Want Your Twitter Account Verified Like These 27 Financial Institutions?

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. 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

The US Treasury Department and Google’s Financial News stream are among the accounts Twitter has deemed worthy of verification.

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.”

On the Westpac Twitter page, the bank links to westpac.com.au/twitter
so users can verify the right account.

At westpac.com.au/twitter, the bank lists twitter.com/westpac as its official account.

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