The blue badge next to a person’s username may be small, but the authority it lends is significant. If you want to become an authority in your industry, it’s important to learn how to get verified on Instagram.

Of course, getting verified on Instagram is easier said than done. If it wasn’t, everyone would have a blue badge. In this article, we will explore:

  • Why verification matters
  • Instagram’s eligibility criteria for verification
  • How to become eligible for verification
  • How to request verification

By the end of this article, you will have all the knowledge you need to become verified on Instagram.

Why you should get verified on Instagram

According to Instagram, verification indicates that your account has an “authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity, or global brand.”

This offers two main benefits. First, it distinguishes you from imposters, fan groups, and other accounts that use your name and/or other aspects of your branding in their profiles.

Second, the blue badge acts as a status symbol. It shows visitors not only that you are who you say you are, but that you are important. This can lead to people taking your content more seriously.

Eligibility criteria

Instagram will only verify accounts that comply with their Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. Your account must also be:

  • You must be who you say you are.
  • A person and/or brand can only have one verified account. Exceptions can be made for language-specific accounts. Generic accounts, such as meme roundups, and fan accounts cannot be verified.
  • Instagram does not verify private accounts.
  • You must complete your profile before you can apply for verification.
  • Instagram doesn’t verify people simply for owning their own accounts. Their website states that in order to be verified, an account must “represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand, or entity.” They do not specify any metrics you must achieve to be considered notable.

How to get verified on Instagram

Here are the key elements you need to have in place:

Complete your profile

The first step to getting verified on Instagram is to complete your profile with accurate information. You will need to enter the following information:

  • Your real name or the name of your brand
  • A photo of you, or the logo of your brand, as your profile picture
  • A descriptive bio
  • Your website link and/or a link to a more prominent social media profile
  • The category/industry your account is most relevant to

You can also connect your Instagram account to your Facebook business page, although it is not publicly known if this improves your chances of getting verified on Instagram.

Be authentic

Yes, it is important to curate your social media to give a positive impression of you and your brand. However, you don’t want to sanitize your feed so much that it could represent any generic brand. You also don’t want to post content that gives people a false impression.

To ensure authenticity, ask yourself a few questions before every post:

  • What does this content express about me/my brand?
  • Does this content honestly represent me and/or my brand?
  • Can I make this more authentic by adding a personal story?

Last but certainly not least, remember that vulnerability can be a good thing. Sharing the details of your struggles may not be advisable, but it’s all right to admit that you’re struggling once in a while. Your audience will feel more connected to you if they know you’re not perfect.

Take great photos

Filling out all of your information is great, but it’s not enough to make your account noteworthy unless you’re a celebrity. To qualify for verification, you’ll need to draw attention with a steady stream of great content. One of the best things to share on Instagram is photography.

We’ve already got an excellent guide to taking great Instagram photos, so I’ll just offer some general guidelines here:

  • Use natural lighting whenever possible. If you don’t have access to natural lighting, consider buying a lighting kit.
  • Pay careful attention to what’s in the background, especially when streaming from home. You don’t want to accidentally showcase your dirty laundry.
  • Understand the rule of thirds and use it to emphasize the most important elements of your photos.
  • Use lines and shapes to direct the viewer’s attention.
  • Develop an understanding of color theory and how it can be applied to your photos.
  • Take advantage of Instagram’s built-in editor and filters to give your photos a unique look.
  • If you use Instagram filters, try to use the same one or two filters for every post to create a consistent brand aesthetic.

Your photos should also be relevant to your brand and appealing to your audience. One way to ensure this is to base your account around one type of photo. A great example of this is Girls and Their Cats, which shares the pictures and stories of different women with their cats.

How to get verified on Instagram: Girls and Their CatsHow to get verified on Instagram: Girls and Their Cats

Create unique art

If you’re skilled in some kind of visual art, you can use these skills to distinguish yourself on Instagram. Kenny Scharf has built a large following by sharing canvases, digital artwork, and even car murals.

Kenny ScharfKenny Scharf

Painters and digital artists aren’t the only ones who have built noteworthy followings on Instagram, either. Delfina Delettrez has used her unique jewelry to attract a following of over 160,000+ people.

How to Get Verified on Instagram: Delfina DelettrezzHow to Get Verified on Instagram: Delfina Delettrezz

You can also share pictures of yourself at work or images of works-in-progress to make your audience feel like part of your work. Alexa Meade regularly posts photos of herself painting.

Alexa MeadeAlexa Meade

Create compelling Stories

Instagram Stories are ephemeral content, designed to tell viewers a story about what you’re up to right now and disappear 24 hours later. They offer a variety of benefits:

  • Stories appear at the top of the Instagram app
  • You can combine images in a specific order to tell a story
  • You can use both photos and video in Stories
  • The Instagram Highlights feature lets you permanently place your most engaging and/or important Stories at the top of your profile; this is a great way to show people what your brand is about in one glance
How to Get Verified on Instagram: Alexa Meade HighlightsHow to Get Verified on Instagram: Alexa Meade Highlights

These benefits make Stories an essential part of any Instagram marketing strategy.

Vary content with video

Video posts do incredibly well on Instagram, attracting an average of 150 comments. They’re also a great way to change things up, both on your page and in your audience’s feeds.

There are two types of Instagram videos: regular videos and IGTV.

