It’s so funny how social media was just this fun thing, and now it’s this monster that consumes so many millennial lives.  -Cazzie David

You guys, it happened last night.  Out of nowhere I got the notification that my account was verified.  My jaw literally dropped. I’ve applied 3 times and have been turned down 3 times.  So I basically gave up. I don’t handle rejection well.  

How I got Instagram Verified 2020
While you are here, feel free to follow me!

Other factors contributed to me giving up on Instagram. The main being a bunch of my photos came down for community standards violations.  My violations were little boys wearing board shorts on the beach, like old photos of my toddlers on the beach for nudity. Instagram removed so many of them, I appealed, I sent the Instagram CEO Adam Moserri a cookie cake, it’s a whole long story. I didn’t lose my account but my reach took a major hit.   Reach is how many people see your photos, or rather how many people Instagram chooses to show your photos.   It’s kind of a big deal. Supposedly there is no such thing as a shadow ban or Instagram trust score, but my reach died.  It’s slowly gotten better, I think colder weather is helping and I’m not posting cute topless beach boys as much? But it still hurt my feelings, I was an emotional mess over an app on my phone deleting my little boys.  Silly right?   Crazy millennials.

The other main factor for me giving up on Instagram was Pinterest.  My friend Kari Ogg (Graceful Mommy) has been lecturing me on Pinterest for years. I finally devoted all of the time that I was spending on Instagram to Pinterest.  The pay off was insane, my blog page views are bumpin and my impressions are in the millions. So I was packing up the Instagram Influencer boxes and was ready to become a Pinfluencer.  Are Pinterest influencers a thing? They should be, I’m seeing more ROI from Pinterest and web-traffic than I’ve ever seen on Instagram. Like 5 years of Instagram vs. a month of Pinterest.  Tailwind is the key, I’ll write a post on my Tailwind Pinterest methods when I figure them out.   

So back to the point of this post, Instagram Verification.  What is Instagram Verification? The blue check? How do you get Instagram Verified? What is the blue badge on Instagram accounts?  How long does it take to get Instagram verified? How many followers do you need to get Instagram verified? How do I verify my instagram account in 2019?  How do you verify your instagram account in 2020? So many searches, and I’ve googled them all.   

What does Instagram Verification mean?

Instagram verification is a means of establishing your Instagram account as the “authentic presence of a notable public figure, celebrity, or global brand.” An Instagram verified account gets a verified badge. It’s a blue seal with a little check mark that appears next to your username. You can apply for Instagram verification with either a personal account or a business account, but it must be public.  All of this is straight from the Instagram Verified Badges help page

Until 2018, Instagram Verifications were a complete mystery.  Now everyone can request verification with a few easy steps. 

Here’s how to request verification on Instagram:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile by tapping the icon with your profile picture in the bottom-right corner.
  2. Tap on the menu icon  in the top-right corner of your profile.
  3. Select the settings icon that appears at the bottom-right of your screen, then select Account from the settings menu.
  4. Scroll down through the account settings until you see Request verification, then tap it.
  5. A form will appear with your account name pre-filled. First, add your full name (for businesses, the full name of whoever manages your Instagram will do).
  6. Next, tap Choose File to attach a photo of your ID. For a person, a driver’s license, passport, or national identification card will work. For a business, you can use any official business document such as a tax filing, article of incorporation, or even a recent electrical bill.
  7. Either open your camera and take a clear, in-focus photo of your ID or upload an image of your ID from your phone.
  8. Finally, tap the blue Send button at the bottom of the screen to submit your verification request to Instagram. 
How to get verified on Instagram 2020
Screengrabs from Instagram Verification Process

But that’s the easy part, not everyone gets verified and it’s normally not this easy.  Well, unless you are a badass expert or a celebrity.  

The coveted blue check is elusive.  

Instagram verification is reserved for accounts that Instagram deems “in the public interest.”  Meaning specifically, you must be a public figure, celebrity or global brand. You must adhere to the network’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. And, as Instagram explains on its website, your account must also be:

  • Authentic.
  • Unique. 
  • Public.
  • Complete. 
  • Notable. 

You will not be verified straight away, your request above has invited Instagram investigators to start looking into you.  An actual person at Instagram will make the decision if you get the Blue Check or a rejection. This takes days and even weeks, don’t annoy the Instagram world by applying again.

Then one night while you are deep in a Schitt’s Creek marathon eating a pint of ice cream, you may get a notification that you were verified.  Or you may get a notification asking you to reapply in 30 days, which is a really nice rejection.

Now I know what y’all are asking yourselves.  How did Amber Faust get verified? She literally just made cute kids and takes photos of them.   But I did have a successful photography career before the kids. I’ve shot celebrities, magazine covers and so many cool events. So I wasn’t a nobody by any means, but I wasn’t ready to be verified.   

So here’s what I did to help increase my Instagram Verification odds.  I don’t know what the secret sauce was, or what made them finally say yes after rejecting me three times.  So I suggest the following steps. The best part about these steps, is if done correctly they will help your website or blog SEO as well.  

Press is what most experts say will get you verified the fastest. Good news, bad news, just fill up the first page of google results with news about you.  I’ve seen an Instagram Influencer who was verified for being horrible to her photographer and got quite a bit of press.  I prefer the good press, so I use a great website for good press.

My number one and most important secret weapon is a website called or lovingly called HARO in the industry.  You set up a simple profile and sign up for their services as a SOURCE and then they email you reporter’s queries three times a day.  Reporters are looking for sources on all things. Do you have a dog, a kid, do you enjoy travel, what bank account do you use, are you a doctor, a veterinarian, are you an artist, a social worker?  You are a source. Reporters need genuine sources on all things. The trick is to be honest, reporters can sniff out bullshit from a mile away but answer what you know. By answering these queries I’ve been featured on Forbes, Yahoo, Good Housekeeping, WSJ, USA Today, and so many more.  I normally answer photography queries and parenting queries, but I’ve been known to answer some randoms and get a fun feature or two. Also if you are sensitive to sexuality in any way, you may want to skip HARO. Cosmopolitan and other fun news organizations ask for some pretty explicit topics. I have to stop my reading and go google what so many terms are, then I blush bright bright pink.

Instagram Blue Check 2020
Screengrabs from HARO email list this morning

My second step is to clean house.  Marie Kondo your social media and blog.  Try to keep the same clean image and username on all of your accounts.  This is harder than it sounds, but I’m @faustisland on all social media platforms.  Hook your Instagram to Facebook. Add complete profiles with your full name to all of your social media accounts. Clean up your blog. Do you have widgets that are wonky?  404 error links? Old poorly written blog posts that you wrote before you knew what you were doing? It’s time to get rid of the clutter and go minimal. Clean it up and keep what brings you joy.  If done correctly this will make your account unique and show off what makes you awesome.  

Step three is another cleaning step.  I’m totally procrastinating on doing the dishes while I write this, but it’s on my brain. So I’m getting it out. If you see anyone using your photos or reposting you without permission, report them.  The main reason behind verification is not clout, it’s to prevent impersonating. So show instagram every time you are impersonated or have your photos stolen. Clean up the impersonators.  

All three of these steps take time and effort, but they will help with more than just possible verification.  It helps with SEO and google rankings. As an influencer, honestly I get more jobs from people finding me on google than stumbling on my Instagram account.  

Please don’t give up if you are denied on the first try, rejection hurts but be disappointed for a few hours and then get back to your hustle.  I was denied 3 times and now I’m verified.  

Are you an Instagram Influencer?  Have you read my big list of Influencer Agencies to sign up for and make money?