It started on Twitter, made its way to Facebook, and is now a coveted feature on Instagram as well: the blue checkmark badge of verification.
The verified badge that appears next to users’ names on Instagram is intended to help people avoid imposter accounts and easily identify the brands and public figures they want to follow. But it’s also become a sought-after status symbol.
After all, if Instagram bestows a check mark of verification on your account, it’s immediately evident that you’ve “made it” on the photo-sharing social network.
But getting verified on Instagram is about more than just establishing bragging rights; it also comes with certain perks. Let’s take a look at why that little blue checkmark is so desirable and explore some best practices on how to get verified on Instagram.
Benefits of Instagram verification
There’s no denying the fact that getting verified on Instagram makes your account more notable, but there are a few other upsides to that check mark as well.
- It establishes trust. Less than 1% of Instagram accounts are verified, so that blue badge tells users that you’re credible and are who you claim to be. This gives people confidence that your account is legitimate and makes them more likely to follow you and trust the content that you share.
- It increases visibility. Verified profiles appear higher in search results, making it easier for customers and fans to find you. This is especially useful if there are fan accounts or imposter accounts with a similar name to yours that may confuse users. Once you have that checkmark, anytime someone searches for you, you’ll be the first to appear. For example, if you search for “jeep,” the verified account for Jeep appears above Jeep fan pages.
- It allows you to add links to your Instagram Stories. Once you’re verified, you’ll be able to add links to your Stories and allow users to visit your website or product pages simply by swiping up. Without verification, accounts need at least 10,000 followers to take advantage of this feature.
- It can give you early access to new features. These accounts sometimes get to try out new features before they’re available to the general public. So you’ll be using the next big thing ahead of your competition.
What Instagram looks for to verify an account
When it comes to how to get verified on Instagram, several factors are considered, and accounts must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- They must be authentic. Verified accounts must be an actual person, registered business, or entity.
- They must be unique. They must be the sole presence of the person or business on Instagram. The one exception to this rule is for language-specific accounts.
- They must be complete. Your account must be public and have a filled-out bio, a profile picture, and at least one post. Your bio can’t contain links to other social media sites.
- They must be notable. Instagram verifies only well-known people, brands, and entities that are frequently searched for. So as part of its verification process, the social network reviews multiple news outlets and doesn’t consider paid or promotional content as reputable sources.
How to apply to get verified on Instagram
Instagram is constantly reviewing accounts to identify ones for verification, but you can also apply for Instagram verification and give the social network a heads-up that you’re interested in attaining one of those blue check marks for yourself.
The application is available to both personal and business accounts.
To begin, go to your profile and click the three horizontal lines in the upper righthand corner. This will bring up a menu. Then click “Settings.”
On the next menu, click “Account.”
Then, select “Request verification.”
Now you’ll be able to fill out the Instagram verification request form. You’ll need to include your full name and the name of your brand or entity. You’ll also need to select a relevant category and upload a photo of a government-issued form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.
Instagram reviews all applications for verification and will inform you if your request is approved or denied. If you don’t get verified, you can submit a new request after 30 days.
How to stay verified
Once you receive that verification badge, it is possible to lose it. Instagram can remove your verified badge at any time and may even disable or remove your account if you engage in any of the following:
- Selling, transferring, or advertising the sale of your verified badge
- Updating your Instagram name, bio, or profile picture to promote other services
- Attempting to use a third party to achieve verification
There is a modicum of power associated with the blue check mark. And you know what they say about “great power”. . .
6 tips to help you get verified on Instagram
Sure, you can apply for that verified badge, but it’s not easy to actually attain it. So if you want to know how to get verified on Instagram, make sure your account is ready.
1. Complete your bio
One of the first things Instagram looks for when reviewing accounts for verification is a complete and accurate bio. As noted above, this includes a profile picture and a link — but you can’t link to other social sites.
However, aim to do more with your Instagram bio than simply filling out everything. Craft short, engaging copy that tells people exactly who you are and what you stand for; include a branded hashtag to encourage users to tag you in their own content; tag other Instagram accounts you’re affiliated with; or include a call to action and invite customers to email you or shop your link in bio.
Check out the examples above for inspiration.
2. Be honest
If you’re applying for verification, Instagram requires several pieces of information, so be up front every step of the way. It should go without saying, but use your real name, and select the appropriate category for your account. Also, don’t edit any part of your identification — that means no digitally concealing information, such as blurring out your address or driver’s license number.
If there are errors or inaccuracies in any part of your application, you won’t be verified. Plus, your account could be disabled.
3. Establish a presence outside of Instagram
Your brand presence may primarily be on Instagram, but when the social network looks at your application, its reviewers are going to see what other information about you is available. So consider this question: If they Google you, what will they find?
Make sure your website, blog, and any other social sites are up to date. And take the time to optimize your website for search to ensure it appears in search results.
4. Be notable
As mentioned, Instagram reviews news sources for mentions of your brand, so make sure there’s something to find. And, no, your personal blog doesn’t count.
What Instagram is looking for is coverage about you or your brand from multiple reputable news sources. If you don’t currently have any news mentions, take steps to make it happen. Issue a press release about your latest venture, or reach out to local news outlets to try to secure coverage.
As you collect press mentions, make them easy to find by adding a press or media section to your website, as Adventure Cats has.
5. Post regularly
Instagram says you must have a minimum of one post on your account to be considered for verification, but your odds of getting verified are much higher if you’re an active user. So post on a regular basis.
Not sure what to post, especially right now in the midst of a pandemic? Check out these ideas. And don’t stick to just posting on your page. Post to Stories, upload videos to IGTV, and go live on Instagram.
6. Increase your following and engagement rate
While there’s no minimum number of followers necessary to get Instagram verification, it probably goes without saying that the more followers you have, the more important you’re going to appear.
After all, one of Instagram’s requirements for verification is being “notable,” and notable accounts tend to have a lot of followers. Also, the network considers how likely your account is to be impersonated, and accounts with just a few followers aren’t likely to catch the eye of fraudsters.
The number of followers you have is also much more than just a vanity metric, so there’s good reason to invest time and effort into growing your Instagram fan base. To do this, post regularly, host a giveaway or hashtag contest, team up with influencers, and keep a close eye on your Instagram analytics to identify what kind of content works best.
When it comes to how to get verified on Instagram, it’s also a good idea to improve your engagement rate. Engagement rate is the percentage of followers that engage with your Instagram posts, and it includes both likes and comments.
Instagram verification isn’t the only way to show authenticity
It’s tough to get verified on Instagram, but that little blue badge certainly isn’t the only way to let people know that your account is authentic.
Your brand can help people understand that your Instagram account is the real deal by linking to it from your official website, from its other social accounts, or in its newsletter. You can also include language in your Instagram bio that contains the word “official” or links to the company website or an official email address.
You can also encourage customers to tag your account so users can easily find your business and see posts from customers who use your product or service. (This is also a great way to gather some valuable user-generated content.)
The content you share can go a long way in helping you prove who you say you are and elevating your Instagram presence. For example, take advantage of Instagram Live or IGTV, and do a joint broadcast with an influencer or another high-profile account. You can also lead a Q&A with your CEO or go behind the scenes at the office — something an impersonator account certainly can’t do.