With how quick and easy it is to make social media accounts, it can be difficult to determine if people are really who they say they are. How do you know if you’re actually following Beyonce or Nike?
One way to determine whether an account is genuine or not is to look for a verification badge. This is typically represented as a check mark. But the official symbol may vary depending on the social media platform. Verification badges confirm the celebrity, public figure, or brand accounts are legitimate.
A simple check mark next to your profile name can make a big difference when it comes to increasing followers and brand awareness. The main social platforms that verify brands are:
But of all the platforms, obtaining Instagram verification is the most challenging.
What Does It Mean to Be Instagram Verified?
Verified Instagram accounts have a blue badge with a check mark next to the profile name, as shown above. The badge appears in searches and when the account owner comments on a post. This badge recognizes the account as the official profile for the person or business.
Instagram verification prevents impersonation. This is why verified accounts are exclusive for celebrities, public figures, or global brands. Being verified means your company is a big deal because it’s important enough to be at risk of impersonation. The check mark is also meant to help users easily find their favorite brands on social media.
What Are the Benefits of Being Instagram Verified?
Being verified on Instagram increases your brand’s credibility. Considering less than 1% of accounts are verified, having the blue badge and check by your profile name signifies your brand is both important and relevant.
Some Instagrammers might be cautious when they see a giveaway or deal, skeptical it could be a scam. But if they see a verification badge beside the account name, they are likely to consider the account as trustworthy.
Increased Brand Awareness
Instagram verification can also increase brand awareness and your follower count. This is because verified profiles appear towards the top of the search and suggested accounts. It’s also believed the algorithm favors content by verified accounts, resulting in higher engagement per post.
The blue check could also bring business opportunities to your ecommerce company. Even if an influencer or potential partner hasn’t heard of your brand before, the check indicates your company is a major leader in the industry. This could spark interest in communication or a collaboration with your business.
Early Access to Special Features
Another perk is that verified accounts receive early access to Instagram features that can help monetize accounts. For example, the swipe-up feature on Instagram stories. A brand needs at least 10,000 users to get access to the swipe-up tool. But verified accounts are the exception to this rule.
Take ShipsStation. The ShipStation Instagram account has less than 10,000 followers. But since it’s an official account it’s able to add the swipe-up feature to it’s Instagram stories, as pictured below.
How Do You Get Instagram Verified?
The Instagram verification process has become increasingly selective. When verified badges were first introduced in 2014, users had the option to apply for verification. But later in 2015, Instagram removed this option.
As part of its policy, Instagram doesn’t disclose the process and criteria considered for deciding which accounts should become verified. Users often aren’t even notified when their account has been verified. They may just log in one day to see the blue verification badge beside their account name.
This doesn’t mean brands have given up on actively pursuing the rare blue badge. While public requests aren’t available, some companies have connections at Instagram who help them get verified.
Digital agencies and publicists with ties to Instagram can also put in requests for verification for your brand. Instagram refers to this as Media Partner Support. Instagram states verification badges can’t be bought or transferred, but some employees at Instagram have been caught and fired for selling verification badges.
To prevent this “black market” of Instagram verification, Instagram has started testing a feature that would allow users to request for verification in the main settings. The image below shows what this looks like:
At the moment, this is only being tested in Australia and a few other countries. There isn’t a timeline for when Instagram plans to roll out this option to other countries. In addition, Instagram has not yet confirmed whether it intends to keep this option.
If verification requests become globally and publicly available, it will make the process of applying easier. But this still doesn’t guarantee your account will be verified.
While there isn’t one thing a brand can do to guarantee verification, there are several strategies that can make your ecommerce company a more desirable candidate for verification:
Connect your social media accounts
Connecting your Instagram account to your other social media platforms can demonstrate authenticity. While it doesn’t guarantee verification, a high following on other platforms certainly helps. It may be easier to first become verified on your other social media accounts before focusing on Instagram.
There isn’t much of an incentive for Instagram to consider you for verification if you don’t use Instagram. Make sure to complete your profile, including a picture, bio, and link to your website.
Engage and respond
Be sure to respond to the followers that engage with your content. Instagram wants to see you’re active on the platform and connecting with others. You have to show that your account is important and people are paying attention to it.
Establish a strong presence on other platforms
A strong following on other platforms shows you’re credible, well-reputed, and someone worth following. This is especially effective if you have many followers on parallel platforms like YouTube.
Obtain national press
A website and a Wikipedia page alone aren’t going to cut it. Instagram will be looking for proof your brand is legitimate, popular, and influential enough to be considered for verification. If your company isn’t widely recognized, the chances of being verified are slim.
Instagram verification definitely has perks. But unfortunately getting verified is not a transparent or straightforward process. Instagram is working towards making requests for verification public and easily accessible within the app, but while waiting for this feature, finding the right connections to talk to can help speed up the process.
Putting efforts towards producing great content on Instagram, gaining national/international recognition and press, and popularity on other platforms will give your ecommerce company a better chance of earning the renowned Instagram verification badge.