If you’re on Instagram, you know that how your followers and your potential clients perceive you is everything. Verification is Instagram’s built-in system of approval that helps people know that you are who you say you are and that you’re worth following.
Instagram makes the verification process itself relatively easy. The steps you have to take to make your profile qualify for verification, though, are a little trickier. They require knowing what Instagram is looking for and the audience perception you need to garner to be worthy of their coveted verification badge.
That’s why this guide is going to help you understand Instagram verification, why you need it, and how you can qualify.
What does it mean for your Instagram account to be verified?
Whether you’re a celebrity, brand, or notable person, verification means being officially recognized by Instagram as the person or brand that you say you are. Your followers know if you’re that person by a “verified badge,” which is a blue dot that appears next to your profile on the site.
Both businesses and personal accounts can apply for these badges. It shows up when people search for you or embed your posts to help them find the users they trust. It represents Instagram’s security against fake accounts, fan accounts for a famous person, or a knock-off version of the brand that you’re looking for.
In addition, being verified means that you’ve entered the upper echelon of Instagram’s users. You are now included in the most popular and authentic groups of people and businesses on the platform, the ones that people want to seek out, sponsor, and support.
Who can be Verified?
Since it’s so valuable to have that Instagram verified seal on your profile, there are obviously a lot of qualifications to make sure you’re worthy of it.
The words that Instagram uses to describe the profiles that they verify are those that are “in the public interest.” This means that Instagram has to think that people want to search for you and use your services before it will verify you.
All of these qualifications are explained in detail on Instagram. We will summarize them for you here.
This is an easy one. You just have to prove that you’re the person or brand that you say you are. This is where cheap knockoffs of known names and fan accounts for celebrities fail to pass the verification test.
You cannot verify multiple accounts for a person or business. It would defeat the whole purpose of verification, which is to let people know that the account with the seal is the only one from that person or brand.
With the high chance that people will try to impersonate famous brands and celebrities, Instagram offers real people the chance to let their followers know who they are. This also means that being someone people want to impersonate increases your chances of being verified.
You have to have a public account to be verified. So if for some reason, you or your brand have opted for a private account, you won’t be able to have it verified.
This is another easy one. It just means that your profile is complete, your photo is in place, and you have a few posts already. As we’ll discuss, completeness is not the only important thing when it comes to bios, but it’s all you need to know right now.
Instagram asks whether you’re worthy of verification by asking if you’re well-known enough by its users to be searched often. Only well-trafficked profiles stand a chance of being verified.
How do I get Verified on Instagram?
Now that you know what Instagram is looking for in their verification process, you’re probably wondering how you go about actually applying. Once you’re qualified, requesting verification is a much easier step. Here’s how you do it.
After you log in to Instagram, click on Menu, Settings, Account, and then Request Verification.
It will then ask you to confirm your identity. This will require your full legal name, your alias in your business or online identity, and the category of your brand or personal identity on the site.
Instagram then requires documentation proving who you are, which could be a driver’s license or a tax return, depending on whether you’re applying for verification as an individual or a business.
After you submit all this information, Instagram will want to confirm it. After reviewing your verification application for an undisclosed amount of time (expect to wait two days at least before hearing back from them), they will notify you on your account whether or not your verification was approved.
Remember that Instagram doesn’t charge for verification or request any banking or payment information from you to do so. If you’re being asked for information of that kind to be verified, then the requester is a scam.
Instagram Verification Tips
The good news is that anyone can apply for verification on Instagram and as you read, the process is pretty painless.
The less good news is that Instagram lets you know upfront that applying is no guarantee that you’ll get approved. They’re looking for specific kinds of profiles to reward with this coveted honour.
Since you’re probably not Shakira and don’t have a world-famous face that will make verification easy for you, knowing what they’re looking for can help you give your profile the best chance of getting verified.
A Complete Profile
Having a complete profile doesn’t just mean having everything filled out. You want to make sure that your Instagram bio is not only complete but relevant and professional too. You need the information in that bio to represent your goals as an individual or company so that Instagram knows you’re someone worth verifying.
Honesty is Key
When providing the information on your name, identity, and documentation, make sure that everything is on the level. You don’t want to get caught lying to the Instagram system, which will not only deny your verification application but may also go so far as to delete your whole account.
This shouldn’t even need to be said, but just make sure you are who you say you are.
Use the News
One of the advantages you have in the verification process on Instagram is that every application is checked by hand. This means that a computer won’t deny your application if you’re not famous enough. A real person is manually checking you out to see if you’re worthy of the status to upgrade.
