- 1. Definition
- 2. Overview
- 3. Advantages and disadvantages
- 4. Relevance to influencer marketing
- 5. How to get verified
Table of contents
Instagram Verification or Verified Badges is a check that appears next to a user’s account and proves that the account of that particular person has been confirmed and authenticated by the platform as being legitimate. In other words, the brand, public figure, or celebrity who the account belongs to is recognized as having a real-life audience that can be interacted with.
The verification check is particularly important for influencer marketing as it signifies that all the followers are real people who engage with the influencer or brand regularly. Yet, despite popular opinion, the method to gain this verification does not lie solely in collecting a large number of followers.
Until now, Instagram (a.k.a. IG) has not awarded these Verification Badges to many accounts, only those who they feel are legitimate public figures, brands, or celebrities worthy of having one. While the social media platform claims that users can not request or buy verification, some users have said that they have obtained these badges through requests and others have gone so far to say that they have even purchased verifications on the black market.
Three of the most common ways to get an Instagram Verification (a.k.a. Blue Check) is through the following methods:
- Be famous and have a large following
- Work with an agency and have them request a Verification Badge for you.
- Buy a Blue Check from someone you know who works at Instagram (highly-illegal & not recommended).
Instagram’s verification process has been a mystery for most users to-date, yet the company has now begun to roll out a request process (as of July 2018), where users can submit an application for verification right on their phone.
As of this writing, this feature has only been tested in Australia, and that too only on Australian iPhones. Once the results of this request process are in, the application method for account verification should extend to other smartphones like Android, as well as other countries.
Thus far, the most successful approach to obtain verification has been through a digital agency. Influencers have long used such agencies for influencer management purposes, but now are also employing them to apply for a Verified Badge on their behalf.
Digital agencies and certain publicists have access to a digital portal - Media Partner Support - that the public at large does not have access to. Because of this, they are able to easily apply for a Blue Check for the public figures they work with. The most likely reason such agencies have this special ability is that the people they work with are well-known names and brands that are already verified as having a large and real-world following outside of the platform. In other words, these are not fly-by-night influencers looking to make a quick buck through influencer marketing.
Advantages and disadvantages
AS far as marketers are concerned, a verified account is an easy way to know if a particular public figure, celebrity or brand is authentic. This is extremely important as those wishing to follow and promote their offers through such accounts need to know beforehand that they are dealing with a real and interactive audience. Real influencers mean real followers and real followers equal real media value, engagements, leads, and sales.
Some of the other benefits of obtaining Instagram Verification are as follows:
- Stand Out From The Competition: Brands of all shapes and sizes engage their following on IG. Besides their content, one major way of separating themselves from the rest of the competition is by having that blue check mark next to their account, which lets followers, customers, and marketers know that they are the real deal.
- Authorized by Authority: Instagram itself is an authority figure. Being verified by them automatically makes you an authority by default.
- Brand Security: Verification assures that your followers know that they are dealing with an authentic figure and not some imposter. It helps to secure your account from fraudulent trolls trying to steal your audience from you by using your good name, and in so doing, tarnish it.
- Increases Networking Opportunities: When it comes to business, like equals like. The famous tend to deal with the famous and the wealthy tend to deal with the wealthy. A verified IG account can bring you into contact with other verified members who can bring you some quality business.
The major drawbacks to getting verified include the following:
- No Official System: Users have no way of knowing what it takes to get a Verification Badge. Many accounts with over a million followers have not been recognized and verified by IG, so the follower growth in and of itself is not necessarily a prerequisite for verification. Without having any known criteria, it is hard to know how to obtain or comply with the social media platform’s verification process, if there even is such a thing.
- Costly: So far, the best way to get an Instagram Verification has been through a digital agency or publicist, or through the black market (someone who works at IG sells it to you). Both cost money, but buying one on the black market is illegal and can land you into legal troubles.
- Takes Time: Those who have tried to get verified on their own have had to wait weeks and sometimes even months to hear back from IG, and that too to receive bad news.
Relevance to influencer marketing
Getting a Verification Badge ensures advertisers that an influencer’s following is real. As this badge is not given out to everyone, an advertiser can be sure that an account with a blue checkmark is a real entity with a real audience and real customers who can be marketed to.
This badge often leads to a higher price tag for sponsored posts by influencers. This is great for influencers who receive this recognition as that can make more off of their account. It might even save advertisers who market through such influencers as well even if they are paying more upfront as an authenticate and responsive following often leads to a higher ROI. What is more, advertisers who choose to do business with verified IG accounts do not have to spend a lot of time and money on influencer management tools designed to verify the legitimacy of the account and its following.
A final aspect that pertains to the relevancy of verified accounts and their effects on social media marketing is the ability of their followers to share links across a number of channels turning a good piece of content into a viral one.
As these accounts not only have a large reach but also a proactive following who likes to share content across IG and other social media platforms, a well-placed link can end up being seen on a number of profiles and channels across the web, bringing more backlinks and brand advocates to your website and or Instagram channel.
How to get verified
To be honest, if you are currently not a public figure with a large following, working with a digital agency who has access to the IG Verification Portal or know someone who works at IG, or currently own an iPhone and live in Australia it is going to be hard to apply for a Verification Badge, let alone obtain one.
That being said, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of being recognized and verified for a blue check next to your IG account. They are as follows:
- Link Your Account: Do not only link your IG account to your other social media accounts but also to your website as well, if you have one. The reason for this is to make it clear, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your IG account officially belongs to you.
- Create Engaging Content: This goes without saying, but the content you create must be good enough to be featured on the platform’s Explore Tab. If your content gets posted to the site's Explore Tab multiple times, the chances are good that the company is going to start taking notice of your account.
- Use New Features: New features like Archived Posts and UTM for Stories lets your followers know that you are an not only an authority in regards to your niche but also an authority on IG’s platform too. Not only this, but it lets IG know that you stay up-to-date with their latest capabilities and gives an indication that you, your brand, and your IG account is trustworthy.