Being verified on social media is something that everyone wants, yet very few ever see that mysterious blue tick show up on their account. It’s the ultimate e-penis ego stroke that exists today. Everyone lives on social media these days, so being verified is a big deal. At least it is to the people that desire it so badly.
Ask those that do have the verification badge what it has done for them, and most will say, “not too much.” But, this is coming from pretty successful people that are used to things being thrown their way. It isn’t going to mean you will receive thousands of new follower requests. You won’t become rich overnight. But, it does give you almost instant credibility that you can use to build your personal brand and expertise.
There is so much false information and pure speculation floating around regarding social media verification, so I wanted to clear the air and give you my two cents on the topic.
Is it possible to get verified? Yes. Is it difficult to get verified? Very.
Twitter is the originator of the verification check. They released it without much mention after the social network launched and it was given to a few early celebrity influencers. Most people were introduced to Twitter through a celebrity, and I can vividly remember Ashton Kutcher being one of the first true celebrity supporters of Twitter. Twitter gave these people a verified checkmark so its users would know that they were interacting with the real person and not an imposter.
That was the original purpose of the verification check: to let early adapters know they were communicating with celebrities. Twitter was the first social network to allow anyone to reach out and message celebrities and that was part of the reason it was a very unique network.
They have never publicly stated how they verify accounts or how an account qualifies for verification. It has been (and will always continue to be) a big mystery.
What they look for…
Twitter will never publicly state what they look for, but I have seen enough to give you a very educated rundown. Twitter is not the most popular social media site or app these days. Their stock price continues to drop and they seem to always have changes to their executive lineup. I’m sure the investors are sweating bullets because the company value has gone to complete shit. They just don’t make money.
With that being said, the media loves Twitter because it allows them to see breaking information before anyone else. Think about it: whenever a huge story hits the news you see it first on Twitter. Because of this Twitter seems to love media members. They love journalists, TV reporters, radio personalities, etc. These types of people seem to get verified fairly easy. They also love real celebrities and professional athletes. They get verified every time without trouble.
Most people think that follower count is something that Twitter considers when verifying accounts. I can tell you from first hand experience that follower count doesn’t mean a thing. I have seen accounts with several million followers get passed on, while accounts with a couple hundred followers get the verification badge.
A lot of people will fire off fake followers onto their accounts thinking that if Twitter sees their follower count shoot through the roof that they will automatically verify them. They can easily filter out fake followers, so I can promise you that if you take this approach your account will get passed on and probably flagged internally as a “never verify” account.
Stay far away form fake followers, likes and re-tweets. I would also suggest you don’t allow third party apps to access your account. I have heard that they look to see if accounts are linked to a botting application. This is a rumor, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were true.
How to improve your odds of being verified…
Use Twitter how it was intended to be used. This is such common sense that it baffles me people don’t get it. Twitter wants people to use the social network. The more people that are active on it, the more ads they can serve, and the higher the likelihood that some people actually click on the ads, generating advertising revenue for them.
Follow people, tweet to them, re-tweet content, like posts, engage, etc. If they see someone that is deserving of being verified but they don’t use Twitter what incentive do they have to give that person the badge? Now, if someone is deserving and Twitter notices that they are very active they are going to give it to them because when they see they are verified it will cause them to use it even more out of pure excitement.
Also, if you know people that are already verified on Twitter have them follow you and tweet to you. Engagement with and from other verified users helps.
Instagram revealed their verification program several years ago and started to randomly assign the badge to some of the top celebrity accounts. It was literally only a few dozen accounts that sported the badge and it caused people to widely speculate on how to obtain it.
There were several rumors about Twitter filing legal paperwork that stopped Instagram from using the term “verified” and the badge, but all of that must be water under the bridge as Instagram is actively verifying accounts now. They are like Twitter though; they don’t publicly state what they look for or even how the verification process works with them. It is as big of a mystery as Twitter’s verification policy.
What they look for…
Instagram likes to see REAL numbers. They love real followers, real likes and real comments. I have seen celebrities that should get verified without question passed on because they had purchased followers. Trust me, if you have 1.2 million REAL followers, buying fake ones to put you over 2 million is only going to hurt you. Too many people get stuck on having several million. This type of thinking has ruined the chance of many accounts from ever being verified.
