Twitter started verifying accounts — public agencies and famous people who faced a risk of impersonation — back in mid 2009. The “verified” badge, a white checkmark inside a cyan clover, is a symbol of credibility and stamp of authenticity most commonly associated with celebrity accounts like Lady Gaga and politicians like Barack Obama.
About a year ago, Twitter opened its verification process to everyone, but by late 2010 the public program had been abruptly and mysteriously axed. And yet recently, in the month of February, both Charlie Sheen and Howard Stern got their accounts verified within days of joining Twitter — even Stern’s limo driver bears the badge.
Twitter is being very cagey about the current state of its verified program. “Other than partnering or advertising with us, we cannot divulge our verification eligibility requirements,” a spokesperson told The Financial Brand in an interview.
So if you want to get your financial institution’s Twitter account verified, good luck. Twitter says it is “verifying some trusted sources,” meaning international superstars and their advertising partners. But unless your financial institution is big enough to team with Twitter (whatever that may involve), you can pretty much forget about getting your account verified.
It’s unfortunate that verified status isn’t available more widely, especially for financial institutions. With the rise in social CRM, consumers need as many tools as possible to confirm the accounts for the companies they seek service from.
If your organization is set on obtaining a verification badge, Twitter says you’ll need to demonstrate a history of problems with an imposter. Would Twitter consider granting you verified status if someone at an internet café created an account that looked like yours and started sending tweets to your customers? Perhaps. To file your request, you’ll need an account that is both public and actively tweeting.
26 Accounts for Banks and One Credit Union Verified
Twitter has been verifying the accounts of more and more financial institutions lately — presumably all Twitter advertisers and partners — with BofA and Citi being two of the first. The Financial Brand culled through the list of Twitter’s 7,557 verified accounts and found among them a total of 26 banks and one credit union.
The Financial Brand tracks Twitter accounts for some 319 banks (listed here) and 760 credit unions (listed here and here). Only 2.5% of these 1,079 accounts from financial institutions have been verified by Twitter, with at least one account verified as recently as February 2011.
BofA has the most verified accounts of any bank or credit union, with seven bearing the verified badge. Anne Finucane, Global Strategy & Marketing Officer for BofA, also has a verified Twitter account.
|Company||Twitter Account||Followers||Account Created|
|Alliant Credit Union||@AlliantCU||2,147||November 5, 2009|
|Amex||@AmericanExpress||119,960||May 26, 2009|
|Amex||@OPENForum||40,140||June 25, 2009|
|Amex||@AskAmex||7,955||August 4, 2009|
|BofA||@BofA_Help||13,692||January 7, 2009|
|BofA||@BofA_Careers||7,270||February 5, 2010|
|BofA||@BofA_News||2,130||October 25, 2010|
|BofA||@BofA_Tips||933||November 5, 2009|
|BofA||@BofA_Community||605||October 19, 2010|
|BofA||@BofA_Relo||4||October 12, 2010|
|BofA||@BofA_Speakers||120||June 7, 2010|
|Bank of Scotland||@BankOfScot_help||143||September 28, 2010|
|Chase Giving||@ChaseGiving||8,238||February 11, 2010|
|Citi||@Citi||5,446||October 2, 2009|
|Citi||@AskCiti||4,155||October 13, 2009|
|Commonwealth||@NetBank||2,691||March 16, 2010|
|Discover||@Discover||17,063||September 5, 2008|
|Fidelity||@Fidelity||6,908||August 12, 2009|
|Halifax||@Halifax_Online||1,376||September 23, 2010|
|Lloyds TSB||@LloydsTSBOnline||1,867||May 25, 2010|
|MasterCard||@MasterCardNews||4,555||April 30, 2009|
|SunTrust||@AskSunTrust||1,256||August 24, 2009|
|TD Canada||@TD_Canada||3,004||March 31, 2010|
|Wachovia||@Wachovia||8,367||April 11, 2008|
|Wells Fargo||@Ask_WellsFargo||6,868||March 6, 2009|
|Wells Fargo||@WellsFargo||6,619||March 14, 2007|
|Westpac||@westpac||3,793||May 7, 2008|
Out of Twitter’s 175 million registered accounts, 90 million of them — more than half — have zero followers, and 56 million follow no one themselves. Only 56 million (32%) follow more than eight other Twitter accounts, while just 36 million (21%) follow 16 or more people on the service.
What Can You Do Instead?
There is one way you can reassure Twitter users that they are indeed following the right account. On your Twitter profile, you should link to a special page at your website, like yourwebsite.com/twitter or yourwebsite.com/socialmedia. And then at your special page, list all your official social media pages including Twitter and Facebook. This creates a self-resolving verification “loop.”
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