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HOW TO GET VERIFIED ON INSTAGRAM IN 2019
In today’s digital circles, we hear a lot about ‘clout.’ It’s such a popular word that even Offset and Cardi B. wrote a song about it recently! At its core, clout comes down to importance, relevance, and influence, all of which drive traffic to your website. So, how to indisputably prove your clout on your Instagram account? Easy: with the coveted blue checkmark next to your name that signifies Instagram verification.
According to Instagram’s guidelines, the verified badge “means Instagram has confirmed that an account is the authentic presence of the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.” Since social media is full of impersonators and fake profiles, the badge garners trust, confidence, and reassurance that yes, you’re following the right account.
WHY BOTHER WITH TRYING TO GET VERIFIED?
There are three big reasons why getting verified on Instagram is important for growing your business or personal brand:
It Creates Authenticity
By getting verified, you’ve proved you’re, well, you! Celebrity impersonation is nothing new; verification adds an extra layer of security against fraudulent accounts. For online retailers and e-commerce, this is very important as it shows customers that they’re in the right place and can shop through Instagram with confidence. It’s equally important for bloggers and influencers as a way to both build and protects their brand.
It Shows Your Clout
There’s that word again! That little blue checkmark declares your significance to everyone who sees it. Even if you only have a small amount of internet clout compared to, say, Lionel Messi or a Kardashian, there’s a good chance at least one fake account claiming to be you already exists. The Instagram verified badge separates the real thing from the fakes.
It Boosts Your Instagram SEO
Verification boosts your account to the top of Instagram’s search results. That is, when a user searches for a keyword related to your page, verification means your account will show up before non-verified accounts. Higher search rankings mean more exposure, more exposure means more business, and more business means more opportunity. It’s a butterfly effect of SEO benefits.
SHOULD I TRY TO GET VERIFIED?
This all depends on what you use Instagram for. If it’s just a personal account to share photos of things you find interesting, then there’s no reason for you to need verification. However, if you’re an influencer or if your account is at all related to your business, blog, or personal brand, it may be worth it to apply.
WHO GETS VERIFIED ON INSTAGRAM?
Although Instagram is owned by Facebook as of 2012, their verification guidelines and procedures operate independently of one another Getting verified on Facebook does not guarantee you’ll be able to get verified on Instagram.
Instagram sets out four criteria they look at when deliberating on a verification request. Every verified account must be:
This means you’re a real, live human person and not a bot. No fakes, frauds, or phonies allowed. If you find an account impersonating you, be sure to report them.
Instagram only verifies one account per person, entity, or business. The account must be a ‘unique presence,’ as opposed to the general interest. That means no meme pages, inspirational quote accounts, pet breed fan pages, etc.
The verification guidelines dictate an account must be public with a biography, a profile picture, and a minimum of one post. ‘Add me’ links to other social media platforms are forbidden.
Verification is reserved for a “well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity,” per the guidelines. They’re interested in people and brands that have established themselves elsewhere and created a buzz in the process. While some influencers do begin their careers on Instagram and use it as their main platform, their presence (one could even say their clout!) must be large enough to have generated interest elsewhere.
Be sure to review your account to make sure it meets these four requirements prior to requesting a verification! If you’re curious about how much buzz you attract, try putting your name or brand into Google and seeing what pops up. Set up a Google Alert to get notified when a new search result appears for it. That way, you’ll stay on top of what the web has to say about you.
HOW TO APPLY FOR VERIFICATION ON INSTAGRAM
Let’s break it down step by step:
1. Start by making sure you’re logged into the account you want to verify. Next, go to your Instagram profile. Tap the hamburger icon (yes, that three-line menu button is called a hamburger, and no, we’re not making that up) on the top right of your page to open up your account menu.
2. At the very bottom of this menu, you’ll see a gear icon next to the word ‘Settings.’ This is your account’s control panel, where you can do all sorts of things. Tap that to open it.
3. Scroll down the Settings menu until you reach ‘Account.’ Tap to open. Scroll down to ‘Request Verification’ and tap to open.
4. You’ll be taken to an application form. Fill in your full name or the full name of the person running the account and the name they’re known as, then select a category for your account. The categories available are:
5. Once that’s done, tap the Choose File button and upload a photo of a document that proves your identity. For individuals, Instagram accepts government-issued photo IDs like driver’s licenses and passports. Be sure the photo clearly shows both your full name and date of birth on the document. If you’re requesting verification for a business, you’ll need an official business document like the articles of incorporation or a tax return. Instagram also accepts a recent utility bill, like an electricity bill, for your place of business.
