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If you’ve ever noticed the blue check mark next to an Instagram profile and were jealous that you don’t have one, you’re not alone. That mark signifies prestigious accounts that are deserving of a special status. But how can you yourself get verified on Instagram?
We’ll walk you through what verification is, dole out some advice to help you get verified on Instagram, and explore some of the roadblocks to doing so.
What Is Instagram Verification?
Similar to Twitter verification, Instagram uses a blue check mark icon to signify a Verified account. You’ll see these appear next to account names on their pages, as well as in search results.
This verified check means that Instagram has confirmed the identity of the account, so you can be sure it’s not a fake. Phony or fan accounts often pop up for public figures, and verification helps make sure you don’t fall for a social media fake.
It’s important to note that verification is not an endorsement. Instagram does not use the check mark to say that it approves of the account or thinks you should follow it; only that the people with blue check marks are who they say they are.
Instagram says that it doesn’t actively monitor verified accounts, but may revoke that status if the account starts breaking the rules.
How to Get Verified on Instagram
So now that you know what verification is, how do you get verified yourself?
As you might imagine, getting verified on Instagram is not easy. For a long time, you had no way to request verification of your account; Instagram decided who to verify on its own accord.
However, in August 2018, Instagram added the option to request verification.
You can do so by opening the Instagram app, then visiting your profile by tapping the silhouette icon in the bottom-right corner. On Android, tap the three-bar Menu button in the top-right, then you’ll see Settings below. iPhone users should tap the Gear icon next to Edit Profile.
Either way, scroll down and find the Request verification option. If you don’t see it, Instagram hasn’t rolled out the update to you yet.
On this page, you’ll see some basic information about verification. To proceed with the request, you’ll need to enter your full name and upload a picture of government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or passport). Once that’s done, tap Send and wait for Instagram to make a decision.
The company will review the request and let you know of the result. If it’s denied, you can try again in 30 days.
What Kinds of Accounts Does Instagram Verify?
Instagram has updated its verification support page with a few criteria for verified accounts. In addition to following the rules, your account must be:
- Authentic: Your account must be for a real person or entity.
- Unique: The account can’t be a duplicate or a generic meme page.
- Complete: To receive verification, your Instagram account should be public and must have a profile photo, bio, and at least one uploaded image.
- Notable: Instagram says that “Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity.”
Unlike Twitter, Instagram doesn’t provide a list of industries that it typically verifies in. The only mention on that page is this:
“Currently, only Instagram accounts that have a high likelihood of being impersonated have verified badges.”
It also clarifies that “only some public figures, celebrities and brands” get verified. Because of this, in all likelihood you aren’t going to have your account verified unless you build a significant following on Instagram.
Even accounts with tens of thousands of followers are still unverified if they don’t represent a public figure.
— DrLupo (@DrLupoOnTwitch) August 8, 2018
Conversely, the Kraft Dressing account is verified despite having under 200 followers.
How to Improve Your Chances at Instagram Verification
Chances are, unless you’re a somewhat well-known personality or business, Instagram probably won’t verify you. Just because you request verification doesn’t mean Instagram will grant it.
That said, if you think your account has potential to be verified, here are some tips for improving your chances.
Build Up Your Online Profile Elsewhere
If your profile is for a recognizable person or brand, it should be easy to find online outside of Instagram.
Google your name and see what comes up. If you don’t have an active Twitter profile, website, or other ways to communicate with your fanbase, get those pages set up. You could also create a successful YouTube channel packed with videos that gain some traffic.
Make sure you link to these other pages in your Instagram profile, and link to your Instagram on them, to build trust about your identity.
Don’t Get Famous From Instagram
This is similar to the above point and sounds a little strange, but consider Instagram’s intentions with verification. It wants to make sure that accounts likely to be impersonated are verified so people know who the real one is.
Thus, if you’ve built your online fame through Instagram, it’s unlikely that other accounts will come up when you search for your name. But if you’re a respected brand previously known from other sites and services, Instagram may see your profile as worth verifying so people are sure it’s you.
It’s difficult to place yourself in a position where you’re at risk of being impersonated, but try to do so if possible. For instance, if your brand recommends products, a fake account may pop up to spam unsuspecting people with junky links.
Keep Your Account Active
Instagram isn’t going to verify inactive accounts. With this in mind make sure you use the service often—not just posting your own photos, but responding to comments, liking other pictures, and taking advantage of hashtags.
You should make sure you stand out on Instagram, too.
Don’t Engage in Shady Behavior
This should go without saying, but don’t do anything against the rules in your quest for Instagram verification. Don’t pay for fake followers through illegitimate services or engage in “follow for follow” schemes. Focus on gaining Instagram followers in honest ways.
Go Through an Agency
You can’t purchase a verified badge. So, short of becoming famous, your only real option is to work with a digital agency to submit a verification request. This can expedite the process, but you’ll probably still get denied unless you’re a notable public figure.
When former models of mine email me to get verified on Instagram because their current agency can do nothing of the sort.
— Damien Neva (@DamienNeva) July 26, 2016
You may also find people that claim to know someone at Instagram who can get you verified for a fee. However, taking someone up on such an offer is risky, as there’s zero guarantee that it’s legitimate and you’ll be out a lot of money if it turns out to be fake. Instagram also states that it can disable your account if you “[a]ttempt to verify your account through a third party.” Thus, it’s just not worth it.
Is a Verified Instagram Account Worth Having?
As you can tell from the above, getting verified on Instagram can be a lot of work. Unless you’re so famous Instagram will verify you just for being you, it’s not attainable for most people even with verification requests.
It will take time and effort to build yourself up to the status required. And even if you want to take a “shortcut” using an agency, there’s no guarantee that your money will get you anywhere if you aren’t already popular.
For the average Instagram user, verification isn’t worth it anyway. If you don’t suffer from copycat accounts and don’t make a living off your online presence, verification for bragging rights is absolutely pointless. Brands who want to use social media to grow their reach have more reason to pursue verification, but it’s still a tough road.
So our advice is to build an online presence big enough to justify getting verified. But unless and until that happens, don’t worry about your lack of a blue tick.
If you’re curious after all this verification talk, check out the most followed accounts on Instagram (which are all verified).