When Instagram verification badges started cropping up, users wondered how to score one for themselves. Unfortunately, there was no clear process for applying for verification.
In fact, the process for getting verified was so mysterious that it led to a verification-badge black market, where proclaimed verification experts promised to hook you up with a coveted badge for an often-hefty fee.
But that all changed in August 2018, when Instagram started rolling out the ability to request verification to all users worldwide. While it’s not great news for those who made their living charging thousands of dollars for those sought-after Instagram verification badges, it’s fantastic news for those who want to get verified on Instagram legitimately (and, ahem, for free).
Why get verified on Instagram?
Screenshot via @Target
Before Instagram rolled out the ability to request verification to all users, verification badges were something of an enigma, rare even among the most notorious public figures. So, those who had managed to achieve verified status were viewed as members of an exclusive club.
While it’s not clear how easy the actual approval process will be, Instagram explains that a verification badge “means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.”
Because not everyone will be eligible for Instagram verification, there are some advantages to earning that sought-after blue checkmark:
- Validates your authenticity: When your Instagram account is verified, it’s more difficult for shady characters to try to impersonate you or your brand. At the moment, most Instagram-verified accounts are those with a high likelihood of being impersonated, like the now-infamous Target fiasco on Facebook. (Would-be impersonators will be disappointed to note that Target is indeed Instagram-verified.)
- Establishes trust: Verified accounts can more easily earn the trust of other users (and potential customers).
- Boost your brand’s authority: When your brand is seen as credible, users may more readily interact with you, and you’ll find it easier to engage other influencers.
How to get verified on Instagram
Screenshot via @Starbucks
Fortunately, requesting verification is a simple process. But first, you’ll want to make sure you’re eligible. That means your account is in the public interest and that you’re following Instagram’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, and:
- Represents a real person or registered business
- Is the only account representing you or your business (in other words, it’s your unique presence on Instagram)
- Is complete, including a bio, a profile photo, and at least one post
- Is public
- Represents a well-known or heavily searched-for person, brand, or entity
According to Instagram, they’ll review accounts that are mentioned in multiple news sources, but they don’t consider paid or promotional sources as legitimate news mentions.
If you meet these standards, your odds of getting verified are good. To request verification:
- Go to your profile and tap the top right menu icon.
- Select “Settings.”
- Click “Request Verification.”
- Provide the requested information. You’ll need a government-issued ID, or if that’s not feasible, they’ll take official documents like tax filings, utility bills, or articles of incorporation for businesses.
After Instagram reviews your request, they’ll send you a notification to let you know their decision. If your request is denied, don’t despair! You can submit a new verification request in 30 days.
Keep in mind that Instagram can revoke your verified status anytime if they find that you’re verifying the Terms of Service or Community Guidelines, or if you’re engaging in shady behavior like trying to sell or transfer your verified badge, using your profile photo, bio, or name to promote other services, or if you attempt to verify your account using a third-party (stay away from those black markets, folks!).
How to boost your odds of getting verified on Instagram
Screenshot via @annafaris
If you’ve applied for verification and been denied, or if you don’t quite meet the criteria yet, there are a few things you can do (short of being Anna Faris-famous, although that certainly doesn’t hurt) to boost your status and increase your odds of earning that coveted verification badge in the future.
- Promote your Instagram account across other platforms. Include a link to your Instagram profile on your YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Twitter profile.
- Create a professional-looking profile with a great Instagram profile image. It’s not just your profile photo that counts, though – pay attention to dimensions for all your Instagram photos for a polished look that appeals to users across all types of devices.
- Grow your followers with an Instagram follow button on your website. The more followers you have, the more notable you’ll appear to Instagram when they review your verification request.
- Post regularly. The more content you post, the more users will engage with your content. Use an Instagram scheduler to save time and maintain a consistent presence, and leverage Instagram analytics to gauge what’s working and what’s not to boost engagement.
Remember, Instagram only recently rolled out the option to request verification to all users, so it’s likely that in the near future, only the most noteworthy users will be approved. But continuing to build your star-status will earn you plenty of benefits beyond just qualifying for an Instagram verification badge, so it’s a win-win for you.