Submit all that information, and voila! You’ve completed the verification application process.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
And now the worst part: the waiting. Every verification request is reviewed by a human moderator who decides whether or not an account meets the criteria and receives the blue checkmark. Recently Instagram has started informing applicants of an approximate timeframe for processing, which should make the waiting period easier.
You’ll be notified on the app platform within a few weeks about the results of your application.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Don’t Try to Rush the Process
When you apply to get verified on Instagram, it can take several weeks to hear back. Requesting verification more than once won’t do any good. Stay patient and wait for your response.
Don’t Try to Game the System.
While it might be tempting to try and buy Instagram verification, don’t do it! It’s frowned upon just like buying followers is, and will only damage your reputation. There’s also an excellent chance anyone claiming to ‘sell’ verification is a scammer, a spammer, or both. You’re much better off following protocol; save your money and save your credibility. In addition, if you’re verified and get caught trying to sell that status to others, Instagram will revoke your own verification and you’ll be right back at square one.
Don’t Fall Victim to a Verification Scam
Just like you do on the rest of the internet, practice safe browsing and clicking habits on Instagram. If a link on someone’s profile looks suspicious or claims to be a verification application, don’t click it. Phishing schemes regularly trawl the social media waters looking for victims; all it takes is one click and your whole account could be compromised. Identity theft is a giant headache with implications extending offline and into your daily life. Use your best common sense and don’t risk it.
A good rule of thumb on what not to do is, don’t get cute with it. Like it or not, you have to play by Instagram’s rules if you want to get your profile verified.
WHAT IF THEY SAY NO?
Don’t get discouraged if you get turned down. It’s not a proclamation that you’ll be denied the glorious verification badge forever. As a matter of fact, you can reapply again after 30 days from the date you’re denied.
If Instagram turns down your request to get verified, don’t lose hope or take it personally. Instead, redirect that energy into building your brand across different platforms. Link to your Instagram profile on your other social media accounts and do some cross-promotion, and make sure to link the accounts together. That way you can share content directly from Instagram onto Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. without having to copy or retype everything. It’ll save you some time and effort while keeping your content consistent across the web.
Take Your Content To The Next Level
Work on making your posts more visible. If you’re not using hashtags, now is the perfect time to start. Develop a consistent voice, posting schedule, and style. Favor some certain Instagram filters over others for your photos? Keep using them! Paying attention to details like that will help your content build a distinct look and feel your followers will be able to instantly recognize. Make your profile pleasant to look at. Make it memorable.
Get Interactive With Your Audience
Speaking of your followers, don’t forget to get engaged with them! Respond to their comments, answer their questions if it’s information you’re comfortable sharing publicly, like their photos if they tag you, even repost them if you’re really impressed. Above all, show that yes, there’s a real human being behind your account. Instagram favors engagement, and being consistently interactive with your audience boosts your chances of getting verified the next time you apply.
Look For Like-Minded Partners
In addition, look for collaborations with brands or other influencers to help boost your public profile. Part of what Instagram checks for is a noteworthy and newsworthy persona; the cross-promotion earned from a solid collaboration will boost your SEO and raise your profile in search results. You become more newsworthy by association, which increases your chances of getting verified the next time you apply. It’s important to make sure the collaborations match the personal brand you’re building: for example, don’t accept a steakhouse deal if you’re a vegan food blogger. Followers value authenticity and won’t hesitate to speak up if they find a collaboration inappropriate.
Seek Verification Elsewhere
Remember, even if you can’t get verified on Instagram, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get verified on other platforms. Look at the other social media networks you’re active on, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat, and apply for verification on your profiles there. Be sure to check out this post to learn how to get verified on Twitter!
If you’re still feeling down about not getting verified, use it as motivation to work harder and take your brand to the next level. Hard work pays off!
While trying to get verified on Instagram may seem like a lot of unnecessary effort, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Part of building a successful and noteworthy online presence comes from shoring up your foundations and putting in the hard work to gain traction elsewhere. Each step benefits each other, strengthens your brand, and contributes to your business.
Make yourself notable, get your work and persona out there, find joy in the journey, and see where it takes you. Just because the grind doesn’t pay instant dividends doesn’t mean it will never pay at all: belief in your vision and others will, too.