Instagram and TikTok verification: Sitetrail agency boss shares insights
Social media verification is a rising trend, not least because of the need to combat cybersecurity issues with hacked accounts – but also because of the lucrative influencer marketing industry which appeals to celebrities, businesses, organizations and people from all walks of life.
Sitetrail is perhaps the agency that assisted the most HNWI’s worldwide to obtain verification. We spoke to agency boss Adriaan Brits the CEO to gain insight on what is happening with account verification of various social media platforms and various related sites like More Likes. He had 7 insights to share:
TikTok verification rates have caught up with Instagram:
According to Adriaan “TikTok Verification success rates are now on par with that of Instagram Verification. We may have the advantage that some of our clients were first verified on Instagram and then came TikTok, but the point is both are now seeing more acceptable rates for people who meet the criteria”.
The main difference right now between the two rivals is that users cannot actually “apply” to TikTok as their algorithm detects users automatically when the right things are in place, whereas with Instagram, users have to apply to the platform once they have sufficient PR and meet other criteria. *It should be noted that journalistic verification in social media is where platforms attempt to verify the authenticity of news, which is rather different from profile verification which is discussed here.
Notability through authentic media is a key requirement for all platforms:
Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat, they all share one common requirement for verification and that is notability through media visibility. Adriaan says that “These platforms seek to mirror the real world, inasmuch as authentic news platforms want the same – so fortunately, the same set of PR articles will help for all platforms and users do not need to repeat the process for each social channel”.
Claims about “agency portal” and “guaranteed verification” should not be taken seriously:
It can be assumed that the handful of agencies who did handle verification support over the past 24 months since it became a trend, will arguably be in a position to know which accounts have the highest chance of verification. Sitetrail suggests using the official request instructions for Instagram Verification and familiarizing yourself with the official TikTok Verification statements made by the company.
Several factors can increase your chances of being verified:
Social media platforms are grappling with a surge of verification requests and in the case of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, human error in verification plays a role as they want to determine who to verify. TikTok on the other hand, automated the process. It seems like the question “How many followers should I have to get verified” does not have a fixed answer and it can be subjective to the platform and who the influencer is.
“From people who came to us, there were many who should have had verification as their cases were so obvious, yet they did not get it, and you can probably argue that some should not have gotten it or got it way too easy…” says Adriaan. He explained that “Based on probably the highest customer data set in the industry, I can say that we saw with Instagram, that three things helped people to get verified the first time: Either they took up more high-end media publications which costed more, or they already succeeded in having an IMDB actor profile, Wikipedia page or Best-Selling author status on Amazon.”
The adult industry is having a huge swipe alongside mainstream entertainment:
What is interesting is that influencers in the adult industry, like OnlyFans and AdultFriendFinder, Patreon and other users seem to be chasing verification with much success, yet Adriaan noted that “We see slightly lower verification rates for adult models, albeit that many of them are still successful. It comes down to helping them fix up their PR and if they are standing for a few good causes too, to make sure that the public knows that. These clients seek to drive traffic and obviously run highly lucrative businesses. Where they have a credible case, we help them”
The cost of verification can range from zero to thousands:
Given the various situations of people seeking verification, not everyone had to pay something to get verified. Adriaan says that “We had some brands and celebrities ask us about verification, sent them the link on Instagram, they did it themselves without spending a cent on PR as it was not needed, but then we had folks who were notable but just not visible in the press – and they had to spend anywhere from $1500 to $7000 to build up sufficient notability.”
Whereas Verification cannot be bought, the cost of getting ready to be approved can be very justifiable in some cases. According to Adriaan, “…a luxury boat or real estate dealer who makes an extra $4M per year thanks to a verified social account that makes their images go viral would hardly care to spend even $20K on verification, but a startup influencer on a budget will think twice even to spend $1500..”
Influencers are actively preparing for Twitter Verification:
Twitter announced that they will re-open verification and people are getting ready. According to Adriaan, “since the same PR is used for Instagram, TikTok and Twitter, influencers are continuing with preparation, knowing that if they are authentic in the news and verified with one social channel, it automatically increases the chance to be approved by another channel.” He points out that “During the US 2020 election things were getting heated and there were many issues social media channels had to decide on, it was therefore no surprise that Twitter Verification took a pause – and I suppose as soon as pandemic-related fake news calms down and once this whole affair blows over, most channels will be more interested in verification.”
As we have heard from the worlds’ leading agency in social media verification: TikTok has caught up with Instagram on verification rates among influencers and may even be more lenient to award verification if the right recipe is followed.