Good news! Instagram has finally introduced a way to apply to get verified on their platform. How does it work and who is it for? Let’s dig in!
So what do you need in order to get verified?
Your account has to comply with the Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. I’d recommend everyone to make a big cup of tea or coffee and read it to make sure you aren’t unknowingly breaking any rules.
Once you know you are fine, you are ready to fill out the form. Where can you find it? Open your Instagram app. Tap on and then Settings > Request Verification. Enter your full name and provide the required form of identification (example: government-issued photo ID).
Remember, applying doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get the verified badge. They need to confirm the authenticity, uniqueness, completeness, and notability of your account.
What does it mean? Quoted from their website help section:
Authentic: Your account must represent a real person, registered business or entity.
Unique: Your account must be the unique presence of the person or business it represents. Only one account per person or business may be verified, with exceptions for language-specific accounts. We don’t verify general interest accounts (example: @puppymemes).
Complete: Your account must be public and have a bio, profile photo, and at least one post. Your profile can’t contain “add me” links to other social media services.
Notable: Your account must represent a well-known, highly searched for person, brand or entity. We review accounts that are featured in multiple news sources, and we don’t consider paid or promotional content as sources for review.
They might do a background check on you, so make sure you are Googleable. What might help with that? Having a website, content on social media, profiles on IMDb and acting websites, or perhaps create a Wikipedia page as well. Having been interviewed by notable media outlets might help, too.*
*These tips are only my personal recommendation and it should not be taken as information coming from Instagram or Facebook.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER SENDING THE REQUEST
Keep in mind that even if you think you are eligible for verification, Instagram doesn’t guarantee that your account will be verified. If you’ve been denied, you can submit a new request after 30 days. Also remember that even if you’ve gotten a verification badge, Instagram can take it away at any time if you violate some of the rules.
What are some of the other ways to let your fans know that it’s really you? Include your official IG account on your acting website, link your account with your official Facebook page or Twitter account. You can put a link on your official YouTube channel as well.
Another option is to mention it in bio (I’d refrain from this unless you have a problem with an impostor) or film a short video saying hello and welcoming everyone on your official profile (that’s way more subtle and personal).
On your profile (grid): max. 60 seconds, filmed in a square or landscape (16:9)
Instagram Stories: 15 seconds, filmed as vertical video (9:16)*
*Remember to add the Story in your Highlights, otherwise it disappears in 24 hours.
NEED MORE TIPS ON INSTAGRAM? CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES AS WELL:
INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: A CREATIVE WAY TO SHOWCASE YOUR BEST STORIES
DO YOU NEED TO PLAN YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED? TIPS FOR USEFUL APPS
HOW TO PREVENT YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT FROM BEING HACKED
GREAT PHOTO EDITING APPS FOR INSTAGRAM
Stories are a format that’s hot at the moment. They are easy and fun to make, yet many people feel like they are not worth the invested time and effort, as they disappear in 24 hours. Instagram yet again found inspiration in Snapchat and took it a few steps further and introduced Highlights. Let’s talk about how you can use them creatively!
WHAT ARE HIGHLIGHTS
In case you don’t know what Highlights are, they can be found in your profile and serve to showcase some of your Stories. So if you want a particular story you created to last longer than 24 hours, you can save it to Highlights with a simple click on the circled heart in your story.
Do you want to add an older story to your Highlights? Since December 2017 you have the option to have your Stories privately archived, check if you have it turned on in the Story Settings.
If you have done that, you can add your older stories from there.
If you want to add even older Stories to your Highlights, you are going to have to upload it to your Stories again and click to be added to Highlights and let it run for 24 hours.
(In case you are wondering: I tried if I can delete it from Stories after adding it to Highlights, but unfortunately, that doesn’t work. It immediately disappears from Highlights as well.)
GETTING CREATIVE WITH HIGHLIGHTS
Now that we know how to add Stories to Highlights, let’s have a look at how can you use them in a creative way. When you have a look at my profile, you can see that I created several thematic Highlights and I created a graphic for each of them (not my idea, I saw other Instagrammers doing it, loved it, and created some in my brand colors and my signature design style).
Based on what you share a lot of, create Highlights by topic: behind the scenes, audition looks, best of your cat, etc.
If you want to create similar graphics like I have, you can use my favorite Canva, Adobe Spark or Photoshop. You’ll need to create a graphic that is 1080 x 1920 px (9:16) and you need to place your icons exactly in the middle.
