What does building an influential Instagram account require you to do?
Post often? Yes. Publish great content? Obviously. Engage with your followers? No doubt.
But there’s one final thing that can cement your image as an influential Instagram user. That is to verify your Instagram account.
The small blue badge that Instagram adds to its influential users is a stamp of approval unparalleled to anything on the platform.
Here's how you can apply for the badge and become verified on Instagram.
Why you should get verified on Instagram
If there’s one word that describes an influential user in a social network, it’s status.
You can call this being well known, respected, or admired. Whatever the name you want to use, when you have status, you command influence and people listen to you.
You often read about the billions of users Instagram has and all the other great things companies have gained from using it, but without any status, your account will be another bit of hay in the haystack.
Without status, your account will hardly have the power to drive growth in your business. The Instagram verified badge is one of the few critical elements that officialize your account’s status.
According to the company, getting verified means that “Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.”
Instagram uses four attributes to analyze whether an account deserves a verified badge.
In a bit, you will learn more about each of these attributes and how your account can get them. For now, you need to understand that only if your brand or company is truly influential in your industry can you expect to get verified on Instagram.
If you think your account qualifies, then keep on reading because now you will learn how to apply for the verification badge.
How do you get verified on Instagram?
1. Open the app
Open your Instagram app on your mobile device, go to your profile, and click on the top sandwich button on the top right.
Scroll down to the bottom of the menu and click on Settings, and in the settings menu click on the Account button. Then, click on the option that says Request Verification.
2. Fill out the verification form
Here’s where you add your brand’s information that Instagram will use to consider whether it deserves to get verified or not.
Your Instagram username will be automatically filled in, so add your full name as it appears on your government ID.
Then, write down what you or your brand is Known As.
If you are an influential person and you’re known by your name, then add your name
If your brand is known as “Acme Inc.”, then add that name. Disregard your legal entity’s name (e.g., “Acme Inc. LLC”) as that’s not required
Finally, add your category. You have a few predefined options – e.g., music, entertainment, blogger/influencer, etc. – so select the one that best represents you.
If you’re an influencer, add the Blogger/Influencer category. But if you’re applying for your business' verified badge, select Business/Brand/Organization.
Before you finish, you need to upload your government-issued ID to prove your identity. Again, this is your personal ID, not your business organizational documents or anything like that.
Instagram wants to know who’s behind the account, regardless of who the verification is being sent for. Once you’ve filled the form, click on the Send button. That's it!
As you can see, this step is easy. The truth is, all the work to prove you or your brand are verification-worthy goes outside the scope of this form.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. For now, let's focus on finishing the verification process.
3. Submit your request
Instagram will take a few days to let you know whether your request was successful or not.
If you don’t get the verification badge, you can re-apply in 30 days. As far as Instagram goes, there’s no limit in the number of submissions you can send as long as you wait the required time.
It goes without saying, but you must be 100% honest with the information you provide them. Otherwise, Instagram explains that “if you provide false or misleading information during the verification process, we will remove your verified badge and may take additional action to delete your account.”
What’s more, Instagram indicates that they reserve the right to remove your badge and even disable your account at any time if you:
Advertise, transfer, or sell your verified badge
Use your profile picture, bio, or name section to promote other services
Attempt to verify your account through a third party
If you are a real person who offers real, genuine services or products to people, then this won’t be a problem to you. But those trying to buy an Instagram verified badge or create a fake verified badge will find themselves in hot water.
How to make your Instagram account verifiable
Filling out the badge verification form may not be hard, but meeting the requirements to make your account worthy of the badge can be.
As you saw before, there are a few aspects your account must meet for Instagram to make your account verifiable. In this section, you will see how you can meet each of these four criteria.
Having a complete account is the easiest requirement. According to Instagram, this means that your “account must be public and have a bio, profile photo and at least one post. Your profile can’t contain ‘add me’ links to other social media services.”
For example, Microsoft's verified account has a complete bio because it fits each of the three criteria mentioned above:
As you can see, their bio explains that account is their official account –something that the badge confirms – and it also showcases their core brand message.
If your account doesn’t meet some or all of these three criteria, then take the time to add your photo and bio, and publish at least one post. Of course, that’s just the beginning.
Another relatively easy requirement. For your account to be deemed as authentic, Instagram says it “must represent a real person, registered business or entity.”
If you are applying for yourself, then your government ID will prove that you’re the authentic person who’s trying to get the badge.
In the case you’re applying for your business, Instagram doesn’t explain how to represent its authenticity. Most likely, your name and ID must show that you work for the given company.
We can assume that if your name and your brand show up on LinkedIn and your website, Instagram employees will be able to see that you’re authentic.
