There is one elusive social media status symbol you can’t buy, which therefore makes it highly coveted and immensely valuable: the verified badge.
A February 2020 study revealed that 73.4% of Instagram accounts that had over one1 million followers had a verification badge. Out of the next group down (100,000 to one million followers), 22.4% were verified accounts. When studying accounts with between 1,000 and 5,000 followers, only 0.87% were verified.
As a business on Instagram, one question you may ask yourself is, “How do I get my account verified?” Most social media services have some kind of “verification” process for getting the almighty blue checkmark on your profile:
But why should you get verified? And just how hard is it? This guide will answer those questions and help you understand Instagram’s verification process so you can get your account verified too.
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Why get verified on Instagram?
Data suggests that the majority of bigger Instagram accounts are verified. As you grow your Instagram profile, you’ll want to get verified to stand out from the competition. Verified accounts are more trustworthy than unverified ones and have a 30% higher engagement rate on average.
Other reasons to get verified include:
- It stops impersonation. The main reason the verification badge exists is to make sure accounts holders are who they say they are. The blue check on your profile shows followers and visitors that you’re the real deal, not a fake account.
- It lends credibility. As a side effect of Instagram users knowing you’re the real business account of a brand, you become more credible and trustworthy. The blue tick is also a status symbol that shows users your account is worth following.
- You get access to special features. One of the most coveted features for brands and influencers alike is the Swipe Up feature. Sharing links in Instagram Stories can improve your Instagram marketing through more engagement and conversions. Normally, you’d need at least 10,000 followers, but if you’re verified you can use this feature no matter how many followers you have.
- Verified accounts appear higher in search. Lastly, if your account is verified and users search Instagram for content in your category, you may appear higher in search results:
This means you’re more likely to attract new followers directly from search results (in the Instagram app) and increase brand awareness.
With all of those great benefits, you’re probably thinking that getting verified is going to be pretty difficult. But is it? Let’s take a look.
Is it hard to get verified on Instagram?
The good news is that applying to be verified on Instagram is super easy (as you’ll see in the tutorial below). The not so great news is that actually getting approved can be difficult.
It’s no secret how Instagram verifies accounts. It's guidelines state the eligibility requirements your account must meet:
- Authentic. As in you must be a real person, public figure, or registered business entity. You’ll need official business documents and ID to prove it.
- Unique. You can’t have multiple accounts for the same person or business (unless they are language-specific accounts). Instagram also doesn’t verify general interest (like memes) or fan accounts.
- Complete. At the bare minimum, your Instagram profile needs to be public, have a bio, a profile picture, and be active when you apply. “Be active” isn’t defined, but you can take it to mean you post, share, or comment on content regularly.
- Notable. This is the tougher bit that most struggle with. Being notable means your account name represents a “well-known, highly searched for” person or brand. Instagram reviews accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, but not paid or promotional content.
How to get verified on Instagram
The verification process on Instagram is simple. If you feel you’ve met the guidelines above, follow these steps to apply:
- Open the Instagram app and head to your profile.
- Once you’re on your profile page, tap on the hamburger icon (three lines) in the top-right corner and select Settings.
- On your settings page, toward the bottom, you’ll see the option to Request Verification.
From there, you’ll need to fill in details about your business such as:
- Your full name (or trading name), which you’ll need to back up with a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, or business documents, such as business registration papers or utility bills (for physical stores).
- Notability, which is confirmed by selecting your industry category and target audience. You’ll also have to list brand names you might also or otherwise be known as.
- Supporting links to help confirm your notability. Here you can link to other verified social media accounts if you have them, news or press releases your brand is featured in, your website, or other (non-promotional) links you feel might be relevant.
Once you’ve filled in the verification application details, hit Submit and congrats: you’ve sent off your request. Within 30 days, Instagram will notify you in your Activity feed whether your application was successful or not. If so, you’ll get the Instagram verification badge right away.
Tips for getting verified
Before you go ahead and submit your application for the coveted blue badge, keep in mind the following tips that will help improve your chances of getting a verified Instagram account:
- Don’t buy a badge
- Get real followers
- Complete your profile
- Follow the community guidelines
- Get publicity
Don’t buy a badge
Under no circumstances does Instagram let users buy, sell, or otherwise transfer their verified badge. If you see an account that advertises the ability to get you one either for free or a “small fee,” like the one below, don’t fall for the scam.
Use Instagram responsibly. Don’t try shady tactics like buying badges, followers, likes, or comments. Otherwise, you could find your account banned.
Get real followers
Don’t buy Instagram followers. Focus on the genuine, organic growth of your account. It’s easy to tell when someone buys followers because their account will have lots of followers but low engagement. These “followers” are often bots or inactive accounts, so they don’t interact with your brand. The lack of engagement means your posts won’t show up on the explore pages or in your audiences feeds.
