A common challenge that prominent public figures and popular brands face is having to deal with copycat and impostor social media accounts. While fans and customers are generally able to tell the difference, some fake accounts make it really difficult to do so. This can lead to inaccurate information being shared and, as a result, confused or frustrated consumers.
Fortunately some social networks have been proactive in helping people find the authentic accounts of celebrities and other high-profile people and businesses through verified accounts. Often accompanied by a specific icon — in Facebook’s case, a blue checkmark — that symbol tells viewers that the account they’re looking at belongs to that person or brand.
Although changes are rarely made to these accounts, some social networks are beginning to offer exclusive services to verified account holders. This week it was revealed that admins of verified Facebook Pages will receive a new edit option, allowing them to make changes to link and text-only posts. Editing capabilities rolled out last year for personal accounts, but now verified Pages are able to do so as well.
If you notice an error in a published link post, just click on the drop-down arrow in the top right corner of that post and select edit. Previously Pages could edit certain types of posts, such as photos, but now this capability appears to be available on all posts. The downside to this is that not all Facebook Pages will have access to this option, and you cannot request verification at this time.
Instead, the company recommends that you publish the URL to your Facebook Page on your official website and blog. This will serve as a way for visitors to double-check the authenticity of your page, dispelling any confusion. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that the information in your About section matches what’s shared on your website or blog.
Here are three other social media platforms that offer verification services that you should also be interested in.
Twitter has long offered the ability to verify your account. The company proactively verifies accounts and concentrates on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas. Currently verification requests from the general public aren’t being accepted. If you’re chosen to be a verified account, the Twitter account @verified will contact you.
Once you have your blue verified badge, you’ll be given access to a special feature that lets you better manage the large number of incoming conversations on the platform. As a verified user you can toggle between mentions in three different categories: all, filtered, and verified. Selecting “filtered” will show mentions based on an algorithm Twitter uses to filter out spam. Choosing “verified” means you’ll only see mentions from other verified accounts.
Additionally, visitors to your Twitter Profile will have the option of viewing your timeline with or without replies. Sometimes replies to mentions can crowd your timeline, making it difficult to see other tweets that might be more interesting. By default, “No replies” is selected, but people can choose to view your complete timeline by clicking “All.”
Pinterest verification differs slightly in that anyone can do it. That doesn’t mean that anyone can say that they own your website, but it’s not limited to a particular subset of Pinterest members. To get started, visit your Settings page and click on the Verify Website button. There are currently two ways to verify your website: by HTML file upload or with HTML meta tags.
Right now you can only verify top-level domains, such as www.example.com, or a subdomain like www.example.example.com. If you have a Tumblr or Blogspot blog, check out this documentation provided by Pinterest to guide you through the verification process. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, a red checkmark will appear next to your website on your profile page once it has been verified.
Verified accounts also get access to Pinterest Analytics. By default you’ll first land on Site Metrics, where you’ll be able to view the daily average of pins and repins from your website, as well as impressions, reach, clicks, and visitors. You can also check out the most recent pins to come from your site, your most repinned pins, and the most clicked. Analytics can be exported to a .CSV file for easy sharing with your team.
Google+ Page verification shows that Google recognizes the connection between your Google+ Page and your official website. Similar to Twitter and Facebook, Google will contact you if your page meets its qualifications for verification. That said, businesses can still request verification for Google+ Local Pages. You will have two verification options: by postcard or by phone.
If you choose by postcard, you’ll be asked to verify that your address is displayed accurately on your postcard before clicking send. Once you receive your postcard, enter your PIN number from your dashboard to verify your business. If you’d rather not wait, and we recommend that you don’t, select verification by phone. You’ll need to make sure that you have access to your business phone number to receive your PIN through an automated message.
We’re not aware of any special treatment offered by Google for verified Google+ Pages or Local Pages; however, it’ll help your visitors feel confident that they’ve arrived at the correct web destination when looking for your business.
If you haven’t verified any of your social media profiles and are eligible to do so, we recommend that you take action right away. If you’re at all concerned about fake profiles impersonating you, your business or your brand, look for that platform’s contact information or details on how to report fake accounts.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.