If you want to know how to get verified on Instagram, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide we’ll tell you how to apply for Instagram verification (that’s the easy part) and provide some tips to help you qualify (that’s the hard part).

Let’s start with the easy part.

Bonus: 14 Time-Saving Hacks for Instagram Power Users. Get the list of secret shortcuts Hootsuite’s own social media team uses to create thumb-stopping content.

What does Instagram verification mean?

Instagram verification is how you prove that your Instagram account is the authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity or global brand.

You’ve probably seen plenty of verification badges around. As with Twitter, Facebook and, yes, Tinder, the little blue checkmarks are meant to indicate that the platform has confirmed the account in question is trustworthy, or at least they are who they say they are.

These badges are designed to make the real accounts stand out, so that Instagram users can be sure they’re following the right person or brand. They’re easy to spot in search results and on profiles, and they convey authority.

Instagram Creators profile blue checkmark badge

Source: @creators

It’s easy to see why verification badges are also a coveted status symbol. They’re rare, and exclusivity lends a certain amount of prestige—which may or may not translate to better engagement.

That said, Instagram is clear that verified accounts (just like business accounts) don’t get special treatment from the Instagram algorithm. In other words: if it is true that verified accounts earn higher engagement on average, it’s because they’re posting great content that resonates with their audience.

Who is eligible to be Instagram verified?

Anyone can apply to get verified on Instagram. However, Instagram is notoriously picky (and in many ways mysterious) about who actually gets verified. So, if you’re running an account that’s right on the cusp of “notable,” how do you know if you meet the criteria?

Just because you have a blue checkmark on Twitter or Facebook, for instance, doesn’t guarantee you’ll get one on Instagram.

Instagram is blunt, saying that “Only some public figures, celebrities, and brands have verified badges on Instagram.” In other words: “only accounts with a high likelihood of being impersonated.”

Here is what we do know about eligibility.

First, you must adhere to the network’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. On top of that, your account must meet each of these criteria:

  • Authentic: are you a real person, registered business, or brand? You cannot be a meme page or a fan account.
  • Unique: only one account per person or business can get Instagram verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts.
  • Public: private Instagram accounts do not qualify for verification.
  • Complete: do you have a complete bio, profile photo, and at least one post?
  • Notable: this is where things get subjective, but Instagram defines a notable name as one that is “well-known” and “highly searched for.”

If you’re relatively confident you meet these criteria, or you just feel like rolling the dice, it’s time to go ahead and verify your Instagram account.

How to apply to get verified on Instagram: 6 steps

Getting verified on Instagram is actually quite a simple process:

  1. Go to your profile and tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Account
  4. Tap Request Verificationapply for Instagram verification page
  5. Fill in the application form.
    • Your legal name
    • Your “known as” or working name (if applicable)
    • Select your category or industry (for example: blogger/influencer, sports, news/media, business/brand/organization, etc.)
    • You also need to submit a photo of your official government ID. For individuals, that could be a driver’s license or passport. For businesses, a utility bill, your articles of incorporation, or tax filings will do.
  6. Tap Send.

According to Instagram, after their team reviews your application, you’ll receive a response in your notifications tab. Because of historical and ongoing issues with scammers, Instagram is very clear that they will never email you, ask for money, or otherwise reach out.

Within a few days or a week, you’ll receive a direct yes or no. No feedback or explanation.

This is what a no looks like:

Instagram account does not meet criteria for verification message

And here’s a yes, break out the bubbly:

Instagram account meets criteria for verification message

Tips to get verified on Instagram

So, yes, anyone can apply for verification on Instagram. But actually getting approved is a lot tougher.

We’ve gone ahead and compiled all the best practices that will maximize your chances of success as you move forward with your quest to prove your brand’s noteworthiness.

Don’t try to buy a verification badge

We’ll get this one out of the way first: that guy in your comments who says his friend works for Instagram? Please do not give him money.

Same goes for any third-party app or random account that offers “full refunds.”

Same goes for an account that DMs you because they want to sell you their badge because they “don’t need it anymore.”

third party scam accounts pretending to sell Instagram badges

Instagram scammers know that people and businesses feel outsized emotions about the blue checkmark, and some are pretty effective at appearing legit, so stay on your guard. And remember that Instagram will never request payment, and will never contact you.

Tl;dr: The only way to get verified is through the official form, unless you are Jennifer Aniston (in which case, scroll down to Tip #7: Work with an agency or publicist, or maybe stop reading this article entirely because you’re doing great!).

Monitor for impostor accounts

If you’re struggling with persistent unauthorized, fake, or fan accounts impersonating your brand, then we have good news for you. You’re a prime candidate for verification on Instagram. After all, distinguishing real accounts from fake ones is verification’s stated purpose.

