Get Verified on 6 Social Networks
One of the deciding factors about whether a person or a business "wins" is if social media users trust that page/profile enough to align themselves with them publicly- therefore opening their newsfeeds to their messages and their interactions with the brand/person to their friends. With more social networks opening up to direct selling, trust will become an even more important element in social success.
Aside from having an established relationship with the person or business, there's an easy way to establish trust if profile/page admins are willing to take the necessary steps.
Becoming a "verified" profile on networks that provide such a feature (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat) can increase visibility and trust. Each network comes with its own perks for verified users, so let's highlight the verification steps for each and what a coveted check mark or, in the case of Snapchat, emoji provides a user in return.
1. FacebookWhile the network is very much still used for socializing, Facebook is also increasingly being leveraged as a resource app/site where users can find information about a business, sell goods to people (whether it's second-hand products on Marketplace or a Facebook group for a multi-level marketing company), read news and a variety of other use-cases outside of communicating with friends. For these reasons, having a Verified Page on Facebook can help set a potential customer/subscriber/follower's mind at ease that they are dealing with an authentic Page or profile.
It's important to know the two types of Facebook verification:
- If you see a blue badge on a Page or profile, it means that Facebook confirmed that this is the authentic Page or profile for this public figure, media company or brand. Keep in mind that not all public figures, celebrities and brands on Facebook have blue badges.
- If you see a gray badge on a Page, it means that Facebook confirmed that this is an authentic Page for this business or organization.
To obtain a gray badge, the Page has to fall into one of three categories: Local Business, Company or Organization. If a Page is a Publisher, for instance, then the opportunity to verify itself won't be available. To check what category a Page is currently listed as, go to the Page, click on the ellipses next to the share button and select "Edit Page Info."
It is here where Page admins will see their current categories. If a category isn't listed, one should be added to optimize the Page for other reasons (e.g., visibility). Up to three categories can be listed so if one of the categories falls outside of the categories that can be verified, go ahead and add them in if they truly apply. The option to verify won't be immediately made available though.
If all the stars align and Business, Company or Organization are currently set categories, the Page has a profile picture and a cover photo and is found eligible based on other unknown criteria, admins will see the option to "Verify this Page" within "settings," and then "general."
- Click Verify this Page, then click Get Started
- Enter a publicly listed phone number for your business, your country and language
- Click Call Me Now to allow Facebook to call you with a verification code
- Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue
It should be noted that only gray badges can be applied for, as it's not currently possible to request or purchase a blue verified badge. Read more here.
As of Summer 2016, any user can get a verified account - or at least be considered for one if their profile involves key interest areas like music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media and sports.
While it may seem like just an ego booster, there are some benefits to being verified on Twitter. For starters, when other businesses tag a company in a tweet through their social media management system, they can easily verify they are mentioning the appropriate one as social media management platforms like Sprout Social include the Verified labeling in their systems.
For end-users, searching for profiles they want to follow is easier when they are surfaced as Verified profiles, and it's likely their tweets are ranked higher as part of Twitter's "quality" filter.
So, let's get verified. Before submitting an application, users should make sure they have a clear profile and cover photo, that a birthday is attached to the account, that a phone number has been verified, that a website is included, that tweets aren't protected and that third-party links are available to prove credibility (read more here).
Now, those interested in Verified accounts will need to fill out this form (need to be logged into Twitter to start the process). If the request is denied, users can submit another request for the same account 30 days after receiving the email from Twitter.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, there are some exclusive-only benefits to being a verified user on Instagram (like the ability to embed links in Stories). Unfortunately, only some public figures, celebrities and brands have verified badges, and it's not currently possible to request or purchase a verified badge. People and companies will need to work on developing a large following, posting often and staying relevant.
Scrolling through Instagram, there are accounts with less than 60,000 followers (57.9K to be exact) that are verified and public figures with more than 1 million followers that aren't verified. Unless, a company or spokesperson lands themselves on a reality TV show sometime soon, this one isn't worth pursuing. This is one of the reasons that influencer marketing on Instagram works so well - brands just don't have the same voice on the network.
Pinterest offers benefits to being verified (like surfacing a verified account in auto-suggest search results), but it is not opening up verified accounts to everyone on Pinterest.
"If you want to help people know you’re a trustworthy source, add your logo as your profile picture and make sure you've confirmed your website."
That said, businesses will want to ensure they have (1) have a business account/not a personal one, (2) that their website is confirmed, (3), that a "Pin It" button is included on that website and (4) that its logo is the profile picture.
It would seem that a network for communicating with peers, sharing company news, networking and job seeking would have a Facebook-like way to verify a profile or company page, but LinkedIn runs things a little differently.
LinkedIn does allow people to get a checkmark for its LinkedIn Lookup product, which means they work for the company they've specified. Verification is as simple as LinkedIn sending an email to their work email address with a four-digit code. Once this code is entered into LinkedIn Lookup, they're considered verified.
If someone does not have a checkmark next to their picture, this means they haven't completed the validation process with LinkedIn - not that they don't work for the specified company.
Another way to get verified on LinkedIn (kind of) is to be invited into its Influencer program with the likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Katie Couric.
LinkedIn is not accepting Infleuncer applications, but the network is continuing to release the ability to publish articles to all LinkedIn members, so that's a hint that it's looking for industry influencers to use its platform as their publishing platform (one would have to consider the pros and cons of publishing exclusive material on LinkedIn versus their own website).
Another way to get something shiny on a LinkedIn profile is to upgrade to a Premium Membership, which comes with a gold LinkedIn logo. Anyone with a Premium Membership can get this logo, but it does look pretty official and can help a profile standout.
The trendy network has verified accounts, but identifying them, as one could likely imagine, is a little different than the other social apps. This is because verified accounts get to choose their own emoji that surfaces in search results and the Story feed. They're called "Official Stories" and these Snapchatters are identified when people search for them in the Add Friends screen and an emoji will appear next to their name.
According to Snapchat, Official Stories are being rolled out to a small group of Snapchatters. Over time, Official Stories may become more widely available.
Networks vary on their processes to verify people and businesses they deem important and trustworthy, but if there's a way to get a competitive advantage (often in the forms of visibility), businesses will need to stay on top of the ways to do so.