Ongoing breakdown of what verified means creates huge risks right now.
As the CEO of Digijaks Group, LLC and an expert in cybersecurity and reputation defenses, I’ve seen firsthand how the breakdown of the term “verified” in social media can lead to a clusterf*ck of problems for individuals and businesses alike.
In this post, we’ll explore the issue and provide some solutions for verifying online presence without relying solely on social media.
The problem with “verified” on social media is that it can mean different things on different platforms. For example, on Twitter, a blue checkmark next to your username means you’ve been not verified by the platform, and only a phone number used. In fact, a blue checkmark on Twitter no longer means a person or organization is real. But on Facebook and Instagram, a blue checkmark means the account is “authentic” and verified by the platform. Linkedin is getting ready to roll out its own verification plan, and so are many other social media platforms.
This lack of consistency can lead to confusion and even deception. For example, a competitor could create a fake account with a similar name and use a similar profile picture, tricking customers into thinking it’s the real deal. This can hurt businesses whose names are their brands and rely on social media for marketing and customer engagement.
So, what can businesses and individuals do to verify their online presence without relying solely on social media?
- Register your domain name – Registering a domain name for your business or personal brand is a crucial step in establishing your online presence. It not only gives you a professional email address but also helps establish trust with potential customers and clients. Additionally, owning a derivative of your domain name, such as misspellings or different extensions, can help prevent others from capitalizing on your brand.
- Build a professional website – A professional website can act as a hub for all of your online activity. It not only gives customers a place to learn about your business but also provides a platform for publishing content and engaging with your audience. Having a website also increases the chances of appearing in search results, thus giving you more visibility.
- Use online directories – Online directories like Yelp, Google My Business can help establish your business’s legitimacy and improve your search rankings. Be sure to claim and optimize your listings and encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
- Leverage non-traditional social media platforms – While the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are important for building an online presence, it’s also worth considering using non-traditional platforms like Medium, YouTube, and of course LinkedIn. These platforms can give you more visibility, credibility and allow you to reach a different audience.
- Own your name and brand across all major platforms – Even if you don’t plan on actively using a particular platform, it’s important to claim your username or handle to prevent others from using it. This also helps ensure consistency across all platforms, making it easier for customers to find you and for search engines to recognize you as a legitimate business.
In conclusion, the breakdown of the term “verified” in social media can lead to confusion and deception, but there are ways to establish and verify your online presence beyond social media. Registering your domain name, building a professional website, using online directories, leveraging non-traditional social media platforms, and owning your name and brand across all major platforms are all important steps in establishing credibility and trust with customers and clients.