One way they do this is by looking for news sources that feature you or your content. If you want to get verified, you may want to send out a press release or contact a local news station with information about your business.
If you can form a press footprint for yourself or your business and increase your visibility, Instagram will be much more likely to verify your profile. Remember that paid advertising isn’t the same as news coverage: only the latter will count when they’re reviewing your credentials.
Widen your Scope
Notable profiles worth verifying have a presence that extends beyond Instagram. In order to increase your chances of being verified, optimize your website to show up in search results so that you have high visibility. Create accounts on social media and guest post on other blogs so that you get referenced, linked to, and searched for by Instagram users.
All of this greatly increases your chances of being considered “notable,” which is the biggest thing that Instagram looks for when choosing their verified accounts.
If you want your profile to get noticed, posting regularly (most sites recommend at least once a day) is a good idea anyway. If your account looks inactive, there’s a good chance you won’t be verified.
Get it straight in your head what your brand looks like and what Instagram wants you to post so that you can do so frequently and make your account look busy.
Maintain your Followers
A while ago, Instagram had a minimum follower amount required to be considered a verified account. This is no longer the case. However, just because the minimum is gone doesn’t mean that Instagram ignores the number of followers that you have.
Profiles with more followers are more likely to be impersonated. That likelihood is one of the biggest reasons that accounts get verified. They want to keep their high-profile people safe from scammers and knockoffs so that Instagram users know that the accounts of famous people are identity-verified.
Since so much of this depends on having a large following, you may want to look into how to obtain more followers in the first place before applying for verification.
Use the Proper Channels
Instagram knows how you applied for verification so don’t fall for anyone trying to sell it to you. If you apply through a third-party service, your application will be denied.
Also, don’t put requests on your profile for people to follow you on your other platforms. Instagram won’t approve of you if you try to cross-promote your brand from their site. They want people on Instagram to stay on Instagram.
Don’t get discouraged
Even if you’re denied verification, you shouldn’t give up. 30 days later, you can apply again. You may want to take longer so that you can get your profile in order, your followership up, and your brand identity secured.
In the end, getting verified is less about the actual verification process than the way you handle your profile on Instagram, to begin with. You want to use an Instagram strategy that’s proven to foster a large, dedicated following.
One last thing: assuming you get your badge, don’t sell it or try to use it for promotions. Don’t promote other services through your profile and risk getting your hard-earned verification revoked.
Authenticity: Another form of Verified
Let’s assume that you’ve tried to get verified on Instagram and can’t seem to cut it. There are other ways to conduct successful business on Instagram. Instagram itself provides you tips and strategies to make your account seem authentic and credible.
These tips may not help you get verified directly, but the more authentic your profile looks, the more chance you have of being perceived as professional and building your following. Those things may, eventually, lead to verification.
Remember that you can’t use your bio on Instagram to link to your social media profiles or business pages. However, Instagram encourages you to do the reverse, which is linking to Instagram from those places.
Send people to your Instagram profile from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or any other official sources you may have at your disposal. Creating that network of traffic will make your profile look busy and your brand more notable.
Use your bio
Letting people know about yourself and your business through your bio isn’t just a matter of filling it out. Obviously, complete bios are the only ones that stand a chance at verification. But what about just making sure your profile looks as authentic as it should?
To make your brand look professional, even if verification is outside of your reach, give a clear description of your brand identity, the services you offer, or your mission as a person on Instagram in your bio. The more authentic it seems, the more likely you’ll get noticed.
Know your Stories
A business closed off from the public can’t acquire its trust. If you expect to be perceived as authentic enough to follow, you can’t expect people to take you at the word of an imposing logo and a few sentences about your company’s mission statement.
Instagram Stories provide you the opportunity to let people in, to personalize your brand with a look inside the real, human workings of your business. Being proactive with the Stories is a great way to be perceived as authentic.
Recruit your followers
One of the best signs that your Instagram profile is authentic is that people are engaging with it socially. Encourage your followers to tag you in their posts to create a network of influences that gets your products or work seen.
Hootsuite is an example of a tool that allows you to see how followers are reacting to your work with clear analytics, all run from the same hub as your social media profiles and complete with easy-to-use tools that help you manage your publishing schedule on Instagram and study the history of your performance on the platform.
Getting your profile acknowledged as authentic and eventually verified can be accomplished with the right tools, the right guidance, and enough effort.