When the global platform Twitter Inc. was acquired by the renowned entrepreneur Elon Musk in 2022, the stakeholders didn’t anticipate how massive post-acquisition changes would be.
After an unprecedented wave of employee layoffs, organizations and experts whose corporate and personal brands are actively present on the platforms got a troublesome update — the removal of the verification marks that confirmed the authenticity of active and notable in their field brands.
Now, to confirm that they are who they are, owners of brands have to pay for the verification mark which has turned into a subscription service. Although the update has made the verification mark target of frequent jokes and informed people question it being a symbol of quality, it has also posed certain threats to brands` reputation.
The brands that have been stripped of their verification marks have become vulnerable to proliferation of their fake identities. In some cases, fake identities even get mistakenly verified by Twitter, as it has recently happened with Disney.
The verification confusion can seriously affect brands` audience and undermine trust as the followers will fall prey to fake identities. In this context, protection of the audience is an ethical responsibility of brands to exercise.
So, what is the strategic course of action if you have lost the mark of credibility and are unwilling to pay for it?
To help brands make sure they assist their audience to communicate with the right accounts, our team of #MosronPeople has prepared 8 advisory points:
- Pin a message / thread on your profile that confirms the brand`s authenticity and provides an official contact. If followers have doubts, they will see a dedicated email address / number to reach out to you with. It is important to keep the back-up channels visible and easily accessible before a follower can engage with a fraudster.
- Confirm authenticity in your bio and share a link to your website. Even if someone copies your bio, they will be unable to access the website and respond to your audience from there. If you have a website form for questions, attach the link to it.
- Keep your inbox active and tweet about forwarding the audience`s concerns to it. There will be an additional channel for you to address concerns and provide additional proof links. Let your audience know that you are ready to provide proof of your credibility on demand.
- Advise your audience to check the registration date and number of followers. Your fake identities will likely be registered later and / or have less followers. Hint your audience to check these red flags.
- Change your username to indicate that your account is real. It can literally be a prefix “real” added to your brand name or something more creative. A user name can not be copied by another account, so your identity will be protected.
- Create a short guide for your audience on how to recognise fan and malicious fake accounts. What content are they likely to post? How does it differ from yours? What branded words, expressions are they unlikely to use? Raise awareness.
- Monitor your fake identities and compile a red list for your followers. You can create a simple sheet which you will keep updated with handles of fake accounts and share it with your audience.
- Add your correct Twitter handle to your website and include it in your newsletter if you have one. If you share your account across other communication channels, more of your audience will be aware. And in case someone of your leads comes to your Twitter from another platform, they will already be aware who to follow.
Keeping your audience educated on how to distinguish authentic and fake, you will proactively preserve your brand reputation. Remember — first you care about your reputation, then it cares about you.