Grasshopper, I went through a lot to get this information for you. I called in favors and shook every tree to find someone who could give me the real scoop.
There is so much misinformation out there about what it takes to get verified and I didn’t want to mislead you. Moreover, the “guidelines” that have been made public, are so vague and subjective that I wanted to find someone to clarify things.
Not a day goes by, that I don’t get at least a couple of emails asking me about how to get verified on social media.
Before we get into what you need to get verified, let’s go over what you don’t need…
You do not need millions of followers.
You do not need to be a world famous public figure.
You do not need tons of cash to bribe someone on the inside to get you verified.
This is all you need…
There are a number of reasons that accounts get verified but many of them are not what you may think.
You can also take many different routes to get verified, but some may take longer than others, there may be barriers to entry, or some may even be too difficult to take on at this time.
For example, I have a friend who is a junior editor at Entrepreneur Magazine Online. Her main job is to curate content and provide guidance on future stories. She doesn’t actually do any writing herself.
Junior editor sounds like a mid level managerial role, but truthfully (and not detracting from her accomplishments) there are several dozen junior editors on staff there.
In fact, she sits in a tiny cubicle and doesn’t even have her own office. But, guess what she does have…
That elusive blue checkmark!
See, high profile companies like this want their employees to be verified so that no one can impersonate even a junior editor and go on a Twitter rant or post photos that may cause harm to the company.
On day 1 of her job, she got a tiny cubicle and an extension. On day 2, she got her blue checkmarks.
Since it involves getting a job at a high profile company, this route may be somewhat difficult to accomplish, but it’s probably the easiest if you see an opportunity (since verification is basically automatic). You will need to land a job with a high profile company that will at least give you an @entrepreneur.com (for example) email address.
I doubt you’d get one of these in the mail room, but just about everyone above ground gets a company email address.
On to the more tangible ways of getting verified.
There’s currently no option to apply for verification on any of the networks, but there are ways “around it”
PR companies have access to a media partners dashboard with the ability to apply for verification on behalf of their clients. If you have the budget for it, then by all means, go shopping for PR representation.
My source on the inside, who spoke to me on condition of complete anonymity let me in on something that was incredibly valuable. There have been many crackdowns because of employees getting their friends verified and playing favorites on who gets verified and who doesn’t, so I was asked to not even use gender-specific pronouns (he or she) to protect their identity to the max.
They said, “in our internal guidelines [not the vague public ones], we have to judge whether anyone could be harmed if they were impersonated on our network. It has very little to do with the amount of followers or even how long you have been using the network.”
That’s why you see some brand new accounts getting verified with only a few hundred followers. While other accounts that have been around forever and have a few hundred thousand followers are still unverified.
Here’s why. In the event that something were to happen, the responsibility will always flow upstream.
This is how my inside source explained it, “if someone were to create an account like @TheRealBradPitt (that’s just an example and I’m sure that’s already taken) and he started sweet talking people online and asked them to send him money because he was stuck at the airport with no cash, after leaving his wallet at his other mansion the social media network used to be responsible for that and they settled thousands of cases like this. The lawyers argued that the network should have done more to make sure it was really Brad Pitt that owned the account. That’s when the verification started.”
Because the networks now verify who the real Brad Pitt is, they are no longer liable because “you should have known better and noticed that there wasn’t a blue checkmark.”
This makes getting verified rather simple. You just need to show reasonable damage that could be caused if someone impersonated you. This is why public figures get verified, but even having a one liner in a major picture could open the studio to hard decisions if someone impersonating you went off the rails and started tweeting craziness.
Maybe this has already happened to you at some point. That could be cause for your verification to be approved.
This is the single most important factor to being verified.
They also said that, even though you can’t “apply” you can indirectly open a case for verification. You can email support stating your case about why you need to be verified and what harm could be caused if you’re not.
You can also submit feedback through the Instagram app, also with the same information. This will indirectly open a case file for your verification.
Aside from the that, the rest of what you have probably already seen elsewhere online applies.
Make sure that your profile is completely filled out and that you have verified your email address and your phone number.
A custom banner always helps, along with keeping your profile photo up to date constantly.
Keep in mind that all of the networks want to be your #1 choice. So if you’re tweeting or posting once a month, not much of an argument can be made for giving you verification. Be sure that you are using the network more than the average person.
They also want to see momentum, though they won’t penalize you for being an up and comer. If you’re growing even a little bit but doing it steadily, they will take note of that during the verification process.
If you can be seen elsewhere online, then that improves your chances dramatically according to my source.
If you’re a public figure and have mainline articles written about you, or if you have a Wikipedia page that’s even better.
As an actor, guess where they will look?
You can’t make an argument about needing verification to protect your acting career when your IMDb STARmeter is over 100K!
If that’s not where it should be, here’s a quick fix.
You have to make sure that when you’re being evaluated for verification, your credentials match your goals.
Remember you don’t have to sit around and wait for the networks to choose you, but I have seen many actors chosen for verification simply because their industry credentials created the need for verification.
So grasshopper, while I can’t wave a magic wand and get you verified I have given you what it really takes to get verified on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, straight from the source.
The only other way I can help, is by helping you make your case stronger through your industry reputation. Not only will that help you with the verification process, it’s just a good career move anyway.
As always if you have any questions, let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email. I read every one that comes through.
See you at the top,