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Twitter originally introduced social media verification to authenticate the identity of public figures and celebrities. Since then, verified users also include businesses, brands, influencers, activists and journalists.
There are many benefits to having your social media accounts verified. First of all, the blue check confirms that you are real, official and not an impersonation. It is seen as an endorsement that tells people you are credible, important and worth paying attention to. Also, verified accounts always rank higher in the same search queries. Your posts and comments are placed on top of those of non-verified accounts, which is a great way to reach a larger audience and boost your engagement. An earlier study reveals that the engagement rate is 30% higher for verified Instagram accounts than for regular accounts.
Undoubtedly, getting the blue badge is highly desired by anyone looking to grow their brand or business. The process of becoming verified can be challenging, though. According to research, only 3.26% of Instagram accounts with over 1,000 followers have the verification check. Furthermore, 73.4% of verified accounts are among accounts with over one million followers, while for accounts with less than five thousand followers, only 0.87% are verified.
Related: This Is Why You Should Have That Verifying Blue Checkmark on Your Social-Media Accounts
Myths about social media verification
So, how do you get verified? There are various myths surrounding social media verification. Some people believe that you should be famous in order to get the blue badge, or that you need to have millions of followers to qualify. However, none of it is true. While social media verification was only reserved for celebrities and famous people in the past, it is now open to all individuals, businesses and brands. So, even if you are a coach or other business professional, you are welcome to apply as long as you meet their requirements.
In terms of the number of followers, there are no minimum requirements either. It may be easier if you have millions of followers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get blue-checked if you only have a few thousand followers. There are ample examples of users with just a few thousand followers who have successfully obtained the blue tick, such as virtual insurer OneDegree, digital investment platform Aqumon, online broker Webull Securities and financial portal MoneySmart. And journalist Peter Yeung got his blue badge too with only 1,000-plus followers.
Different social media platforms may have slightly different requirements. For example, Facebook and Instagram require that your account is authentic, complete, unique and notable. The first three requirements are pretty straightforward, but most people struggle with the notability requirement. And that’s why I hope to shed some light here.
Related: How I Got Verified on Instagram Without Being Famous
Notability criteria explained
What happens when you submit your account for verification is that an online Google search will take place to determine your “notability.” In the case of Instagram, for example, to be considered “notable,” you should be well-known, highly searched for or important enough to be talked about (ie, be featured in multiple news outlets). There are many articles online that also mention this point of media coverage to “explain” the notability criteria — but very little clarification is given for what this really entails.
Basically, to increase your chance of passing the notability criteria, you, your business or brand should be featured in the media and meet the following requirements:
News outlets only: The media outlet should be a news outlet. While there are many sizable online publications out there, not every publication is considered a news outlet. Some are actually blogs and therefore won’t qualify for this criteria. One way to check is to see if your article actually appears under Google’s News tab. The key here is to have a lot of articles about your business showing up under Google’s News tab.
No sponsored or paid content: Your articles cannot be sponsored or paid media placements. If you pay close attention to the different articles on online publications, you will find that some are labeled “sponsored,” “paid content” or similar. Some companies think they can do a “PR burst” and issue a press release via a press newswire and publish it on hundreds of sites. But sorry, these kinds of articles are essentially useless. They are seen as sponsored content and therefore not eligible for the notability requirement.
Recency of news: There should be enough recent news articles about you or your brand. If you have been sporadically featured in the news over the years, it will be very difficult to convince the social media platform that you are a notable user. Notable people or brands are consistently talked about and not less frequent than earthquakes, so to speak.
Full features: The articles should be full-length stories exclusively written about you or your business — for example, interviews or in-depth stories about your business or products. Brand mentions (ie, stories in which your brand is only quoted as an example or reference) do not qualify.
Adequate number of articles: As a rule of thumb, it’s recommended to aim for at least ten recent full feature articles about your brand or business online. If you can get more, great! But otherwise, slightly more than one Google search result page will suffice.
Given these conditions, unless you have been consistently featured in the news, the process of obtaining the blue badge will clearly pose a challenge. Hence, you may want to consider investing in PR activities or hiring a publicist to help you build a strong online presence and become “notable-worthy.” Social media verification might take some effort and investment, but given its exclusive benefits, it’s very well worth it.
Related: Instagram’s Verification Self-Submission Form Update Allows for a More Complete Verification Request