own jobs. Where I work, we have photographers, videographers, content creators, designers and web developers. We all are specialized in our job, but all have to work together to ensure the client’s project gets done. Emily is basically a one-woman-band, doing all of the work herself. And we never see her actually putting together the work. It just magically appears!

This Isn’t a Real Career Scenario

But oh how we all wish it was! I am based in the U.S., so maybe working in Paris is like this. I wouldn’t mind the “everyone starts late and takes a long lunch” work schedule. But we all have to remember this is a show. It is an unrealistic look at the industry and doesn’t give a fair perspective to high school or college age people who are thinking about a career in this field. It doesn’t provide us with the fine details of everything that is hard with social media. Everything just comes easy to these clients of Emily’s, whether she is with the Gilbert Group or the  French fashion firm, Savoir.

Plus, Emily started out with like 48 followers. After posting a couple of selfies, she gained upwards of 20,000 followers in what seemed like 3 weeks. Nah – that isn’t real life. That just doesn’t happen unless you are somebody. I wish I knew Damar Hamlin’s social media numbers before his unfortunate accident on the football field. Now everyone knows who he is! No one really knows who Emily is!

Emily’s Clients Have Huge Budgets

Some clients do have really big budgets. And there are agencies who specifically will only work with clients that have huge budgets. But in the real world, marketing is one of the first things to get cut from a budget. So we have to work with the funds we are given and magically come up with a strategy that will work and hopefully meet the client’s needs and expectations. 

There is So Much More to Social Media Than Likes, Shares, Comments and Followers

With marketing comes strategy and that strategy branches out to advertising, videos, podcasts, blogs, etc.  They all should work cohesively and integrated. Social media isn’t just about one post on Facebook. It is about making sure that post also reaches clients on whatever other social networks they have. And it isn’t just about numbers. It doesn’t matter how many people like a post. Did those people buy into whatever the post was about? Did they click a link that you included in the post? What was the call to action? 

Why Correct Lighting Matters in Photography

The definition of the word photography is “the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor)”.  

There is no universally perfect light for every scenario. Indoors, outdoors, a little of both, on top of a mountain, maybe even underwater, light can dramatically affect the outcome of the photograph. That is why you will see our photographer, Danielle, dragging along various lights if she is on site for a shoot or has some fancy light set up in our Steel Studio.

Light for photography can be natural or artificial. The way the photographer positions themselves and the subject of their photo affects clarity, tone, emotion, and overall feeling of the photo. Let’s dig a little deeper into this.

Indoor Photography with Natural Light vs. Artificial Light

Does your studio space have a window? Utilize it! Danielle loves her artificial lighting, but natural light is always a great option for portraits, even when the shoot is inside. In her example with Sam, she had him stand near a window which totally changed the lighting of the subject. Depending on the time of day and the weather, your lighting will vary. Pick and choose what looks best to be able to portray the story accurately. 

When Danielle and Sam moved away from the natural light, she pulled out the artificial light. The light that Danielle used in this photo below of Sam is a Paul C. Buff Einstein Flash Unit with a 35″ Foldable Octabox light modifier. “Similar to the way a softbox diffuses the light onto the subject creating soft even light, an octabox is great for portraits by creating rounded catchlights in the eyes of your subject. Providing a more natural look similar to what you would see from the sun.” via

Can you compare the photos? While they are in different areas of the room, Danielle was able to capture the tone, emotion and clarity of the subject that she wanted with both natural and artificial lighting.

Why is Testing Light Before A Shoot Is So Important?

Testing light is crucial to ensure that your images are properly exposed. It is ok to snap a few test photos and move things around. The angle/direction of light allows for a dynamic portrait with flattering highlights and shadows. Melissa was holding the flash unit camera left and above Sam at about a 45 degree angle in the artificial lighting example above. 

Not only is the light important but so is how the light is positioned when taking a photo. Pay attention to shadows and flat lighting. This happens when the light source originates behind the camera and points directly to the subject. If the light is moved to the side, the subject becomes portrayed in a happier but dramatic light! 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to marketing, working with a photographer that has a good understanding of how to work with light properly can help to spotlight the exact items you want your clients to see and how you want them to feel when viewing. When a photo is pleasing to the eye, or emits a certain feeling, the product also becomes pleasing or desired. Those feelings will help to attract others to it, thus creating potential leads and sales down the road. 

If you’re interested in a photography shoot, reach out to us!

The Tip of an Iceberg: Data Analytics in a Digital World


Diving into digital analytics can be a daunting task, especially for those who aren’t data analysts at heart. From websites to social media, to digital ads and beyond, analytics isn’t anything new, but the ease of obtaining digital information is growing at a lightning fast pace. It is something we can all learn about, and continuously learn about! We will likely never know it all, but by having this information literally at our fingertips, it provides opportunities for those studying them to learn and progress with new ideas and visions faster. Interpreting data can vary from business to business, and what is considered a success for you can be different as well, but let’s just skim the top off of what data analytics is and briefly learn what the most important parts of analytics are for beginners.

Google, Social Media, and Other Digital Analytics

Likely the most popular kind of analytics for a website, Google Analytics is used by over half of all websites. Google tries to make their analyzing methods easy for the viewers, but there can be a lot of data and quite the big puzzle to put together. When first opening Google’s data interface, it can seem like a lot of information being thrown at you. But once you set up your goals, you will start to see the magic happen. You’ll learn where your audience is coming from, who they are, what their habits are, and so on. Here is a good reference for Google Analytics for Beginners, but we can also help answer any questions that you might have. 

