Can a blue tick change the way people see you online? The answer may as well be yes. Indeed, the blue "badge" (also known as verification) is an excellent step towards gaining social proof on social media.
It is not always easy, and most companies and individuals alike have to experience a harsh rejection at least once. However, it's still possible to get verified if you follow the correct process (and have some patience). This piece will outline how to get verified on Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Why should I get verified on social media?
Whether you are looking to verify a personal or company account, credibility and legitimacy are the most crucial benefits of getting verified on social media. There is little proof that the blue badge will help you gain followers faster. However, as people start trusting your brand more, verification can organically help you grow your social media presence. Social proof still matters: 87% of buying decisions begin with research conducted online.
Millennials and Gen Z would often head to social media before a company website - and they are at the forefront of e-commerce. As more and more fake accounts drop by the day on most social platforms, companies and individuals with a sizable audience start looking into getting verified to protect their reputation and identity.
As a reminder, all platforms point out how a blue badge does not imply an endorsement by social networks (and it's something you can find in all community guidelines).
Verification benefits for individuals
Verification started as a simple process to protect public figures on Twitter, identifying which accounts belonged to celebrities. Just like any badge, the blue badge also helps you with networking opportunities and potential partnerships, as well as being featured on online publications and podcasts.
More and more professionals and company founders are now chasing after verification to build their personal brands. Especially for CEOs, it's a great way to bring legitimacy to their brand as part of the verification process. It reminds people that your account is worth following and interacting with, as you'll get to connect with the “real” individual.
Badges are a way to build trust and to show achievements among online communities. Another considerable benefit is the level of protection it ensures from those who pose as you and potentially harm your online image.
Verification benefits for companies
As well as some of the benefits mentioned above, customer trust (and social proof) is another big winner. The blue badge can lead to an improved conversion rate, so much so that it may encourage potential customers to choose you over another brand online. Customers are savvier than ever before. They are willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews—similarly, the blue tick can help with giving confidence before a purchase. Especially in the age of social commerce, and people can buy products directly from Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest, it can be a game-changer.
A few reasons why you cannot get verified
Celebrities and online public figures have access to shortcuts thanks to talent agencies and connections, allowing them to request and obtain the blue badge faster than us mere mortals.
Still, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting verified, and it all comes down to a few core factors.
One of the most obvious reasons you may struggle to get verified is your accounts age. How long have you been on the platform? The consistency in posting and the time you spend on the platform show that you are active and trustworthy and stand out during the verification process.
Have you changed your company name (or your name) over the years? This may also slow down the verification process.
Another issue you may struggle to control is whether you have been reported over time and there has been an issue with your account (including ads and suspicious activity). Platforms favour accounts that have a good track record and comply with their guidelines.
Sadly there are very few shortcuts we can take to get the desired blue badge. Do not fall for the rampant verification scam services out there—no third-party service can guarantee you verification. Getting verified on social media can be a challenge, and it might take some time, but it is worth it.
Three things you can do to better your chances
Smaller brands these days struggle to get verified. However, they use other means of social proof to build trust with their customers.
As you can see below with the example of Creative Nature, the brand lists all of its stockists on their bio (Tesco Asda Sainsbury Morrisons Ocado Amazon) and use user-generated content to showcase how customers make the most of their products. These simple practices can help a brand build notability.
A constant factor in all of the processes outlined below is your level of activity and "notability"—do people know your brand? Do you have the social proof and accolades to prove it? To get verified on social media, you have to practice the simple rules of an excellent social media strategy.
Consistent growth gets you noticed
Creating content your audience loves will make you stand out from the crowd as you show up online and engage with the broader community.
Share your wins and talk about your achievements
Leadership is a word that often comes up when looking at verification procedures, and there is no better way to foster the idea of leadership than to showcase your milestones.
Collaborate with key players
Yes, connecting and creating content with well-known accounts online can help you grow and positively impact your reputation.
How to get verified on Twitter
Twitter is truly where it all started. In 2020, Twitter announced it closed the public verification process—only to reopen it in May 2021 with slightly disastrous effects. The system was painfully glitchy and caused an uproar in the online community. As the verification system is now, yet again, open to the public, you can now apply for verification through your settings in account information. Once you enter your password, go to Request Verification.
