Have you ever been on Twitter or Facebook and noticed an account with a little blue checkmark beside its name—say, the account for a celebrity, a musician, a professional athlete, or a politician?
These check marks show that the account is verified. All this means is that it’s the real deal. When you see Chris Rock on Twitter with a blue check mark beside his name, that means that it really is the Chris Rock—not a fan and not an imposter. By contrast, if you see a Chris Rock account without the checkmark, that’s probably a Chris Rock fan page—still funny, maybe, but not affiliated with the actual guy.
According to Marketing Land, Facebook has rolled out a new verification system—this time marked by gray badges, to distinguish from the blue ones. While blue is still the color for celebrities, gray is now used to verify and legitimize local businesses. The feature is being rolled out to businesses across several countries, including the United States and Great Britain.
For verified businesses, the gray checkmarks will now show up beside the business name in Facebook searches and on the account page itself. For companies looking to get verified, the process is fairly simple. All you’ll need is a couple minutes of time and a business phone number. Details are available here.
This is something we recommend local businesses do, and for a couple of reasons. One of the stated reasons from Facebook is to ensure that consumers are finding the authentic business listing. A lot of companies have duplicate pages on Facebook, perhaps created by former employees or perhaps generated through social media “check-ins.” The gray badge lets consumers know that they have found the real, official business listing.
And piggybacking off that point, verification badges provide consumer confidence. Your business has to be fairly legitimate to qualify for this—it needs a real phone number and a physical address—so opting to get verified is a sign that you’re running a real operation. It’s a sign that consumers can confidently do business with you.
For businesses not able to qualify for the gray checkmark—perhaps because they don’t have physical locations that consumers can visit—there are other ways to ensure credibility, such as using testimonials, sharing customer reviews, and showcasing thought leadership. But if you do qualify for the gray checkmark, there’s really no reason not to get one.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.