How I Got Verified On Twitter (With Only 500 Followers) And How You Can Too

I woke up on Monday, checked my Twitter, and there it was: A blue check next to my name.

I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning. I told my wife and she said, “It’s only a stupid check, who cares?”

I do and so should you. It's important to be verified, it’s more than just a vanity thing.

If you're verified, it gives you credibility. Trust matters on social media and that’s why you should take the steps to get verified. A verified account lets people know that you're legit. If you have a common name like mine, it can help people find you, while it'll also help you get more followers.

So how did I do it with only 500 followers and how can you?

First you need to ensure your Twitter profile is filled out with all the following information:

  • A verified phone number and email address - If you have a high profile job, own your own company, have your own successful blog, etc. use your work email address. Don’t use your Gmail or other personal email address unless you have to.
  • A profile bio - This is harder than you’d think. You've got to brag, which most people aren't good at. On the other hand, you don't want to look like an ass. Use the biggest job title possible. If you started a company (even if you’re the only employee and don’t make any money yet), you're the 'CEO and founder'. If you're going to use hashtags in your bio, use them sparingly. I can't stress this enough - Have you ever seen a profile like this? 'Bob Smith: #Influencer #ThoughtLeader #Digital Media #Marketing'. If Bob really was an influencer, do you think he'd hashtag it? Keep your profile simple and tag the most high profile accounts that you are associated with. I'd tag @Forbes. It's OK to have some fun. You can throw in that you're a coffee addict or a corgi lover, just don't go overboard.
  • A profile photo - Look at a celebrity’s profile picture. It looks great right? That’s probably because they’re using a professionally shot photo. Don't use a poorly lit selfie, take some time to choose and image which reflects you in the best possible light. Also it's worth ensuring you stay on brand. If you’re a fitness guru, you should probably be wearing workout clothes in your pic. If you're a corporate executive, you should probably be wearing a suit.
  • A header image - You should consider using a picture of yourself showing off your superpowers. Use a picture of you onstage shredding the guitar, giving a speech in front of hundreds of people, etc.
  • Your birthday - You were born right?
  • A website - This should reflect your profession; the reason you should be verified. Ideally, you have a personal website/blog that you can use, but you can also use a link to your YouTube channel, your company, your band’s site, etc.
  • Public tweets - Set your Tweets as public in your privacy settings

Alright, that's the easy part - the most important verification elements come next.

Next, you need to head over to this link to start your verification application.

Here, you need to provide three things:

  • Show evidence of why you’re awesome - Twitter asks for URLs to support your application. You have to provide a minimum of two, but you’re allowed to give five. You should provide five, if you can. This is the most important part of the application process - it's all about the evidence. You can't just say you're an accomplished musician, or a great writer, you've got to show examples. Include links to articles about you. It also helps if you use different sources for your links - for example, I included a link to an article I wrote for Forbes and another link to an article I did for Social Media Daily. It’s also important to include at least one page that has a link to your Twitter account. I used my blog and my Forbes profile page, both of which have links to my Twitter account. You've got to prove to Twitter that your account is yours. If you meet the criteria for verification (that you’re of public interest) then you shouldn't have a problem finding five articles about yourself.
  • Show Twitter why you should be verified - Twitter then gives you 500 characters to sell yourself. Here, they're looking for you to demonstrate your impact in your chosen field - you don't need to have a cool job to get verified; you just need to prove that you’re at the top of your sector. Focus on the facts. Don't say that you need to get verified because you're afraid of impersonators (there's a separate section to report offenders) and don't mention that you've got a ton of followers, because that’s not a factor either. You need to show why you're of public interest. I said that I've had over thirty articles published in Forbes, that I’ve written for several publications, been interviewed for various podcasts, etc. I also mentioned how much I love Twitter, how often I create content, engage with readers, and participate in chats.
  • Photo ID - You also need to provide a form of photo identification to confirm you're identity. This information is deleted after your application is assessed. 

Finally, before you click submit, check to make sure that you've been active on Twitter recently. Make sure you're posting at least a couple of times a day, submitting good content, interacting with people, and contributing to the conversation. And most importantly just be cool; no one wants to verify a jerk.

This article originally appeared in Forbes on April 8, 2017.  To read the full article, click here.