What do you need to know before you apply? According to Twitter, to get verified, you must own an "account of public interest that is authentic. To receive the blue badge, your account must be authentic, notable, and active." As a company, you can request verification both as an organization or as the organization's leader.
Twitter lists the following requirements for brands.
- Presence in public indices, including but not limited to public stock exchanges, stable Wikipedia articles that meet the encyclopedia's notability standards, and databases such as GlobalGiving;
- Three or more featured references within the six months before applying in Verified news outlets that meet the news criteria below; or
- Followers count in the top .05% of active accounts located in the same geographic region.
For individuals, the waters get even murkier, as Twitter has a particular focus on activists, organizers, and other influential individuals. Outside of those, people who are using Twitter effectively to bring awareness, share information, and galvanize community members around a cause need to tick a few "notability" criteria, similar to the ones for brands above.
Get verified on YouTube
Getting verified on YouTube is a great way to bring an element of trust and credibility to your channel. It comes at a price—the price of 100,000 subscribers. That said, Youtube reserves the right to verify channels with fewer than 100,000 subscribers if the brand, person, or entity is well-known outside of the platform.
Once you meet that first criteria and your channel is eligible for a verification badge on YouTube, you can apply on their verification badge page.
YouTube's team will review the channel to see if it meets the requirements.
- Authenticity. The channel should represent a genuine brand, person, or entity.
- Completeness. Channels must be public and active. Furthermore, your channel needs to have a profile photo, banner image, description, and great content.
A few more tips to stand out and get verified, outlined by YouTube, include
- Use a unique channel name that represents who you are and the type of content that you publish.
- Use a high-quality image for your profile picture to make your channel look professional in search results.
- Customize your channel layout and branding for a personalized look and feel on your channel homepage.
Get verified on TikTok.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, TikTok does not have a verification request process mainly because the verification team is constantly monitoring for accounts growing a large following on the platform. Getting verified on other social media platforms can also help. However, there is no official statement to confirm this.
TikTok reviews accounts and gives out verification badges according to its guidelines to better support the TikTok community. "TikTok's verified badge is an easy way for notable figures to let users know they see authentic content, and it helps to build trust among high profile accounts and their followers. For celebrities, non-profits, or official brand pages, this badge builds an important layer of clarity with the TikTok community."
Being active is one of the big selling points of TikTok, which means creating consistently high-quality content is one of the biggest drivers of the verification team. Engaging with your followers and staying on top of trends can help explosive growth, which is still possible on TikTok.
Get verified on Pinterest
A Pinterest account can get verified with a red badge instead of a blue one simply by claiming your website, which makes the whole process a lot easier than other platforms.
To get started, it's essential to make sure you have a business account before you request your badge. Go to Settings and click on Edit profile. By selecting Claim, you'll follow the appropriate steps to claim your profile.
Get verified on Instagram
One of the most coveted platforms, Instagram only recently made it easier for the general public to apply for profile verification in the app. As fake accounts are running wild on Instagram, it's understandable that it is still one of the most sought-after blue badges. Giving users peace of mind and encouraging e-commerce has been one of the main reasons blue badges have been so important for users on the platform and why Instagram now provides an in-depth process.
To request your badge, you must submit a verification form, which may include proof of identity, best links, documentation, and anything to support your application. After you fill out the form and send it, Instagram will review your profile and get back to you within 30 days. You can keep an eye out for the verdict in your notifications centre.
As per Instagram, "[verification] shows that we have confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the creator, public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents and helps people more easily find the accounts they wish to follow."
The requirements for Instagram and Facebook are the following:
- Your account must represent a genuine person, registered business or entity
- It must be the unique presence of the person or company it represents.
- You must have a bio, profile photo and at least one post
- Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched-for person, brand or entity.
What happens if I do not get verified?
First, do not be discouraged. You may get rejected at first (or worse, you may hear crickets), but it's most likely a case of standing out from the crowd and working on refining your content and organically growing your accounts.
Social media verification is a way to prove that the account people interact with is you. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to prove you're the real deal. Keep directing people to your accounts in any way you can (have you added your social to your email signature, for example?). Cross-promote your social media online when featured across the web.
Patience is indeed a skill when looking to get verified on social media. Yet, the credibility and legitimacy you'll be able to build by getting the blue badge.
[Header image by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels]