Instagram Verification for Your Small Business

Your dreams of making your business “Instagram famous” start with this guide from The Blueprint. We’ll show you how to get verified on Instagram and snag that coveted blue checkmark.

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A sound social media strategy is practically indispensable for business owners trying to build their customer base. Depending on your audience, verification on Instagram might be a central component of that strategy.

When comparing Instagram vs. Facebook, you’ll note a difference in demographics (the Facebook audience tends to skew older, for example) and content types. Instagram posts are often visually dynamic and might attract attention that text-only posts can’t command.

One of the best social media marketing tips you can get is to be where your customers are. If you find that your audience is already on Instagram and that your content is primarily visual (or can be made to be), don’t be too hasty in writing off Instagram for your business.

The Motley Fool Instagram homepage.

That little blue checkmark next to the account name is an Instagram verification badge that lets you know you are viewing a brand’s official account. Source: Instagram.


Overview: What is Instagram verification?

Once solely the province of A-list celebrities, powerful public figures, and exclusive brands, Instagram verification is a stamp of authenticity from the platform. It ensures that imposters don’t confuse Instagrammers with misleading pronouncements or promises of a new “Err Jordan” launch.

The Instagram verification sticker lets users know that the account is the official face of the person or brand. But that little blue checkmark is more than just a status symbol. For influencers or brands, it can be as critical as an effective social media campaign in making a difference on your bottom line.

A bar graph showing the relationship between number of followers and verification status.

Big accounts have an easier time getting verified, but even accounts with 1,000 followers can make the leap. Source: hypeauditor.com.


Who is eligible for Instagram verification?

There is no minimum follower count for Instagram verification, but the platform does outline certain traits that aspiring verified accounts must have.

  • Authentic: Your account must be your own. You can’t impersonate your favorite celeb, for example, or torpedo your competition with a fake account. Your account must represent a real person or a legitimate business.
  • Unique: This means you are allowed just one account per entity. If you have a business, you can still have your own personal ‘Gram (with a unique account name), but your fashion boutique cannot have different accounts for shoes, handbags, and hats.
  • Complete: Your account must have all the essentials filled in — your bio, a profile photo, and at least one post — and it has to be public so anyone can view your content.
  • Notable: Instagram describes this as an account that represents a “well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity.” Don’t despair if this doesn’t sound like you (yet!). Instagram works in mysterious ways; if you fill out your application to get your account verified (and do so with entirely truthful answers), you might be surprised to find you’re more notable than you think.

The 6 steps to get verified on Instagram

Getting verified on Instagram isn’t easy — only 3.26% of Instagram accounts are verified — but it is simple. Grab your smartphone, follow along with this guide, and you’ll be on your way.

1. Log in to your account

This guide presupposes that you already have an Instagram account established for your business. If you’re not there yet, back up a few steps and follow these steps to get started. If you do have your account already (go you!), make sure you’re logged in to your business account (the one you’re going to use to build your brand) rather than your personal account (the one you’re going to use to document all your brunches for your future biographers).

2. Go to your profile

If you have a profile pic uploaded already, just click it. If not, you’ll want to do this now as it’s a required step for verification. If you have no profile picture, you’ll see a generic icon of a person. A tap there will take you to your profile.

3. Navigate through the menu

Click on the compressed menu (or “hamburger”) in the top right corner of your screen and you’ll see an option for Settings. Click there, then Account, then Request Verification. This may be a good time to remind you to not attempt this on your desktop computer. Instagram is not only mobile-friendly but often mobile-insistent — you simply can’t get to the verification request any other way.

4. Submit your documents

Instagram wants to make sure you are who you say you are. This is where the verification part of “Instagram verified” comes in. If you are trying to verify a personality account (perhaps you are the hairdresser to the stars or a freelance photographer), this can simply be a copy of your driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued I.D. that shows your name and date of birth.

If you are applying to get your business account verified, you’ll need official business documents, such as articles of incorporation, a tax return, or a utility bill.

5. Wait … patiently

Once you’ve submitted your request and documents, all you can do is wait. No amount of worrying or pestering the Instagram gods will help. There is no official wait time, but it’s not unusual to have to wait 30 days or more for a response.

In the meantime, don’t neglect your account. Continue to schedule Instagram posts and engage with your audience. Just as a blue checkmark doesn’t guarantee fame, a lack of one doesn’t consign you to doom.

6. Try, try again

If you aren’t successful your first time out, don’t despair, and don’t give up. You can resubmit your request after 30 days and, since you’ve been managing your social media like a pro in the meantime, your subsequent applications can only be stronger.


Lend your business a little authority

An Instagram-verified account says a lot about your business, but its cachet comes from the idea that your business is one that someone else might want to impersonate, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If your business is as attractive in other areas as it is on social media, you’ll find yourself way more than merely Instagram famous.

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Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. katiecarroll has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.