Marketing budgets are shifting to influencer marketing on Instagram, so it should come as no surprise that more and more social media influencers (and wannabe influencers) are wondering how to get verified on Instagram.
Social Media Verification
Currently, most prominent celebrities, politicians and athletes from all over the world are active on Instagram and make use of it to interact with their fans globally. So, what makes these high profile entities distinguish themselves over social media? The answer is simple: it’s the blue tick that appears next to the name or handle of a person on their profile page. This tick ensures that you get the privilege to appear on top of searches and yield even more influence on Instagram. This is why how to get verified on Instagram is a popular subject of conversation amongst influencers.
That doesn’t mean that I haven’t gone through the process of how to get verified on Instagram that I am about to describe below (I have) and I am in the midst of my second application (please read below for further explanation). I have also engaged with others who have and haven’t become verified on Instagram over the last several months, so I will also share anecdotal advice based on those discussions. Before I talk about how to get verified on Instagram, however, I want to share my experiences regarding to becoming verified on Facebook and Twitter to glean some understanding about social media verification in general.
Facebook has had verified accounts for some time, but never really publicized how one can apply for verification. The traditional thought process from the social network’s point of view is that verification is not something that you ask for but it is something provided to you based on your celebrity status. That being said, Facebook does have an application process hidden in their application / website. It was a friend who had experience who literally said, “Neal, why don’t you apply to get verified on Facebook?” and pointed me to a menu which allowed me to apply to get verified. I remember the application process asked for my personal website URL, as well as, I believe, information on works that I had published, as I was applying as an author. Shortly thereafter I received verification.
How Twitter Democratized Verification
bviously, not everyone can get verified, because that is the whole point: verification is usually reserved for celebrities, so there is no doubt that you are engaging with the “real” entity. Even Instagram themselves say, at the top of the Request Verification screen that I will discuss below:
A verified badge is a check that appears next to an Instagram account’s name to indicate that the authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity, global brand, or entity it represents.
However, as influence has become democratized, so has the definition of who is a celebrity or “notable public figure” today. While Facebook has hidden the process, Twitter was the most aggressive in allowing users to openly apply for verification, and even issued a press release to announce to the world back in 2016. To quote a Twitter executive at the time:
“We want to make it even easier for people to find creators and influencers on Twitter so it makes sense for us to let people apply for verification, said Tina Bhatnagar, Twitter’s vice president of User Services. We hope opening up this application process results in more people finding great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for these creators and influencers to connect with a broader audience.”
Unfortunately, less than two years later Twitter discontinued open verification applications saying:
“Verification was meant to authenticate identity & voice but it is interpreted as an endorsement or an indicator of importance. We recognize that we have created this confusion and need to resolve it. We have paused all general verifications while we work and will report back soon.”
At the time of writing this blog post, Twitter has recently said that applying to become verified will begin again sometime in 2021…
The Current State of How to Get Verified on Instagram
As you can see, every social network has their own criteria for determining who should get verified, and even if they’re owned by the same party, they use separate procedures to determine who gets verified. One can be famous over on Facebook and still not considered a celebrity over on another medium (although it might help become verified – see more below). So, how does one get verified on Instagram? You can imagine that Instagram would have a rigorous mechanism to check if one is definitely a celebrity or someone of prominence in order to mark a blue tick next to their name.
Previously, it has been said that Instagram failed to monitor verifications properly and had no clear, open process like Twitter. It was extremely rare or it seemed you had to be “in the know” in order to become verified. There was actually a black market in place where people seemingly bought Instagram verifications, paying up to thousands of dollars, apparently through connections who worked at Facebook or Instagram (I have had services contact me and try to sell me on this but have never done so). People even bought Instagram verifications from others, in contrast to Twitter and Facebook where one has had to apply for verification since the beginning. Now, Instagram has introduced the application for verification system as well. So now, anyone can apply for verification and depending on their background, fan following, content and other such metrics, they are either granted or rejected their blue tick.
To cut through the chase, the process is simple and can be done via the Instagram application for both iOS and Android, although I have heard anecdotally from some Android users that they cannot access the below screen. There is also some talk of some who do not see the screen I am going to describe below, perhaps because they have a private account, do not have enough followers, have not been active on Instagram long enough, or live in a country for which verification might not have started.
The “Request Verification” option appears in the Account section of your Settings menu inside the Instagram application, where it then asks to fill in your username, full name, what you’re known as (if applicable), and category, which right now are the following:
It is also required to upload a photo of your ID card if you’re a person or a legal or business ID if you have a business page. After completing all of this, a single click over the “send” button will put you in contention to become verified on Instagram. When Instagram announced this open process back in 2018, I actually posted a screenshot of how to find this screen below in my Instagram post, which I will embed for your reference: