Jonathan and Drew Scott in rear seat of a car.
From left, Jonathan and Drew Scott. Photo: Scott Brothers Entertainment.

Published: November 19th, 2014

It’s just a little blue checkmark on your account, but getting that elusive graphic alongside your Twitter profile is coveted by many.

Its practical purpose of a “verified” account in the eyes of Twitter is to affirm to its users that they’ve reached an official account for a well-known celebrity, creative property, or company. Users don’t have to worry about whether they’re actually interacting with a spoof account instead of the real deal. But for many who want to be verified, it’s a subtle marker of being part of the “in-crowd” – an acknowledgement that you must be important enough for Twitter to care that you should be verified as being who you say you are.

So how does one attain this desirable marker of authenticity? The question was posed to Luke Stringer, the head of research for Twitter Canada, at NextMedia’s conference in Toronto earlier this month.

“Twitter has a way of verifying the accounts that it feels should be verified,” he says. It might also be worth an inquiry placed with Twitter’s media team.

Hardly a cut and dried path to verification. But perhaps some more insight can be gleaned from Drew and Jonathan Scott, the executive producers of Scott Brothers Entertainment that shared the same panel and are stars of Property Brothers, a reality TV show.

Both the brothers are verified on Twitter and Drew says that it counts for a lot. Fans will hesitate to mention a star’s account if they’re not sure it’s the official one, he says.

Both the Scott brothers spend some advertising dollars on promoted tweets, Drew added, and that helps to grease the wheels of getting verified.

Stringer didn’t comment on that notion.

Aside from speculation the magic formula to attain verification, the panel offered several other Twitter tips that reality TV stars and marketers alike can apply to their own practice:

  • Organic content with an authentic voice is the way to connect with your audience, Drew says. The Scott brothers hired several firms to execute on social media – some charging as much as $15,000 – but found they weren’t effective. When they started contributing directly, that’s when they really saw results. “If I take a goofy photo and post it, and made it sound like something that came from the heart, that’s what fans were sharing,” he says.
  • Organizing incoming tweets on the website can become too onerous. Use software to help manage the conversation and hone in on the messages that you really care about by filtering with a hash tag, key words, or your brand’s mentions. The Scott brothers have a dedicated person in the office just for social media monitoring and they use Sprout Social to handle the influx of messages.
  • If you’re also doing TV advertising, don’t view Twitter as a completely separate platform. In fact, using Twitter can help to extract more value for your TV advertising, Stringer says. “There’s definitely a growing body of evidence that suggests the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.”
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