For businesses and high-profile individuals, using Twitter can be a great benefit. It’s a way to reach out and connect with millions of users on a short-form blogging platform, and it carries a great deal of marketing and advertisement potential. It is also a site filled with people who may choose, for one reason or another, to create an impersonation account. Occasionally these are malicious but most fall into the realm of parody. Even so, it is a problem that Twitter acknowledges and solves with the Verification process. Becoming a Twitter Verified User adds a badge to your profile that tells users you are who you say you are. How do you become a Verified User?
Step 1: Prepare
First, you need to set up your Twitter account the way you like it. Changing profile information once you are verified, unfortunately, has a tendency to remove the verification, causing you to go through the whole process again. This often includes your profile image, so make sure your logo or profile picture is set up exactly how you want it.
Now you need to determine whether or not you even qualify for verification. Twitter has a policy to minimize the number of users with verified status; this maintains the sanctity and power of the badge. In other words, the more verified users there are, the less it means to be verified. This is part of the reason it’s as difficult as it is to verify in the first place.
As a general rule, the more high-profile a person or business you are, the more likely you are eligible for verification. It helps if you spend a significant amount of time and money on Twitter advertising. If your likeness is used for multiple accounts, where other individuals are impersonating or parodying you and your work, you’re also more likely to be eligible for verification. On the other hand, your follower count does not matter; you could have ten or a million followers and it would make no difference.
If you are not eligible for verification, you still have a few alternatives. Ensure your Twitter account links to your official website, and that your official site links to your Twitter account, to add another layer of verification for potential followers.
Step 2: Gather Information and Contact Twitter
In order to verify successfully, you will need to provide a reasonable amount of information to prove your identity. This information includes:
- Your Twitter account name
- Your full name (or the name of your business)
- Your geographical location, usually of your home base in the case of multiple locations
- A link to your official website, ideally with the Twitter logo posted to speed up verification
- A small amount (160 characters or less) of biographical information
- The name of your primary contact or account manager (whoever manages the account on a day to day basis)
- Additional contact information if Twitter asks for it
Having this information on hand will make the process easier.
Once you have this information handy, it’s time to initiate the process. You will need to sign in to your Twitter account and send a direct message to the Verified Accounts Twitter account.
Step 3: Wait
Verification is a process that is performed manually on Twitter’s end. This means they have a very high volume of people requesting verification, and they need to individually identify, analyze and verify the information given to them. Even if you provide all of the required information up front, you might have to wait a significant amount of time before they reach your message in their inbox. The actual verification process may take weeks. However, Twitter typically sends a brief message acknowledging your intent to verify and stating that they will be investigating.
If you receive no communication what so ever from Twitter, you might try an alternative method of contact. Twitter has a physical contact address posted, and you can send them a verification message physically through that address.
Be sure to keep in mind the possibility that your account might not be verified. Twitter is trying to keep verification limited to a select few users, typically high profile celebrities and businesses. Think about why you are attempting verification. If your reason is to rise above parody and impersonation accounts, you may be able to take action against those accounts instead. If you are attempting verification simply to claim that status for your small business account, you are unlikely to pass the process.
Step 4: Proceed
If you have received a message from Twitter saying that you are eligible for verification, congratulations. It is now time to proceed with the verification process. You will need to take part in three lessons from Twitter in order to finish verification.
The first lesson is known as “Learn how to Tweet Effectively,” is a lesson in proper tweet formation and etiquette. It presents you with a series of sample tweets and asks you to choose the more effective message. Most social media managers, whether operating as a business employee or a celebrity social manager, will already know how to form effective messages online. This quiz, then, is surprisingly easy. There is a right and a wrong answer, but there is no penalty for choosing the wrong option.
The second lesson is titled “Connect with Other Interesting Twitter Users” and involves exactly that. You are provided with suggested users you can follow, all of whom are verified. The idea is that your account looks more trustworthy when other verified users are connected with you.
The third and most important lesson is “Protect your Account.” This lesson is simply Twitter asking for an emergency contact phone number as an additional layer of security. It is the only lesson of the three that matters for verification, in that you will not be verified until you provide that contact number to Twitter.
Step 5: Enjoy Verification
If you have reached this far in the process, you are now a verified Twitter user. This is a rare status bestowed only upon a very few, so treat it as its importance deserves. Your account now has a verified badge on display. However, this badge is easy to lose. If you change any of your information — location, display name, profile picture — you will lose your verification and need to go through the process again.
If you do lose your verification, don’t worry. Simply send another direct message to Twitter to ask about re-verification. Because your account was verified once, it will be easier to verify a second time, but the process is not automatic.
As a verified Twitter user, you have an additional layer of protection against impersonators. This security can be bolstered by including Twitter links on your main webpage, to demonstrate that the verified account is yours.
If you did not succeed in verification, don’t worry. Twitter has a record of your interest and, if the criteria change and you meet them, you will be contacted about verification. The process is the same, but you will not need to wait for Twitter to get back to you; they already offered you the upgrade.