Although your follower count doesn’t matter when it comes to verification, a highly engaged following can help. Some ways to get more Instagram followers include:
- Using the right hashtags to get your profile in front of targeted audiences
- Publishing a mix of Instagram Stories, Reels, and feed posts
- Running giveaways
- Encouraging user-generated content
- Curating your profile grid
- Creating shareable content
Instagram followers are more than just a number, they are your community. Even if you don’t get verified, real followers will help increase traffic to your site, make more sales, and build influence in your space.
Complete your profile
All verified accounts have one thing in common: complete profiles. Each of them has a concise and punchy Instagram bio, a strong profile photo, an external link (to either their website or a Linktree, linking to multiple sites), and well-designed Story Highlights.
Sure, the Instagram profile has the same structure for every account. But each Instagram bio—the small summary underneath the username—is unique. Users look at your bio when deciding whether or not to follow you on Instagram, so you have to make it count.
The bios of verified accounts accomplish a number of things:
- Highlight essential information about the business (brand name, category, company overview)
- Offer a way for users to get in touch
- Showcase the brands’ personality
- Establish a unique selling proposition
- Encourage response with a call-to-action
A strong profile can make a good first impression on behalf of your brand and convince people to follow you.
Follow the community guidelines
As long as your brand is consistent, only posting your own content—content that is safe for public viewing—you’re most likely already following the community guidelines and ticking this box for verification.
Though to be more specific, Instagram has given a short version of what the community guidelines cover:
We want Instagram to continue to be an authentic and safe place for inspiration and expression. Help us foster this community. Post only your own photos and videos, and always follow the law. Respect everyone on Instagram; don’t spam people or post nudity.
No matter if you’re a global brand or the average Joe, Instagram can (and does) punish accounts that don’t follow these basic guidelines.
Team up with a PR agent or agency, or even a journalist, who can help you get your name out there. Some agencies also have access to Facebook’s Media Partner Support tools, where they can submit requests and get accounts verified through the portal.
To get publicity, you’ll need to do things considered newsworthy. What’s deemed newsworthy depends on your niche, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Participate in or create a local event (for charity or otherwise)
- Make a guest appearance on a podcast or other media channel
- Pledge to donate to a relevant cause, either a one-off or indefinitely
- Publish a white paper or other original data relevant to your target audience
Getting involved in activities outside of your brand is how you build awareness and get into media outlets. When the Instagram verification team checks to see if you are notable, they’ll find you in these news channels.
What to do if you don’t get verified
Even if you follow all of the tips above, there’s still a chance Instagram won’t approve your application. So what happens then? Try a few of the following actions:
Double-check the verification requirements
As simple as it sounds, it’s worth double-checking the four main requirements we saw earlier: authentic, unique, complete, and notable.
Make sure you have the most appropriate business document to prove authenticity. Be sure to remove/delete any old accounts you might have set up. Compare your level of profile completeness to those who are already verified.
Lastly, do a Google search on your brand. If you don’t see any mentions of it outside of your own website, that could be the issue.
Wait and apply again
If your verification request gets rejected by Instagram, all is not lost. You can apply again after 30 days. Be patient though—repeated applications within 30 days will mean the request will be cancelled.
Give yourself that month to figure out ways of improving your chances using the tips above rather than hope you’ll get approved in the following 30 days without making any changes.
Show authenticity in other ways
If you still can’t get approved for a blue check, there are other ways to show your brand’s authenticity without it.
Instagram recommends linking your account to your official website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, or Twitter account to help show you’re the real owner of your brand. Another way to show your authenticity is by creating video content of you or your team behind the scenes.
Showing how your business looks day-to-day is a great way to gain trust, but also follows the recommendations of multi-format content to grow followers.
Don’t stress if you can’t get verified
Getting the verification badge on Instagram (or any social media for that matter) is a big milestone for your business. It proves your account is worth watching and engaging with. However, all the benefits come with a challenge—it can be hard to get approved.
Getting the basics right matters, and so does building your brand outside of your immediate social bubble. Following the tips in this guide will help you toward fulfilling those requirements.
That said, verified or not, making money on Instagram is still possible by funnelling traffic to your ecommerce store, setting up an Instagram shop, becoming a brand affiliate, and more.
Illustration by Dan Page
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Instagram verification FAQ
Can an individual person get verified on Instagram?
An individual person or small business can get verified on Instagram. The profile must represent a real person or business, and it must be the only legitimate Instagram account representing you or your business.
How many followers do I need to get verified on Instagram?
Instagram doesn’t give an official number needed for verification. One study found that accounts with as low as 1,000 followers had verification badges. It also found that the more followers an account has, the more likely they are to have a verification badge.
How much does it cost to get Instagram verified?
The verification application is free through the Instagram app. There are businesses you can pay to get you verified, but that’s not recommended.
How do I get verified on Instagram?
- Log in to the Instagram account you want to verify.
- Tap the hamburger icon.
- Tap Settings > Account > Request Verification.
- Enter your name and provide the required information.
- After you complete the form, send it and wait 30 days for a response.