Most lawyers use social media services like Twitter in some fashion, but they could be doing more to protect the credibility and accountability of their social media accounts. One of the ways to do that is verification of those accounts.
A blue checkmark on Twitter indicates that a social media account is verified, demonstrating that Twitter has established the authenticity of the organization or individual running the account.
On top of feeding verified users’ egos, the verification system does have practical purposes. From a marketing perspective, a verified Twitter account can increase your visibility and appeal. The verified badge also ensures users know what they’re reading comes from a credible, authentic source.
Since Twitter personnel are the only ones who can grant the official checkmark icon, it certifies that the verified accounts are actually the people or organization that they say they are. This increases confidence in your account’s authenticity and even holds the potential to protect the security of potential clients who try to reach out to bogus accounts. Twitter is rife with fake accounts, and online impersonation of lawyers does happen (in which case you can report it to Twitter.)
Twitter has verified accounts since 2009 but generated verification badges for high-profile accounts automatically rather than accepting verification requests from users. Twitter only recently created an online application process that lets any user submit a verification request.
A word of caution: verifying your individual professional account can possibly bolster your credibility. However, verification is probably not a wise option if your individual account is dominated by tweets about when you brush your teeth rather than information of interest to potential clients.
Getting Ready to Verify
Twitter requires some basic information to be eligible for a verified account. Before beginning the submission process, you should make sure that all of that information is complete and up-to-date.
To be eligible for review by Twitter, the account must contain the minimum requirements:
Twitter also recommends that your profile photo and header should show the branding of your firm or an individual profile photo, depending on whether you are verifying your organization or an individual account. Importantly, your account name should be either your real name or the real name of your law firm. Your Twitter handle can still be anything you want, but you should make sure you are happy with it before submitting a quest for verification since changing the handle of a verified account puts you at risk for losing the blue checkmark completely and having to go through the verification process all over again.
Steps to Apply for Verification
One that housekeeping is out of the way, you’re ready to apply for verification. You can do that by filling out Twitter’s account verification request form.
The Twitter username is the account that you are logged into and submitting for verification. You should check the box if the Twitter username is your law firm or organization account. With the exception of checking the box, most of the remaining steps are the same whether you are requesting to verify an individual or organization account.
Twitter may ask that you upload a scanned picture of a photo ID during the application process, but a cell phone photo of what’s in your wallet should suffice.
You will also need to provide links to at least two links to web pages that Twitter can use to help identify you and show that your account is of “public interest.” These links can include anything from your law firm’s blog or homepage to additional articles in industry publications and other public speaking experience.
You will also need to provide a brief reason why your account should be verified. You get 500 characters maximum for that, which seems lengthy in comparison to Twitter’s 140-character limit. This is an opportunity to talk about your work and the impact it has. After you submit, the waiting process begins.
Congratulations! You’re well on the road to becoming Twitter verified.
Twitter will respond to your request by email, which generally happens within a few business days. Whether or not you qualify for verification is ultimately up to the discretion of Twitter personnel. If Twitter denies your request, you can submit another request in 30 days, which provides ample opportunity to continue updating your profile with valuable information and building your connections in order to try again for that blue checkmark.
Although some big law firms still don’t tweet, that is rapidly changing along with the boom of technology. As more and more legal professionals capitalize on having a presence on social media, it is critical to online credibility to help ensure potential customers, as well as other professionals, know who they are engaging with. The recent changes to Twitter’s verification process present a prime opportunity. If you haven’t already, it’s time to consider verifying your Twitter account.