My First Instagram Verification

My Instagram verification journey started with experimenting with Instagram ads for my business. I ended up getting asked by my friends, and after, friends of my friends, to help them with their Instagram advertising.

Facebook Ads Manager may seem like an aircraft dashboard for those who see it the first time. On top of that, when you start talking 1-3% lookalike audiences, retargeting, and bids, you end up hearing something like, “Can you do this for me? I’ll buy you a beer.”

Can You Help Me Get Verified?

Anyway, I was happy to help my friends in my spare time, for free or barter if they insisted. I never got beer btw. Recommendations kept passing on and, then, one Saturday night, I got introduced to a figure who asked if I could help her get verified on Instagram.

The figure was notable enough to get verified on Instagram without my assistance, and I asked if she tried in-app verification?

“I did, twice,” she said. “I got rejected once, and my later request sent a month ago seems to fall through the crack.”

This conversation took place long before Instagram introduced an option to include up to five links to your verification request. So the first thing I thought was that there was nothing wrong with her notability. But with the way she maintained and conveyed her notability to Instagram.

I agreed to have a look and see if I could help. Not for money. I enjoyed turning abstract Instagram guidelines into precise, science-like procedureS.

Eventually, we made some tweaks to her google presence, reapplied, and in a week and a half got the message saying: “Your account wasn’t verified because it doesn’t meet the criteria for verification. You can submit another request in 30 days.”

Instargam Verification

In the next thirty days, we secured her appearance in numerous google news approved sources (which also caused a spike in her Instagram following and mentions. Updated her google knowledge panel and Instagram profile. And reported imposter accounts pretending to be her to Instagram.

My First Instagram Verification

As soon as thirty days passed, we reapplied again. Then, one late evening, two days after the verification request submission, I’ve got a notification from Instagram. I had access to the account under the owner’s consent and mutually signed Media Management Non-Commercial Agreement.

The notification said: “Your account was verified. You’ll now see a blue verified…” Hold on a sec. I tapped at the user icon in the lower right corner. And the brand new verification checkmark was there, next to the handle.

Well, that’s neat – I thought and texted the newly verified account owner: “Congrats for joining the 1% club!” Then turned off the light and went to sleep. Then I grabbed my phone again and added: “please, make sure to change the password.” Now, to sleep.

Unexpected Fame

Before I got to tell this story to any of my friends, word of mouth passed the earth and came back to me. Flooding my DMs and WhatsApp with messages like: “Please help me get verified on Instagram.” “I heard you know someone from Instagram. Please verify my account.” And my favorite: “Can I buy a verified Instagram account from you?”

The more I answered NO and cleaned unsolicited requests in my Instagram posts comments, the more I was offered. And the more messages I was getting. At some point, I switched my phone number, which I had for years, and stopped checking my own Instagram posts.

I’ll Get You Verified On Instagram

I started having a life again until I got an offer to get myself verified on Instagram.

From what I knew about how Instagram Verification worked, this pitch was a huge red flag for me. Posing as an interested newbie, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole with questions to pull as much information as I can.

After making sure I can pay for “Verification” via refundable PayPal transaction, I’ve gone ahead and paid $400. Other $400 was supposed to be paid to the scammer’s PayPayl, as soon as I saw the verified blue badge next to my username.

Long story short: After getting the first $400, the scammer bragged about work in progress for a couple of days, then urged me to pay the balance of $400, claiming the job done, and that I should see the verification tick right after the second payment. Seeing his efforts were to no avail, the scammer disappeared and deleted the account.

I made screenshots of the entire conversation. Saved all the files he sent to my phone for further study, and calmly applied for a PayPal refund, which was rather quickly processed.

And then I thought:

How many people I denied and ignored eventually got into the hands of scammers? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? One person would be enough to accept the fact that I could put my experience to better use. And help that one person get legitimately qualified for Instagram Verification. Rather than letting her fall into the scammer’s hands.

I decided to make a one-page memo that lists everything I have done that led to successful Instagram Verification.

With time, the one-pager turned into a short whitepaper that I shared with people for feedback and to see if it worked for them. I was adding more notes as I saw what worked and what did not and making updates to keep the paper relevant with the latest Instagram guidelines, until one day, it became an entire book that works for me, and that will work for you.

Sophia Carrington