Your annual social media audit should make it clear whether impostor accounts are a problem for you. You’ll want to monitor and document these accounts using a social media monitoring tool like Zerofox’s Hootsuite integration.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use Zerofox to get automatically notified about impostor accounts (and other scammy activity):

Traffic

Get more (real) followers

Look, we don’t have the numbers but it honestly feels sometimes like you need a ridiculous number of followers in order to get verified. There is absolutely no evidence that this is a real rule, but—it can’t hurt? Or maybe correlation does not imply causation after all?

Actually, what is more likely is that as people or brands get more noteworthy on and off Instagram, follower counts rise alongside.

If you want to hedge your bets and play it both ways—chicken and egg—here’s some inspiration for how to get more Instagram followers.

Pro Tip: Just don’t try to take a shortcut and buy your Instagram followers. (Plus, breaking the Community Guidelines and then asking Instagram to examine your account is a very effective way to get your account shut down.)

Delete any cross-platform links in your bio

In what some might call a slightly petty move (we would never dare), Instagram insists that verified accounts can’t have so-called “add me” links to other social media services in their Instagram profiles. You can include links to your website, landing pages, or other online properties, just definitely don’t link to your YouTube or Twitter account.

On the other hand, if you have a blue checkmark on your Facebook profile but not on your Instagram account, Instagram does explicitly encourage you to link to your Instagram account from your Facebook page to help prove your authenticity.

Be highly-searched for

Social media is all about serendipitous, organic discovery (this is what the Instagram Explore page is for, anyway—and making it big there can have a real impact on your engagement and follower count).

But when it comes to verification, Instagram wants to know if people care about you enough to tear themselves away from the seductions of the feed and spontaneously type your name into the search bar.

While Instagram doesn’t provide analytics on this data, we’d put money on the fact that Instagram’s verification team does have access, and will check up on how often users are searching for you. Which leads us to our next point…

Apply when your name is in the news

Google yourself. Has your brand been featured in multiple news sources? Did a recent press release or white paper get picked up? Do you have a sound bite or a profile in a major international publication? Paid or promotional content definitely does not count.

If PR hasn’t been a priority for your brand thus far, you might have a more difficult time proving how “notable” you are. Especially because there’s no place to submit your proof: Instagram does its own research, so it’s up to you to make sure your news is above the fold and impossible to ignore.

If you’ve recently experienced a windfall of attention, or you’re planning a big announcement, think about capitalizing on it and applying for that checkmark while your name is hot.

Work with an agency or publicist

If you have the budget and the ambition, hire a reputable digital agency that has access to Facebook’s Media Partner Support tools. Your publicist or agent will be able to submit requests to claim usernames, merge accounts, and get accounts verified through their industry-only portal.

Is verification guaranteed? Of course not. But a request from an industry professional through the Media Partner Support panel carries more weight and distinguishes you from the crowd.

Be honest

This tip should be a no-brainer, but because the consequences are dire we feel compelled to highlight it. In your application to be verified, you have to be truthful above all else.

Use your real name. Choose an appropriate category. Definitely don’t falsify any government documents.

If you stretch the truth anywhere in your application, Instagram says that it will not only deny your request, but it may delete your account as well.

Make sure you profile and bio are complete and effective

Instagram’s listed requirements for verification (a bio, a profile pic and one post? really?) are a low bar. You don’t just want to meet it. You want to hurtle over it.

Optimizing your Instagram bio will not just impress the verification team when they come to check you out, but can pay ongoing dividends in the form of new followers and conversions.

If you’re turned down the first time, try again

If, after all your hard work, Instagram comes back with a rejection, embrace the opportunity to zero in on your goals and redouble your efforts.

Hone your Instagram strategy, build a dedicated following, and earn buzz off the platform as well.

And then, whether you wait the 30 required days or spend a few fiscal quarters hitting your KPIs, you can apply again.

How to stay verified on Instagram

Once you’ve earned your badge, how do you keep it? It’s pretty simple. Instagram verification seems to be awarded in perpetuity, even if you’re no longer doing the thing that made you “notable.” But here are the hard and fast rules.

Keep your account public

A public, unlocked account is necessary to apply for verification, and necessary to stay verified.

Play by the rules

Flouting Instagram’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines will get any account disabled or deleted, but with great power comes great responsibility. Verified accounts don’t get a free pass on being ethical, authentic and upstanding members of the community.

Getting verified is just the start

The rules require an absolute bare minimum of activity to keep your Instagram verification badge: a profile picture and one post. We don’t recommend doing less than that. We recommend doing way way more.

Take advantage of your new blue seal of authority, nail your Instagram strategy, and get posting engaging content for your audience. Brands don’t live and die by the checkmark alone.

Save time managing your Instagram presence by using Hootsuite to schedule and publish posts, grow your audience, and track success with easy-to-use analytics—all from the same dashboard that you run your other social media profiles on. Try it free today.

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