Are you looking to add that illustrious “verified” checkmark to your Instagram account, but your name doesn’t end in Kardashian and you don’t own a cult makeup brand? Don’t stress – there are still ways to get verified on Instagram even if you’re not famous. Anyone can be verified, and while the qualifications can be a bit difficult to meet, it’s still entirely possible that you can earn that checkmark without meeting every single item on the list.
And why wouldn’t you want to? “Anyone and everyone who wants to be considered an influencer wants to get verified on Instagram,” says Neal Schaffer a social media-focused author and speaker. “But, like any other platform, there is no shortcut to doing so.” For one thing, as Instagram’s website makes clear, “submitting a request for verification does not guarantee that your account will be verified.”
Yet while that’s true – and denials likely happen often — here are a few tips you can try to finally bag the checkmark you’ve been waiting for, upping your clout level and potentially earning new followers along the way.
1. Be newsworthy and notable
Just because you post great food pics or seriously stylish outfits, that doesn’t mean you’re a shoe-in for the checkmark. If you really want to court that verification, try doing something that gets people talking. If you’re an artist, post your most creative works to your account. If you’re a writer or singer, get your work out there, with backlinks and cited works in articles across the internet. “If you are an influencer, you probably have an existence outside of Instagram as well,” says Schaffer. “You should at least have a website in your bio and some sort of an established personal brand or corporate website if you are the CEO/founder of a company.”
2. Raise your follower count
Typically, verified Instagram accounts have a substantial number of followers, and if you’re creating content people love, the followers tend to come as well. When you submit your verification to Instagram, the company will not only notice that you make fresh, engaging photos, music, stories, or what-have-you, but they’ll want to see that you engage with a wide audience. “I have seen some with as little as a few thousand followers become verified, but as a rule of thumb I wouldn’t apply until I get 5,000 followers,” advises Schaffer.
That said, ”I highly recommend you DON’T buy fake followers and/or engagement,” he adds. Just work on attracting as many genuine people as you possibly can naturally, because it’s the more the merrier when you’re trying to get the checkmark.
3. Befriend other verified accounts
Try to get in good with other accounts ran by verified individuals. That’s not to say you have to make Taylor Swift your BFF, but start friending and interacting with “lower-tier” celebrities or brands and individuals you enjoy following. “Genuinely engage with like-minded people or people you think would dig what you would say,” says Schaffer. “Don’t just follow and like — comment and truly connect!”
Don’t be creepy about it, obviously (no one likes a stalker!) but engage with folks on Instagram you share similar interests with – maybe you really dig that girl’s bright pastel hair, so you ask which dye she uses, or maybe your fave Insta personality is looking for horror movie recommendations, so you regale them with suggestions. Building rapport will help give you authenticity and clout by association, as if it looks like you’re already canoodling with well-known folks on the platform, you’re going to look far more important.
4. Keep your account public
The entire reason you’d get a verification checkmark is to let followers know you’re who you say you are. Thus, you need to make your account public and keep it that way. Besides, if you’re private, Instagram likely won’t bother going to the trouble of checking to see you are who you say you are. Public personas don’t have anything to hide, so clean up the ‘Gram, put on your best social media face, and share your profile with the world.
And don’t expect to get verified immediately if you’re a brand-new account, says Schaffer. “You must be active on Instagram for sometime to be considered on the account... I would give it at least six months before even applying.”
5. Be the most authentic version of you possible
If your personal brand isn’t on point, you continually post strange new reinventions of yourself or your product, or you don’t give off authentic vibes, your application for verification is probably going to be a hard pass for Instagram. Likewise, if you don’t use your real name, real photo, or real life when posting to Instagram (to a certain degree, of course) those responsible for verifying your account can spot it from a mile away. We all go to a certain degree of “romanticizing” our lives on social media, but just keep it real.
“What content makes you an influencer? What are you an expert in? What can you give others advice on? What are you passionate about?” asks Schaffer. “Associate a few hashtags with that subject. Look at popular posts about that subject. That should give you inspiration as to what content to post and who to engage with.”
TL;DR: Don’t try to be something you’re not, and lean into your strengths. And then, be patient – verification will likely come one day, but don’t stress about it or pretend you’re someone else until it does. Remember, even if you’re denied once, that doesn’t mean you can’t try again in the future.