The blue verification checkmark is one of the most sought after things about social media. It can be a valuable tool in brand management, giving you the mark of distinction. It is seen as a level of "making it" by many and creates a sense that your brand and account are valuable to the world. Whether this is really true or not, it doesn't stop people from going after it with all their energy.
While Twitter has moved to a pay-to-play process of verification and awards the elusive blue checkmark for a fee, Instagram (owned by Meta) is still approving on a case by case basis. However it should be noted that the parent company's massive platform Facebook allows an easier route for public pages that requires proving who you are and little more.
For Instragam users such a influencers, having the blue checkmark can be a game changer leading to recognition, more followers and sponsorships. It's no wonder that many are infatuated by the process, going after it with gusto and willing to pay for it or go to almost any length.
The actual process of submitting for verification is very easy. Instagram is also open about the basics of what it takes and posts the information. However the factors that go into Instagram's final decision are a bit murky.
How to submit yourself
- Step One: Open your profile in the Instagram app and click on the three lines in the upper right corner.
- Step Two: Open Settings.
- Step Three: Open Account.
- Step Four: Click on Request Verification.
Instagram will then ask for your full name and a document, such as a driver's license or passport, to prove your identity. Upload the document.
Instagram will then ask you to confirm your notability. They ask for the category of notability, such as new, sports, entertainment, and other categories. They also ask for information on your audience and links to support your request such as articles, other social media accounts, and online presence.
- Step Five: Submit and wait. If you are denied, you will have to wait 30 days to apply again.
What qualifies you for verification?
Instagram is very tight-lipped about the actual things they look for in order to verify accounts. The one thing that they will say is that they look for accounts that are at risk of having fake accounts pretending to be them.
According to Instagram, there are four factors they use in their decision:
- Authenticity: You need to be a real person or business. You can't be a fictional character or publicity for a movie. For example, if a studio created a Luke Skywalker account to promote a new Star Wars film, according to Instagram, it would not qualify.
- Uniqueness: The account needs to be the only representation of a person or business. Instagram will not verify multiple accounts unless they are different languages.
- Completeness: The account must be active and include a bio and photo as well as be public.
- Notability: The account must be a "well-known" person or business that is a "highly searched for person, brand, or entity."
Instagram also says that if you have a high chance of being impersonated, you have a better chance of being verified. This is a glimmer of hope for people who may not have high follower numbers but may be in the public eye because they are in the news or known for certain things.
The major issue is that these qualifications mean different things to different people. You and your followers may believe that you are worthy of a blue checkmark, but the decision ultimately lies with Instagram.
It is also possible to lose your verification if Instagram finds that you have lied about your information or failed to follow their rules.
How can I increase my chances?
While the final decision lies with Instagram, the more popular you are, the better your chances of getting that elusive blue checkmark.
- The more followers you have, the more likely you are of getting verified. However, they need to be real followers and not purchased fake accounts.
- Be active on the app. There are theories that Instagram takes engagement rates into account as well as whether or not you use their services, including advertising.
- Be more discoverable. The higher you rank in search engines and are discoverable, the more likely you are to be deemed notable.
- There needs to be a trail of things about you. A Wikipedia page can definitely help as well as a presence in online articles and media. This helps create your notability.
Should I pay for verification?
Short answer... no.
There are countless sites that claim they have a special path that gets you on the road to verification. They will says they have some sort of an "in" with Instagram that will get you to the head of the line. The truth is that they don't.
Some of these companies are scams, including ones that will reach out to you claiming you are eligible for verification. Instagram will never offer verification status to you and they don't work with outside companies. These scams will ask for information and access, which puts you at risk in many ways, including them taking over your account and potentially even identity theft.
That being said, there are some routes to verification if you are a celebrity or have connections within certain media companies. There are agencies and public relations companies that do have direct connections to Instagram, but that's because they have a relationship with various social media sites because of their high-profile clients. Some major studios, production companies, and music industry businesses do have connections. So they have the ability to reach out to real people at the company and push it through. But unless you are an up-and-coming celebrity with a hit song or new movie and signed with one of these companies, it won't help you.
There are legitimate publicity agencies that can assist you in being verified, but it will come at a cost. It will also take time, because the process will include many of the steps outlined above. They will assist in building your brand and submit you for verification based on the notability they have helped you create. Some of the top-tier publicity companies do have connections, but again, you will pay for it, but it is more legitimate. There is no guarantee, even at that level.