Ask any active Twitter user what their number one priority is, and it would having their account labeled with the prestigious blue badge. But how do you get it?
Having a verified account means automatically gaining a lot more respect than a normal account holder would, but getting a badge isn’t as easy as you may think unless you’re a proactive, trustworthy user that tweets high quality and very timely information. While there are minimum requirements that need to be met, there is no actual process or method to go about applying for a verified account. Twitter themselves will know whether you’re worthy or not, and will contact you if they feel you are up to par to wear the badge.
So what do you need to do to prep your account for consideration? Here are some tips:
Be a person of great interest in a certain arena
This includes categories such as music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, advertising, business, and other key interest areas. Essentially, you have to be someone who is highly sought after for news about a certain topic. For instance, if you focus on covering news about wars in the Middle East, Twitter has to see that hundreds or even thousands of people visit your account for up to the minute and accurate news reports and opinions about happenings in the Middle East.
If you’re looking to quickly work your way to getting a badge, focusing on a niche may be more effective than trying to be an all rounder since making a reputation for yourself in a wider circle would take much longer than just one or two particular fields of interest.
Building a reputation outside of Twitter is also very important. Suddenly spamming your timeline with effective and timely tweets won’t get you anywhere unless you have a following that trusts you based on tenure, accuracy, and public image both on and off Twitter. I’m not saying that you need to be a celebrity like Jay-Z or Madonna, but at least make a name for yourself on Twitter and within your industry for consideration.
Tweeting effectively/making your tweets visible to as wide an audience as possible
Other than the obvious fact that your account shouldn’t be protected, you should demonstrate that your tweets are effectively written to maximize its viewing potential.
Hash Tagging – Using the right hashtags is important to gaining potentially larger viewing covering. One thing you should avoid is hashtagging every possible word in the tweet (like what many Instagrammers are guilty of doing). If you’re #one #to #write #tweets #like #this, then you shouldn’t bother thinking about being considered for verification. If something new happens, either use a hashtag that seems relevant to the topic or use one that’s already gaining popularity. Keep your hashtags limited to one or two per tweet.
Use Media – Assuming you’re covering an event, viewers are more likely to get engaged if you provide visual references (video or still images) to go along with your tweets. Reading a tweet about a meteor shower with an attached photo strongly increases your chances of being retweeted and quoted versus those who simply say they saw passing meteors.
Timeliness – It’s also important that your tweets be relevant in terms of time. If I tweet about Apple announcing a new iPhone days after the actual event, there’s very little chance that anyone will care since they would have already gathered enough information from other sources (Twitter accounts, news publications, etc.). However if I were at the actual event and tweeted new features as they were announced (with the right hashtag, and possibly attached media), it increases my tweets’ chances of being retweeted and quoted by an exponential factor.
Be Unique – If you plan to cover a Justin Bieber concert, you will have to accept the fact that you would end up swimming in a sea of hundreds or even thousands of other reporters trying to make a name for themselves as well. It’s best to focus on something where there is less competition or where you know you can deliver some kind of content that is more unique than other tweeters.
Let’s say you were covering an earthquake that just took place in California, effective tweets would be something like this:
- Major rupture on Wilshire Blvd. Entire road impassible. #CaliforniaEarthquake
- Buildings destroyed on Mulholland Drive. No power either. (inserts picture here) #CaliforniaEarthquake
If I tweeted something like this:
- OMG, the whole of Wilshire Boulevard is destroyed.
- There are no lights on Mulholland Drive!
there’s a less likely chance that your tweets can be discovered outside of those who follow you. Of course Twitter’s search engine is very flexible beyond hashtags, but it’s still an effective way to focus your tweets to those who don’t follow you.
Following the right people? Maybe.
As mentioned before, Twitter verifies those accounts that they think have a trustworthy reputation, so connecting with other trustworthy people is definitely a way to boost your ratings. While trying to get Pete Cashmore or Perez Hilton to follow you is out of the question, you could target smaller, niche Twitter users (people, not company accounts) that are gaining traction in your field by following and interacting with them on an occasional to regular basis. Essentially, you’d be trying to build a circle of friends that also command some respect in your area of interest because it also makes you look good at the end of the day.
You can be verified for others reasons such as in a case where you already have quite a bit of respect and may be susceptible to being impersonated.
What about the average Joe trying to make it in the industry?
It comes down to active popularity.
A classic example would be Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Other than the fact that he operates a competing social network, he has only tweeted 19 times even though he has a following of over 213k. Even with his insanely popular reputation, his account hasn’t been verified because it isn’t a source of valuable information at the end of the day.
If you can prove that many people come to your account for up to the minute and accurate information, eventually Twitter will find a way to communicate with you via telephone or the famous @verified account to let you know that you have been considered for verification. Actually getting verified also requires a few steps to ensure that you’re up to par, but the questions are extremely easy, given that you’ve already established yourself as someone to be followed.
Hope this helps.