Now’s Your Chance to Be a Twitter Influencer
Singer and actor Will Smith is an influencer. Yet, when I searched for his verified Twitter account recently, I got nowhere. Twitter wants to change that for brands like Smith and influencers, in general. So on Tuesday, the social media network many marketers use to communicate with customers announced an open application process.
Marketers can fill out an online form for Twitter in order to be considered for its blue check of approval on the applicant’s account.
The benefit of a brand being an influencer or leveraging influencers became more clear with research released in April by TapInfluence.
"WhiteWave Foods ... makers of Silk, International Delight ..., Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) and TapInfluence announced the results of the first-ever study that shows sales ROI" on an influencer campaign, according to a research spokeswoman's email to Target Marketing. "The results are impressive: Consumers who viewed WhiteWave’s influencer marketing campaign content bought 10 percent more product than those who didn’t. NCS also calculated that WhiteWave’s campaign returned $1.98 for every $1 spent, and $285 of incremental sales per 1,000 page views, blowing traditional digital ad results out of the water."
Silk used 250 fitness and food influencers to persuade consumers to set meat aside and pursue a plant-based diet.
In order to be considered for a verified account, marketers need to have the following already included in their accounts:
- A verified phone number
- A confirmed email address
- A bio
- A profile photo
- A header photo
- A birthday (for accounts that are not company, brand or organization accounts)
- A website
- Tweets set as public in “Tweet privacy settings”
Here’s what happens to individuals who don’t meet these requirements:
What Qualifies as ‘of Public Interest’?
Verified accounts need to be of what Twitter considers “public interest.”
Meaning, according to the Twitter blog post about this announcement: “Typically, this includes accounts maintained by public figures and organizations in music, TV, film, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business and other key interest areas.
“Our goal with this update,” the post by unverified Tina Bhatnagar (@tinab) continues, “is to help more people find great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for creators and influencers — no matter where they are in the world — to easily connect with a broader audience.”
Twitter provides a few more clues on the “request to verify an account” page:
- If the account belongs to a person, the name reflects the real or stage name of the person.
- If the account is a corporation or company account, the name reflects the real name of the corporation or company.
- The profile and/or header photo reflects the person, the corporation’s branding or the company’s branding.
- If the account is a corporate or company account, the email address associated with the account is a corporate or company email address. [Author’s note: It’s unclear if domains will be considered, as they were for Google’s Author information. In Target Marketing’s case, for instance, Google had trouble understanding that email accounts reflected the umbrella company’s branding: firstname.lastname@example.org for “NAPCO Media.” We followed Google's alternate application process for domain names that didn't match.]
- We’ll ask you to tell us why we should verify an account. If the account represents a person, we want to understand their impact in their field. If it represents a corporation or company, let us know their mission.
- When providing URLs to support your request, choose sites that help express the account holder’s newsworthiness or relevancy in their [sic] field.
- We may request that you scan and upload a legible copy of your government-issued ID (such as a passport or driver’s license) to confirm your identity.
Would the Real Will Smith Please Stand Up?
What’s unclear, though, is what will happen with similar user names and brand names. For instance, when I searched in May for Smith’s handle during his keynote at the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit in Las Vegas, I got this:
One of these accounts is already verified but is not, as is obvious, the singer and actor associated with “Independence Day.” The verified Will Smith, though, doubtlessly influences bowling enthusiasts.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.