Social media is one of the most valuable communication tools, for both brands and individuals, and becoming verified on social media has become the Holy Grail — everyone wants it and puts an incredible amount of effort into chasing it.
I’m verified on Facebook and Instagram, and I constantly receive DMs from other entrepreneurs and public figures asking questions regarding Instagram verification, and the requirements and process to secure it.
While the little blue checkmark next to your profile name doesn’t do anything to improve your reach or access any additional features, it’s still highly sought after. It does help your profile stand out, which can lead to more organic followers and future engagement, and I can confidently say that being verified has enhanced my personal brand’s presence on Instagram.
Anyone can request verification within his or her profile [Settings > Account > Request Verification], but the majority of requests are denied. If you are after that highly-coveted verification badge on Instagram, here are a few helpful tips that will help you build a personal brand worthy of having your request granted in-app.
Focus on Quality Engagement Rather Than Follower Count
Many people will request verification assuming that their large following alone will justify the request. There are many large accounts — with millions of followers — that are not verified. There are also many accounts with less than 10,000 followers that are verified. What’s the differentiating factor? Well, there are several, but an account’s engagement rate often comes into play.
A huge following with very little to no engagement in terms of likes and comments will be denied almost instantly when submitted. Since Instagram’s self-submit verification request is available for every account you can imagine how many requests they receive.
There is undoubtedly an AI component that filters requests, and from when I have seen engagement rate is heavily considered. If an account doesn’t meet the minimum threshold it will receive an automatic denial — often within seconds.
Create a Personal Website “Hub” for All Ventures
Instagram’s verification is reserved for those accounts it deems as noteworthy and having enough public interest to justify identifying them as authentic accounts. You don’t have to be a professional athlete, celebrity or musician to receive a verification badge.
Instagram regularly verifies business personalities, members of the media, journalists, and even niche-specific professionals, like lawyers and doctors, if they are deemed to be prominent in their respected industry.
I fit in that latter category, as I’m a doctor; an Osteopathic Medical Doctor. I have a personal website that acts as a central hub for all of my information. This includes links to all of my social media profiles, press and media features, and information on all of my business ventures.
When Instagram is doing its due diligence they must see a website, and the more organized and in-depth you make it, the more of an impact it will have on their decision.
Engage with Other Verified Accounts
If your verification request makes it past the initial AI filters and is viewed by an Instagram representative they are going to look at your most recent content. First, to make sure that it adheres to its guidelines, and doesn’t contain anything that it would consider to be questionable.
Second, they are going to quickly look at your engagement to make sure that the comments and likes you are receiving are genuine. Many people will use automatic likes and comments from software — they are easy to spot.
If they see comments from other verified accounts during this stage it helps your cause greatly, as it shows them that you are a person that is likely important if you are engaging with other verified users. Network and connect with relevant verified users in your industry and comment on each other’s posts. Also, it’s a mutual win-win, as the engagement will help both accounts in terms of reach.
Secure Media Exposure from Top Media Outlets
Press and media exposure is something that has always been important when seeking verification on Instagram, and the more prominent media outlets you are found on during the search and due diligence, the better your odds become.
Many people are under the misconception that you have to be featured in the top media outlets, like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. Local media coverage works just as efficiently — the key is real authentic media coverage.
Things like low-tier websites and press releases, regardless of what outlets they appear on, are useless and do not help in the verification process. Don’t be afraid to pitch your local media — they are often actively seeking newsworthy topics. Come at them with a creative angle and it could land you articles or even onscreen TV interviews, both of which can help your verification quest.
Occupy as Much Top Google Real Estate as Possible for Your Name
When an Instagram employee is doing his or her research they are going to Google you — and while the media exposure mentioned above will help, there are additional things you can do to really improve your presence in the search results.
You want to occupy as much Google real estate as possible. With so many inbound verification requests submitted through the app, they have very little time to spend on this step. If your name’s Google results don’t make an instant impact you’re going to be denied.
Make sure you have social media profiles across all of the top platforms: Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, etc. Also, make sure they are all consistent, with the same bio and profile picture.
Having a Google Knowledge Panel also helps, so be sure to link all of your social media accounts to your Google account. As your authority online increases, it helps to trigger this to show up.
Occupying page one on Google for your name is something that you should do regardless of Instagram verification — it’s an intelligent and effective personal branding strategy that can have a positive impact on your career, both currently and in the future.