Apr 12, 2024

The Rise of the Verification Badge

June 27, 2023

The Rise of the Verification Badge

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you’ve probably heard about the massive controversy surrounding Twitter’s verification badge debacle. The TL;DR version is that ever since Elon Musk assumed ownership of the social media giant, the previous verification system has been replaced by a pay-to-play model.

Way back in the day, that famous blue check mark actually meant something. It was reserved for public figures and other celebrities as a way to elevate their voices and stop impersonators. Now for a mere $8 a month, you too can meet the eligibility requirements for your very own verification badge.

Shortly after Twitter Blue officially rolled out, Meta announced they too were coming out with a paid verification system for Facebook and Instagram. Even Google is getting in on the action with its Google Guaranteed badge that appears in search results. Although for that, your business needs to meet certain requirements to be eligible to apply.

The bottom line is, with all of the new ways to get “verified,” it can be a little overwhelming. You might be wondering if buying into the whole verification idea is the right move for your business, or if it’s just a bunch of hoopla. The IT experts at Blade are here to break it down for you.

 

How Verification Used to Work

Back in the ancient days of the internet, verification was a way of confirming truth during a time when it was easy to hide your identity (or impersonate someone else) online. The little blue tick, as it came to be known on Twitter, told you that the account you were viewing was indeed a real person. But even more than that, it gave prominent figures control of their own voice.

The verification process was no easy task. First, social media platforms would have to determine whether you were a person of sufficient influence to justify bestowing a verification badge upon you. Then, there was an application process.

In most cases, you’d need to adhere closely to community guidelines and your account would have to meet certain other requirements in order to qualify. For example, in the case of YouTube, Google would need to determine whether a person’s YouTube channel was of significant prominence in addition to having at least 100,000 subscribers prior to offering them verified status.

Back when verification was the rule of cool, getting your business verified on a social media platform meant that you’d made it. Now that anyone with deep pockets can join in the fun, it’s not as clear.

 

Should You Get Verified?

Verification is currently available on most social media channels, Google, and YouTube. You may be wondering if getting verified offers the same sorts of benefits it did previously for your business, or if it’s even worth the cost.

We’re here to give you five reasons why it’s still a good idea to get verified, and three reasons why it’s not.

 

Get Verified #1: Protect Your Brand

Although it’s a little more expensive than it used to be, at its core verification badges still perform the basic function of singling you out as authentic. If you’re worried about others impersonating your brand on social media or competitors trying to steal your share of voice, getting verified is worth the expense.

Get Verified #2: Increased Visibility

In business, anything you can do to stand out from the crowd in your industry is a plus. Verification allows your brand to stand tall. In addition, some platforms like Twitter even allow extra customization options for verified members such as a square profile photo that helps you make an impression in feeds.

Get Verified #3: Extra Features

Getting verified on some platforms unlocks a range of features not available to normal users. On Twitter, you get an extra tab on your profile allowing you to list affiliate accounts. On Facebook and Instagram, it allows access to exclusive stickers to use on videos and reels.

Get Verified #4: Keep Your Account Safe

At Blade, we’re all about internet security, including keeping your social media accounts locked down. While getting your social media accounts verified may not entirely eliminate the possibility of getting hacked, it can reduce the chance and increase recovery speed.

Both Facebook and Instagram require your accounts to be airtight before being eligible for verification. This includes setting up two-factor authentication. Some platforms even include active account monitoring.

Additionally, major changes to a verified profile have to go through a review and approval process before going live on some platforms, meaning even if malicious actors do get in, the potential damage they can do is significantly reduced.

Get Verified #5: It Can Increase Sales

Earlier we mentioned Google’s Guaranteed badge. This is a relatively new feature that allows local businesses to apply to become a Google Trusted Business. Businesses with this status get a nifty green checkmark next to their name in search engine results and appear even before paid search results. This means that getting Google Guaranteed will significantly increase the chances that your website will be the first result users see when searching for services in your industry.

It goes without saying that the higher you are in search, the more visibility your website has and the more conversion potential your business has. There are several criteria your account must meet to get a Google Guaranteed Badge. For more information on how to apply, check out this article from Google.

Don’t Get Verified #1: Verification Means Less

If everyone can get a verified badge, no one really has a verified badge. The once coveted blue checkmark is now available to anyone, including 16th-century theologian Martin Luther, the Hamburgler, and the devil (yes, seriously, all of these became verified accounts shortly after Twitter Blue launched). In a social media landscape in which impersonator accounts can get the blue verification mark, but the actual corporations lost theirs, verification just doesn’t hold as much water.

Don’t Get Verified #2: It Can Be Expensive

The biggest downside of the new world of verification badges we live in is that they now cost money in the form of monthly subscriptions. Some of these don’t cost much, like the lowest tier of Twitter Blue. But others can get pricey.

Facebook and Instagram verification costs $14.99 per mobile platform per service. You read that right. To get Meta verified, businesses are forced to subscribe to verification on Instagram and Facebook separately and get a different subscription for both iPhone and Android. It can quickly add up if you’re already spending your social media budget elsewhere.

Don’t Get Verified #3: It Might Not Last

Back in March of 2023, former Star Trek actor William Shatner was deeply embroiled in a bout of digital fisticuffs with Elon Musk. At issue was Twitter’s plan to begin removing verification check marks from individuals who had had them on the platform for years unless they agreed to pay for Twitter Blue.

While Elon Musk did eventually decide to have Twitter pay the subscription fee for celebrities he deemed of significant importance, it illustrates a point that is still lurking in the terms of service for verification subscriptions on multiple social media platforms: Everything is subject to change.

Everything is still in flux. If your business pays for a verification subscription today, you may find soon that the product you paid for no longer exists or has substantially changed. It might be a good idea to wait it out until the social media verification subscription offerings become more concrete.

 

Partner with a Leading St. Louis IT Firm

Have a pressing IT or cybersecurity question? Blade is here to help! As the leading IT consulting firm in St. Louis, we have the expertise and experience to help your business navigate the complex world of business technology. Contact us today for tools and solutions to keep your company running smoothly and hassle-free.

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