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What does Instagram verification mean?
Instagram verification is the process of getting a blue checkmark badge that tells other users on the platform that an account really belongs to the user, artist, brand, or organization it represents.
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.
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 can get verified on Instagram?
Anyone can request a verified badge 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.”
Complete: do you have a complete bio, profile picture, 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 get verified on Instagram in 6 steps
If you’re a visual learner, watch our video that covers everything you need to know about getting verified on Instagram. Otherwise, keep reading!
The verification process on Instagram is actually quite simple:
Go to your Instagram profile and tap the hamburger icon in the top right corner
Tap Request Verification
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, an official business document, or tax filings will do.
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 (some say it can take up to 30 days), you’ll receive a direct yes or no. No feedback or explanation.
This is what a no looks like:
And here’s a yes, break out the bubbly:
10 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 getting verified as you move forward with your quest to prove your brand’s noteworthiness.
1. Don’t try to buy an Instagram 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.
The same goes for any third-party app or random account that offers “full refunds.” And for any random account that DMs you because they want to sell you their badge because they “don’t need it anymore.”
Instagram scammers know that people and businesses feel outsized emotions about the blue check, 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!).
2. 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.
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.
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.)
4. 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.
5. 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…
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Make sure your 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.
10. 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.
How many followers do you need to get verified on Instagram?
Technically, there is no minimum follower count for getting verified on Instagram. As long as you are able to prove that you are a “notable,” or highly searched for, person (or your account represents a widely recognized business or organization), you can get your account verified regardless of your number of followers.
How much does it cost to get IG verified?
Instagram verification is free. Instagram will never ask for payment for the verification badge, and if someone is offering to verify your account for money, they are trying to scam you.
How do you get a blue check on Instagram without being famous?
To get a blue check on Instagram, you have to prove that your account may be impersonated because you are a notable public figure or represent a widely recognized organization.
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.