Real engagement is the name of the Instagram verification game. I have seen enough to be able to say with confidence that real engagement improves the odds drastically, while fake engagement will ruin them, no matter how famous someone is.
Most people think that because they have a Facebook page verified that their Instagram profile should be verified. It doesn’t work this way at all, I can promise you that. Facebook verification is the most common badge, and Instagram is the hardest one to achieve, so they definitely don’t automatically verify one for the other. Even though Facebook owns Instagram it’s clear that their verification guidelines are drastically different.
Just like with Twitter, follower count plays very little in the verification process. Neither does comments or likes, so you can disconnect the automation tools that just attract spammy emoji comments and likes from worthless accounts. This type of activity will do nothing more than assure your account is never verified. Also, a lot of people seem to think only celebrities can get verified on Instagram. I have noticed Instagram is now verifying a lot of big name brands the same way Twitter does.
How to improve your odds of being verified…
Have an active Facebook fan page. Wait, didn’t I just say that being verified on Facebook has no impact on whether or not an Instagram account will get verified? Yes, and that is true, but I can promise you that when Instagram is deciding whether or not to verify an account they are going to look to see what the person or brand’s Facebook engagement looks like. If someone has a strong Instagram presence but their Facebook page is dead, it shows that they aren’t really a household name worthy of being verified.
Verified accounts are supposed to represent the most popular brands and people in the world. Facebook is the largest social network, so if they aren’t receiving any attention on Facebook how popular can they really be? So, they aren’t necessarily looking to see if the Facebook page is verified. They just want to see how popular someone or something is on Facebook before making a decision.
Facebook has two verification badges. The blue check is the one that signals celebrities and important people. The gray colored check is for local businesses and isn’t that desirable, as almost any legit business can obtain that one.
One of the benefits of being verified on Facebook is the ability to use their special app, called Mentions, which is only available to verified users. It allows you to manage your page and communicate easily with other verified users. There are also some cool features like the live video, which they are hoping their celebrity users start using more.
I wouldn’t say that getting verified on Facebook is easy, but if you are somewhat of a public figure it’s easier than Twitter and Instagram, but still very difficult.
What they look for…
Facebook is mainly looking for a solid reason. Why should you be verified? Why are you a public figure? Why do you need to make sure that people know it is really you? They look for people that are likely to have people searching for them. If you are a TV or news personality there is a good chance that people will seek you out. If you want to get the verification badge to impress your friends and family you might as well keep moving along, as they don’t give it out unless you are someone that the public views as a recognizable person.
Facebook is a little more lenient about whom they consider to be a public figure to some extent. For example, an author might get verified on Facebook, where Instagram and Twitter wouldn’t even consider verifying them.
Everyone seems to think they are a celebrity these days because they have followers on social media. I have a very simple rule. I ask people this: “Would one of your followers pay you for your advice or to spend time talking to you?” If no, then you probably don’t stand a good chance. If yes, then there could possible be a case made as to why you should be verified.
Facebook is such a large social network with billions of users. People freely “like” pages, so a large following here for a fan page really isn’t the only indication of true celebrity or popularity. Think of how many of your friends start pages and then post something like, “Please like my page!” People do it to be nice, not always because they think someone is famous.
How to improve your odds of being verified… Be someone important, or at least semi-important.
I could say have real engagement, but let’s face it, Facebook is such a popular network that anyone worth being verified is going to have engagement on his or her Facebook page.
I like to say that Facebook is the stepping stone for verification. If you have no business being verified on Facebook I can promise you that Twitter and Instagram are a pipe dream.
By now you should have a pretty good understanding of what types of accounts are verifiable and what ones will never see a blue check. Compare verification with SEO and link building for a minute. Getting a link on Forbes sounds like an impossible task to some, but in reality it’s all about building relationships and making connections. Verification is the same approach.
Verification will not happen for everyone. Only a small percentage of people will ever get verified, and truthfully, most people that actually deserve it are already verified. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are all actively verifying accounts that they deem are worthy. You really need to step back and ask yourself this question: “Do I really deserve to be verified on social media or am I just dreaming?” Most are dreamers, but for those that have slipped through the cracks and deserve the blue tick, there is help available.
By Tommy McDonald