As for social media, each platform improves upon their analytical composition constantly. Insights as to who is following you, the performance of your social media posts, and learning what your target audience craves are all examples of why analytics are important for social media. There is likely very valuable information in your social media analytics, it is just figuring out what is most important to your business that is key. And truthfully, once you figure out how to interpret the data, the social media channel will likely change how they show you this data and you will need to re-learn how to read the information all over again. They are always keeping us on our toes!

Since this is just a quick reference, there are three things we suggest taking into account when learning how to read your analytics. Understanding your audience is critical as you need to know what they want and how you are going to respond to that. So let’s just briefly hit on the following topics to give a brief overview of what they are and how they help your business.

  • How do people reach your site?
  • What are they doing when they get there?
  • What is your conversion rate?

How Do People Reach Your Site?

Thanks to analytics, we can see how a user even came to find your website. Did they just do a random search on Google? Did they click one of your digital ads? Did they click a link on social media? Your analytics will tell you all of this information which can then help to determine what is working best for your target audience and where you need to be!

What Are Common Behaviors on Your Site?

Once someone is on your site, whether it is your website or social media, what are they doing? Your analytics will give you a glimpse into how much time someone is spending on your site, where they are going within your content, what are they clicking, where are they getting stuck, how much time are they spending on certain pages and so much more! All of these behaviors can help improve your website for your audience.

What is Your Conversion Rate?

And finally, likely the most important analytic that we all want, is what is your conversion rate. If multiple people are getting stuck on a certain page and leave the website, then it is a website problem, not a customer problem. If you start to see patterns of what website visitors are doing when they make a purchase, then it is rewarding to see what you are doing is working for your audience. You always want to make sure that whatever you are pushing, whether it is a product, service, sale, download, etc., that it is easily accessible to the viewer and they obtain their goal for coming to your website in the first place.

The Bottom Line

Analytics are not always easy to digest but they are essential. If you are just learning analytics, start with our three recommendations for what to check out first. Once you learn those, then you can keep diving deeper into more. If you are not working with a marketing team that provides clear and consistent analytics information, then contact us to chat about how we can help.

New Year, New Goals – The Strategy to Beat the Competition

Did this year fly by for everyone or was it just us? And now we have to look ahead to the next year and get everything situated. New rounds of holidays, new products, new stories to tell…what else can there be? That’s right, new strategies in place to beat the competition. Let’s face it. Selling, no matter what product or service, is hard. Money is tight for people, budgets are thinning and the extra spending money that we all once had is now being added to the grocery cart expenses. So that means as marketers, we need to strategize to find ways around those issues with our customers and to win their hearts over the competition. Take our advice and with some luck, you’ll be off to a great new year!

Focus on Your Audience

Find your target audience’s pain points – their needs, wants, desires. How do they want to feel, how do they want to solve the problem? Once you understand all of this, creating content to relate to or solve their problem becomes easier. This shouldn’t be anything new as it should always be about the customer. But thinking outside the box of what marketing typically is and switching gears to a more customer centric experience instead of convincing can help with engagement and success rates. Continuing to build a positive business culture will trickle down to excellent customer service and sales in the end.

Let the Customer Know Your Story

Your brand has a story – show it. People love to see more about the actual brand, who is behind it, and they seem to like when it is fun! If that is your brand’s style, go for it. Even if you think, “Oh this is silly”, or “This isn’t professional,” sometimes that doesn’t even matter. We are all human (unless your business is robots!) Take control of who you are speaking to by doing your own target audience audit and see what they think of your brand and how they feel about it. Take a look at your competitors and what sets you apart from them. Even if you think you know what makes your brand unique, you might find something else when you are researching. Brands will need to be more inclusive, diverse, and connected to the actual people they are trying to reach. Customers are looking for a real-life business relationship with the products and services they use and trust. Allow them to get to know the in’s and out’s, the why and why not’s, and embrace the relationships that can stem from these budding kinships.

Be Real With Goal Setting

Do yourself a favor right off the bat and just set realistic goals. Too many times, especially in the social media world, we set goals that just aren’t measurable. Thankfully the social media giants are allowing more analytics to be learned, seen and used, but if there is not a measurable statistic to go with your goal, then maybe it should be reconsidered. Hold your team accountable also. Make sure they are the ones who are able to meet those goals. Meet with them once a quarter to discuss the goals, where they are with them and how they can do better on reaching the goals. It is a team effort, so all ideas should always be accepted. And if a goal isn’t met by the end of the year, don’t fret. Everything is a learning situation and you take what you’ve learned and put it toward the next year. Just be realistic and intentional this year. What will your key goals for 2023 focus on? Everyone has different goals, but they need to be purposeful and measurable. If you can’t appropriately measure something, then maybe it shouldn’t be a goal. And there are also going to be numerous ways to measure certain goals. Whatever you find works best for you and provides the best outcome, then go for it. Set the baseline to whatever was reached in 2022 and then set practical goals for 2023. 

Content Still Wins in 2023

There can never be enough content in the business world. When you think there are enough social posts, create more. When you think you have written all that you can on a topic, figure out how to write more. And when you aren’t sure if you have written about something, just do it. Filling the gaps in content and then optimizing it is never a bad idea. Ask the question of why should your followers read your content versus the competitors? And don’t be afraid to repurpose current content that works for your audience. Popular posts can turn into blogs and vice versa – blogs can be split into separate posts. An audit of the content that you have should be done and somehow cataloged so when a topic is trending, you can easily do a search to see if any of your content hits on that topic. While you are doing your content audit, you’ll find which content topics were most popular, which distribution channel works best for you and drives the most traffic. Reuse and repurpose are key in the content world!

The Bottom Line

If your business needs a change, don’t be afraid to move full steam ahead with ideas. And if you need our help, we will be here able and willing to help. Just contact us and our team will be back in touch, ready to crush your goals for the new year.