Regular videos appear on your usual profile as part of your feed, and can be viewed like any other Instagram post. There is a maximum length of 60 seconds for these videos.

IGTV is a wholly separate video app with some limited connection to the regular Instagram app. Videos on IGTV can be up to 15 minutes long if uploaded from mobile and 60 minutes long if uploaded from the web. Previews of IGTV videos will appear on your profile and in your feed, but the videos themselves will not.

Get started with video by regularly publishing short videos on your feed. Once you’re used to working with video, you can expand to IGTV.

Be newsworthy

Is your business the first of its kind in your area? Do you have a unique business model? Does your expertise have bearing on something big that’s currently happening in the world?

If your answer to any of those questions was “yes”, you can use that information to connect yourself to more traditional media. Send a press release to local newspapers and industry journals. Offer to act as a source for local journalists. Every appearance of your name in these places improves the odds of being verified.

Use hashtags

Hashtags are powerful tools that make it easy for people to find posts they’re interested in. Used right, they can bring many newcomers to your content. This is particularly true on Instagram, where you can use numerous hashtags in a single post without being penalized.

You can make the most of hashtags by following some basic rules:

  • Keep them relevant. Only use hashtags directly related to the post they’re attached to.
  • Make them specific. Cat pictures are great, but if you use the generic hashtag “#cats”, your post will be lost among millions of others. Instead, use a more specific hashtag with posts in the thousands, rather than millions, like “#BlackCatsOfInstagram”.
  • Keep them current. Look for hashtags that are still actively being used; you can judge this by looking at the most recent posts with the hashtag. If most of them are a year old, you probably won’t get any traction by using this hashtag.
  • Weed out spammy hashtags. Take another look at those recent posts for the hashtag you want to use. Are these posts relevant to the hashtag? Have they received a decent amount of engagement? If you answered “no” to either question, it’s time to look for a different hashtag.

You can also use hashtags in your bio to help visitors quickly understand what kind of content they can expect from you.

Pro tip: When using a hashtag that has multiple words, always capitalize the first letter of each word. This makes it easier to read and also makes it more accessible to people who use screen readers.

Engage with your audience

High-quality content attracts people to your Instagram profile, but engagement is what encourages them to stick around. You can foster this engagement in a few different ways:

  • Ask your audience a question in the image and/or the caption
  • Run an Instagram Stories poll
  • Host a contest and require people to comment and/or share the post for entries
  • Respond to comments on posts in a timely manner whenever possible

These interactions will turn casual visitors into loyal fans, in turn giving you access to the most powerful marketing tool of all: word of mouth.

Engage with other brands

One of the best ways to increase both your engagement and your following is to host a sponsored Instagram sweepstakes. In order to do this, however, you must have relationships with other brands relevant to your niche.

An ideal partnership brand meets four criteria:

  • Their products and/or services are relevant to your audience
  • You feel good about endorsing them
  • They have an audience of a similar size to yours, or a moderately larger one; if you only have 1500 followers, you’re probably not going to get the attention of, say, Coca-Cola for more than a single post
  • They have a similar or complementary aesthetic to your own

Follow brands that fit all of these criteria. Like their posts. Comment when you have something positive or interesting to say. Establish yourself as a fan, then approach them to work together.

Build your platform on other networks

Instagram doesn’t cite this as part of their criteria, but if the goal is to become notable, it only follows that a large platform on other networks will help. You’ll also be able to cross promote Instagram content, encouraging people from other sites to visit your Instagram profile.

If you’re not sure how to make this happen, check out our guides to Snapchat marketing strategy, Twitter marketing strategy, and Pinterest for business.

How to request verification on Instagram

The final step in how to get verified on Instagram is to fill out a verification request. To do this, open Instagram and navigate to your profile. Click on the three lines at the top of the screen to reveal a menu.

Instagram Account MenuInstagram Account Menu

Tap “Settings”. This will bring up a list of things you can customize about your Instagram experience. Click “Account” to see another menu of options. Scroll down and click on “Request Verification”. This will take you to a form asking for some basic information:

  • Username
  • Full name
  • Alias, if applicable
  • The category of your account/content (sports, news/media, politics, music, etc.)
How to Get Verified on Instagram: Verification Request FormHow to Get Verified on Instagram: Verification Request Form

You will also be required to send in a picture of your ID. For most people, this will be a government-issued photo ID with your name and date of birth, such as a driver’s license or passport. If you are registering an account for a business, you can use official business documents such as tax records or recent utility bills.

When you have entered all of the information correctly, press the “Send” button at the bottom of the screen. This will send your information to Instagram for review.

The review process can take a few weeks. When the process is complete, you’ll either receive a blue badge or a notification saying your request was denied. If your request is denied, you can apply again in 30 days.

Final thoughts on how to get verified on Instagram

Instagram seems to be fairly selective of who they hand out those blue badges to, but it is possible to get verified. There are a variety of strategies you can do to make your account noteworthy enough:

  • Complete your account
  • Be authentic
  • Take excellent photos
  • Create unique art
  • Use Stories, videos, and IGTV
  • Be newsworthy
  • Learn how to use hashtags properly
  • Interact with your audience
  • Build relationships with other brands
  • Build your audience on other platforms

When you feel confident in your platform, send in your application.

Have any questions about Instagram verification? Ask away in the comments section!

The post How to Get Verified on Instagram: Strategies That Work appeared first on Revive Social.

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