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under constructionScammers are alive and well in Internetland. So how do you let your customers and potential customers know your business is the REAL you (and not a Nigerian prince looking for some banking assistance)? From a social media perspective, getting verified is a quick and easy option for Facebook accounts, and it offers some real benefits for your business to boot.

 

You've probably seen the designations - a small circle with a grey or blue checkmark after the name of a business or public figure. But verifications are a little different based upon the type of page being verified:

  • Blue checkmark badge: authentic page or profile of a public figure (everyone from celebrities to politicians falls in this category), media company (CNN, NBC, etc.), or brand (this is another broad category, but is typically reserved for large, Fortune-listed companies)
  • Grey checkmark badge: the rest of the world, but only those pages Facebook has verified are legitimate businesses or organizations

The verification process is Facebook's way of vetting the pages that use its platform and providing end users with authentic interactions with the businesses, brands and entities they're searching. In short, it helps Facebook users get "social proof" of a brand and establish its credibility in their minds. Social proof is a power marketing mechanism - research shows 70% of consumers look to peer-supplied product reviews before making a decision to buy, and that product reviews are 12X more trusted than product descriptions supplied by the manufacturer or retailer. Right or wrong, social proof eases the minds of buyers, which is why it's an important step for small businesses to take on their pages.

Besides credibility and social proof, businesses also get the key benefit of having a higher ranking in Facebook searches for their business keywords. This is no small thing - Facebook sees over 2 billion searches per day, and the average person checks their Facebook account slightly less than 14 times per day. Getting your name to the top of the list and directly in front of these frequent and engaged users is a great way to build awareness and brand recognition.

Public figure/media/brand pages also get access to the Facebook Mentions application, which gives them more access to page functions on the go, easier live streaming, and better sharing capabilities. While these would be awesome tools for those of us who aren't celebrities, there's no indication from Facebook that this app will be made available to lowly mortals and regular business users anytime soon.

So how do you get your page verified? The process for most businesses is fairly simple:

  1. Access your Page's settings
  2. At the top of the General setting list (second or third, depending on page type), is the Page Verification listing
  3. Unverified Pages will have an edit option to "Verify This Page" (Verfied pages will show "Page Verified")
  4. Click to verify your page
  5. You'll be given two options - verify by phone (suggested) or verify by other means. For most businesses, verify by phone is the way to go
  6. Type in your business phone number listed on your Facebook Page, and click to initiate the call. (It happens immediately!) Listen for a 4-digit code in the phone call
  7. Enter the 4-digit code in the verfication screen on your Page's settings, and click verify.
  8. You should get a confirmation screen, and when you navigate back to your FB Page, see a small grey checkmark by your Page name

There are some instances where this automated call system doesn't work:

  • If you have a home business and the address listed is residential
  • If the phone number you use is primarily registered as a residential account or under a personal name (like a cell phone billed to Jane Doe, but used for Jane's Shoe Repair's Facebook Page)
  • If your phone answering system involves a recording, phone tree or the need for dial additional numbers to reach a live person

In any of these cases, the secondary verification process is the best option. Secondary verification is a manual review by Facebook staff to prove a business' authenticity. Secondary verification requires business incorporation documentation, third party billing paperwork, or other types of documentation to be uploaded to the Facebook verification tool to prove a company's identity. The documentation needed for this process can include:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Utility bills
  • Property tax bills
  • and other documentation that would show your business' name and address

Regardless of the process you undergo to verify your business, it's a must-do to provide authenticity to your online presence and build trust with your followers.