Getting verified means you’re Instagram royalty. It proves that it’s you posting on your account, and, for brands, that’s a pretty big deal. But how do you go about getting that little blue checkmark? Instagram doesn’t make it easy—emailing them a simple request just won’t cut it. In this article, we are going to explore the process, or lack thereof, and help you optimize your account for verification!
What is that little blue checkmark beside a celebrity’s name? It’s Instagram’s verified badge. If an account has a verified badge, it means that Instagram has confirmed that it is the real, authentic account of the celebrity, public figure, or global brand. In the words of Instagram itself, they “help people more easily find the public figures, celebrities and brands they want to follow.”
The reason that such high-profile accounts get verified is that it helps to avoid impersonation. People want to follow the real Kardashians, not random fan accounts. For businesses, it gives you validity and makes your account more legitimate.
Instagram’s process of verification is largely unknown—it’s not an algorithm or a certain follower count that gets you verified. In addition, while you can request verification on Facebook (and Twitter, as soon as it rolls out its new program), there isn’t an official way to request verification on Insta.
We all wish there was an easy-peasy, 3-step process to getting verified, but unfortunately, there isn’t one. While most how-to articles will tell you to use great hashtags and post during certain times of the day, these aren’t ways to get verified. In addition, follower count doesn’t really have anything to do with the blue checkmark—there are tons of meme accounts with millions of followers that aren’t verified.
But if becoming a mastermind at the algorithm system and gaining thousands of followers won’t get you verified, what will? The one tried-and-true way is to hire a third party agency.
Having a connection to a digital agency or publicist can be very beneficial if you are trying to get verified. They have access to a whole new dimension of the digital world that other people don’t. Instagram calls it “Media Partner Support.” Media partners have the ability to submit verification requests for their clients.
If you don’t feel like hiring an agency, there are other, less direct ways to optimize your account for verification.
Focus on really cultivating your Instagram account. Grow your followers, stay active, and be engaging! Replying to comments, direct messages, and creating Instagram stories are all ways to communicate with your followers. Instagram is constantly introducing new features including IGTV, video chat, and story tools, so make sure you’re staying on top of and using all of the updates to your advantage!
Having an active, up-to-date Instagram is obviously important, but generating buzz on other platforms is imperative! It’s not an algorithm deciding who gets verified, it’s real people who can use Google to figure out if you’re at risk of being impersonated. Stay active on other social media platforms and apply for verification on Facebook. Creating content outside of socials is a must. Try to get your name out there by publishing an article, starting a blog, making an online portfolio, or reaching out to other influencers!
Creating intentional, focused, follower-driven content is a sure way to drive up engagement. Knowing the platform and who is using it is essential. Pictures have to be aesthetically pleasing, of course, but they should also be targeted for your audience. Even if you aren’t verified, having cohesive content focused on your followers will build recognition and authenticity, and it might even get you to the Explore page!
As we’ve discussed, the path to verification is difficult. It’s for this reason that some people have turned to buy a verified badge on the black market. Verified badges cost a pretty penny—some can cost upwards of $15,000. It’s an inside job, buying your verified badge, and Instagram is aware of it. Several employees have been fired for selling the little blue checkmark, but that doesn’t stop others from trying.
The black market isn’t the smartest way to go about getting verified, but it has challenged Instagram to make the process easier. Instagram is testing an in-app verification request system. Currently, it’s only available for iOS users in Australia and a few other undisclosed countries, and participants must provide their account usernames, full name, and photo identification.
Instagram hopes that this will lead to more transparency and security on the platform. They released a statement saying, “We hope this new form will not only give people the opportunity to apply but also help them better understand the verification process and safeguard them from believing false promises of verification from third parties.”
Verification is a social stamp of approval. The little blue checkmark shows people that they are following the real account of a celebrity, public figure, or global brand. Unfortunately, getting verified isn’t all that easy. If you are completely serious about getting verified, your best bet would be to hire a digital or PR agency or publicist. They will have the network needed to get your blue check. If you want to find more organic ways, building your Instagram is a good place to start. It’s important to grow your online presence elsewhere, as well, so different ways to get your content out there! And never forget to keep your audience the main focus of all your posts—creating content for them will only bring you closer to getting verified on Instagram.