Big, well-known brands, celebs, politicians, and others of fame and fortune have long worn with pride the coveted blue badges that herald their legitimacy and prominence.
Historically, getting verified on social media platforms was something that kind of happened organically. If you're Burger King or Barack Obama, then your official account was probably granted this honor across all platforms without a second thought - and likely without you ever having had to lift a finger.
This article probably isn't for Burger King or Barack Obama.
However, most companies are not in that situation. Luckily, some platforms, such as Instagram, have gone and made the verification process a bit more available to everyone else, and we'd like to tell you how you can request verification on Instagram yourself in just a few easy-ish steps.
Why is Instagram verification valuable?
The little blue verification badge has been a coveted social media icon for years now, and for good reasons, too.
Being verified has many benefits including, but not limited to:
- Increased authority. People just listen to and trust certified accounts more. This also means an increased chance of media coverage, messages, and engagement in general.
- Better account and brand security. It will make it harder for trolls to impersonate your account, elevate you above fan accounts, and will help prevent confusion among potential followers about which account to follow.
- Possible better customer service. This is likely denied by IG, but who do you really think is getting priority assistance, Bill Gates or your cousin Tina who posts weird memes and pictures of her cat?
- It attracts more followers by making your account easier to find. It's just easier to be seen and you'll generally rank higher in search results related to your name.
- You'll look and feel fabulous!
Official verification on Instagram sends a message to all those who come across you that your profile is more desirable, more active, and more worthwhile to follow. While verification does not guarantee increased engagement or followers, it does greatly increase the likelihood of success.
How to get your business verified on Instagram
The verification process is mostly simple.
Via the Instagram mobile app for either iOS or Android, head to your small profile icon in the upper right-hand corner and tap Settings. There you can see all your basic user information including name, email address, website, biography, etc.
Navigate to Account, then scroll down the list. Towards the bottom you should see "Request Verification".
Next, you'll be asked to input a bit of information about your company to help IG confirm that you are who you say you are, and that you're worth recognizing.
The information you'll be required to include is:
- Your full name (company name if you're a business).
- Category (Industry)
- Target audience (Optional)
- Other names you may be known by, if any. (e.g., Facelift, Facelift bbt, Facelift Cloud, etc.)
- A document confirming your authenticity
- Evidence of notability via links, social media accounts, etc.
The first few steps here are quite simple and don't need explaining, but there are a few worth deeper discussion.
Document confirming authenticity
This is probably the biggest piece of the puzzle, so you'll want to get it right.
According to the app, the document type can be a:
- driver's license
- national identification card
- tax filing
- recent utility bill
- articles of incorporation
If you're applying as a company, you will likely want to go with one of the latter options. Articles of incorporation in particular carry a considerable amount of influence and legitimacy for a business applying for Instagram verification.
However, whichever document you choose, you'll have to create the right kind of file. The verification process only allows for image files, and you'll have to get them on the applicant's mobile device. This is fine for IDs, of course, but chances are your company isn't keeping its utility bills lying around in .jpeg or .png format. Better get your scanner ready!
It's not difficult, but it is a nuisance and something to be aware of in advance.
How very true to form, Instagram.
Evidence of notability
You'll next have to be able to prove that you're kind of a big deal.
To do this, Instagram allows you to include links to other sites that demonstrate notability. These can be your other social media pages, news articles about your brand, press releases by parent or partner companies of note, info about prominent figures within your organization, or other links that highlight your company.
Some of the best include:
- Your other social media accounts, particularly if they're large, active, and already verified
- News articles from known and credible publications - think CNN, BBC, Der Spiegel, TechCrunch, etc.
- Press releases by noteworthy groups, for example a well-known partner agency
- Mentions in prominent blogs, white papers, or other web content
- Substantial Wikipedia or other directory pages
- A featured presence in external video content such as YouTube interviews or on other noteworthy channels
- Strong brand association with highly prominent individuals such as a famous CEO or influencer
While you can and should emphasize your social media channels if they're strong, you cannot use your own website or blog. Try using a mixture of link types for a broad picture of your influence.
Blog articles are not usually as strong an option as news articles from prominent publications, but depending on the authority of the blog, it may still be a decent reference.
Try to focus on relatively recent links as well. A big press release from 2005 might count for something, but if you can do better, you should. You can have up to five links and you should take advantage of all of them.
How to really stand out
Everyone wants to be verified and everyone thinks they're important. Instagram and other social media platforms deal with countless applications, and each is reviewed by human beings for legitimacy.
It's your job to convince these individuals that you matter. They receive thousands and thousands of applications – most of which likely do not meet their standards – so making a good impression fast to someone who may be on autopilot is important.
There are a few ways that you can improve your chances of getting Instagram verification.
Some of the strongest include:
- Be active! Instagram is highly unlikely to verify an account that only posts every several months. While there is no minimum amount of activity specified by the company, it should be safe to say that if you're not posting regularly and engaging with both your followers and other pages, your chances are lower than those of companies and individuals who do. Instagram's verification teams want to be convinced that your account is not only active now, but also likely to continue being active in the future.
- Follow others and engage with their pages as well. Being social on social media is literally half the phrase. By being active in your industry you are demonstrating to Instagram that you care about your digital presence and take it seriously.
- Remove or change other accounts bearing your name. Does your company have a developer team that built its own account? Maybe you made an account for your Spanish language followers? Wait to do this until after your primary account is verified. Having duplicate accounts is not a great look for proving your legitimacy and is in general not a great practice for companies with smaller followings. Unless your company is huge already, there's unlikely to be a great reason to have these right now. You don't have to delete these accounts entirely. We have made a guide detailing how you can temporarily deactivate your company's IG accounts without deleting them entirely..
- Engage with your followers. This shows that you're active and is simply good social media netiquette. Your accounts can often provide a form of customer service, and Instagram likes it when you send the right message.
- Create high quality content. This should go without saying, but companies that produce higher quality content are more likely to be taken seriously both by their followers and by Instagram itself. There are many ways you can do this, but creating a style, using photos or videos with a decent production value, and writing informative and/or interesting texts is key!
- Have lots of followers. This is not an official requirement and Instagram has stated that it is not something they look at when deciding authenticity. Increasingly smaller and smaller pages are being verified, including many with only a few hundred followers. Still, despite this, more followers does still mean a greater chance of making a strong impression. Try building your page a bit before requesting verification. It can be a bit of a slog to build followers early on, but it will pay off in the end.
- Use Instagram Stories and IGTV (Instagram TV). These video channels are not only among the best ways to drive engagement, they're also a terrific way to show the depth of your Instagram activity. The more you do, the better it looks, so diversify your content a bit and prove your content expertise.
Even if you do everything right, sometimes it's still not enough. If your company is not verified on your first try, wait a little while and try again. Build up your activity, increase your following, and take steps to show that you're deserving of that little blue badge of honor.
Instagram claims that the process of verification takes about 30 days. Facelift's observations, however, suggest that it could take longer than that and some users have reported the process taking as long as three months. This likely depends on how big your brand or presence is and whether granting you the badge is a no-brainer, or something requiring a deeper dive.
One thing is for certain though: in the current social media climate, standing out from the crowd has never been more important and Instagram verification is one of the best ways to make sure that your company or organization is seen and heard.
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