So if I were to apply for Socialbakers’ badge, I wouldn't get it because I don’t work for the company. Instagram wouldn’t be able to find that I work for the company anywhere, so they’d not be able to prove my authenticity. But if I was the CEO, I’d easily be deemed authentic.
How do you prove then that you are the person behind the brand? You have some options to consider:
Get quoted in articles
Speak at events
Promote the company in your personal accounts (Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
In each case, you want to act in representation of the company so your name and the brand show together.
To check your authenticity, Google your name plus your company (e.g., “Ivan Kreimer + Socialbakers”) and see what you find.
If you don’t find anything, it’s likely that Instagram would reject you. But if you do find several cases where your name and your brand show together, then you can be sure you’ll probably meet this requirement.
When you think about a person of status, you’re thinking about someone who’s worthy of your attention.
Similarly, Instagram says that for your account to be notable, it must “represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity. We review accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, and we don’t consider paid or promotional content as sources for review.”
Let’s break this down into two parts. The first one focuses on being well known or highly searched.
We can assume that Instagram searches for mentions of your name or brand in well-known sites or online magazines. They probably carry out a Google keyword research or other quantitative analysis to see whether a brand has a high volume of searches or not.
Again, these are personal conjectures as Instagram doesn’t specify how they do this. If that’s the case, then you want to:
Get press mentions in magazines, newspapers, influential blogs, and other media that act as proof for your brand notoriety
Work on your marketing so your brand gets a good volume of searches online
For example, Emplifi often gets mentioned in influential industry publications, something which highlights its notoriety.
If possible, add all the proof you have, including the ideas from above and others, like awards, testimonials, or clients in your website in case the Instagram verification team searches there.
Make sure that all of your examples are easy to access online so if a person is trying to check your brand notoriety, they can easily do so.
The second part – paid reviews – is easy to understand, but it deserves further examination.
If your brand does a lot of Instagram ads or if it uses influencer marketing, then you want to discount that as a marketing tool to extend your brand’s notoriety because Instagram doesn’t consider paid advertising in their review process.
From all the requirements, this one is probably the hardest to meet. It will require some time to achieve, but you must work on it for your account to get verified by Instagram.
Finally, this requirement states:
Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. Only one account per person or business may be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts. We don’t verify general interest accounts (example: @puppymemes).
It may sound a bit obvious, but what Instagram is trying to explain is that your account must be the only representation of your brand on Instagram.
That’s unless you have different accounts for your brand for country or language-specific accounts. Such is the case of Walmart, which has many verified accounts, including the channels specific for Canada and Mexico:
If for whatever reason your brand has fan accounts, then you may want to make clear on your bio that your account is the official one. Better yet, you want to communicate that to your fan accounts so they link back to your official account.
What to do if you can't get verified on Instagram?
As happens with every application process, rejection is possible. Fortunately, Instagram is quite open when it comes to applying for the verification badge.
As mentioned before, if you apply and fail to get the badge, you can re-apply 30 days later. There are no limits or penalties associated with re-applying, so if you do get rejected, feel free to keep trying.
Getting the Instagram verified badge, however, isn't a lottery; you will not get the badge just by re-applying indefinitely. If Instagram rejects you, it’s because your account doesn't meet the requirements, so you need to work towards meeting their criteria by increasing Instagram engagement.
From the four requirements, the easiest to meet are completeness and uniqueness. So if you’re rejected, your brand likely needs to work on becoming more authentic and notable. You may need to take steps toward creating more compelling video content or working on writing more compelling Instagram captions.
Analyze your brand thoroughly and think what your brand could be missing that Instagram moderators don't consider it authentic or notable. Here are some ideas that will help you out:
Has your brand been mentioned in authoritative media outlets? How many times? If not, what sites could you focus to get mentioned on?
What social proof can you leverage in your site? Have you won any awards? Have big brands ever worked with your company?
How many Google searches does your brand get per month? Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to find that out.
As you gather this data, consider changing your home and about pages to add whatever proof you can find. Instagram moderators will most likely watch these pages to measure the authenticity and notoriety of your brand.
Becoming verified on Instagram is the culmination of years of work to develop a popular, well-known brand.
If your brand is truly influential in your industry, then it will be quite easy for you to apply for your Instagram verified badge. If you’re not sure, then work on your marketing so your brand gets the notoriety necessary to get verified.
Once your brand gets the Instagram verification badge, then your brand will finally acquire the status of an influential account.
Bio: Ivan Kreimer is a freelance content marketer who helps SaaS businesses like Leadfeeder and Campaign Monitor create educational content. In his pastime, he likes to help people become freelance writers. Besides writing for smart people who read sites like Socialbakers, Ivan has also written in sites like Entrepreneur, MarketingProfs, Shopify, and many others.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication. Socialbakers is now Emplifi.