Then download them to your phone and upload them to your Stories. Then click to save them in Highlights and it will offer you to create a Highlight or add to an existing Highlight. You create a new one and use these designs as the cover image.
After you’ve done that, just simply start adding stories to the Highlights based on their topic. Simple and fun, huh? Lemme know what you think.
Did you know I started sharing Quick Social Media Tips for Actors on my YouTube channel? Take a look and subscribe to get notified about new videos.
Short answer? Yes and… no. It depends on how you want to use Instagram. Let’s have a look at two different ways you can use Instagram.
Instagram Grid is like your portfolio with the best photos representing your brand and Instagram Stories are a great way to share random moments from your day and they disappear in 24 hours. Today let’s talk about the Instagram Grid:
When a user discovers your profile, they browse through your grid and decide if the story your profile tells about you resonates with them enough to want to follow you. It’s important that it has a theme, so it communicates your brand.
Instagram Pro’s (usually bloggers and influencers) even edit their photos in a unified way and carefully plan out the posts so they work together on the grid. Here are some examples:
However, when you look at the feeds of celebrities and personalities, you don’t see that level of effort as you do with influencers. For people famous outside of social media, it’s all about letting their fans in their lives, showing behind the scenes photos etc. Their feeds don’t look unified, but their face and status is a theme on its own. Here are some examples:
What should I choose?
Both ways of using Instagram are right and the choice depends on what you want to get out of using the app.
- Do you want to focus on your acting career and only use social media in order to have an online presence?
- Do you what to show what you are working on?
- Do you want to just share photos from your life as an actor to connect with your fans?If you answered YES to these questions and the thought of putting too much time and effort into Instagram stresses you out, then you should approach it like celebrities do. Just keep on sharing your life as you please.
- Are you considering using social media as a content creator?
- Do you want to start your own side hustle/online business to support your acting career?
- Do you want to work with brands on sponsored content?
If you answered YES to these questions, then you should use Instagram as influencers do. Just know it’s a lot of work and you’ll need to put in a lot of hours before you begin to see any significant results. However, if you are excited about photography, enjoy expressing yourself this way or you have a particular project in mind, then you won’t mind all the work and you’ll have fun with the process.
Luckily for you, there are some really cool apps that can make it much easier for you to prepare the content for your Instagram in bulk. I’ve talked about batch creating in my e-book Social Media for Actors, but let’s recap why it’s useful to prepare content in bulk:
- Consistency: If you have enough content prepared, it allows you to always have something to post even on the busiest days. That way you won’t stop posting and keep a consistent posting schedule.
- Convenience: You don’t have to make time every single day to think of something to post. If you set aside time to prepare it in a batch, it will make your life so much easier.
Unlike with Twitter or Facebook, you can’t automate your posts. Instagram doesn’t allow 3-party sites to post on your account’s behalf. This means, that even when you use apps for planning, all you can do is prepare the posts and set a reminder. You’ll still have to do the publishing by hand.
Let’s have a look at some of the best apps out there:
I really like Planoly for its friendly user interface. My most favorite function is the grid planning drag & drop feature, where you can upload a bunch of photos, move them around and decide in which order you are going to publish them based on how they look next to each other.
You also have a calendar, where you see photos you posted on each day, likes and comments. In the analytics, you have some useful data, this will help if your Instagram account set on personal and not on business (where you have an analytics function). Another great function is the hashtag storage that allows you to simply add the hashtag cloud to a photo. Planoly has a desktop version that allows you to prepare the content on your computer.
UNUM only works as an app, it doesn’t have a desktop version. The app has very similar functions as Planoly does, including analytics, calendar etc. It’s easy to navigate and learn to work with this app if you prefer something more minimalist.
Later, formerly called Latergram, is a very simple app with a few functions that get the job done. Their desktop version is way more sophisticated than the mobile app with additional functions similar to Planoly and UNUM. A great thing about Later is that you can also use it for other apps than Instagram, it works for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest as well.
All three of these apps are available for iOS and Android devices and have free (limited functions) as well as paid plans (more features). If you want to learn how to work with the apps, they all have YouTube channels or blogs with tutorials (Planoly, UNUM, Later).
Safety tip: All these apps I recommend because I’ve tested them out myself. I’ve checked user reviews for any red flags when it comes to safety. There are plenty of apps out there that have similar features, but you should always read user reviews and search the Internet for any warnings. Also, read the Terms of Service and think twice before allowing access to your phone or your account. Read more about Instagram safety tips in my previous article.
Wanna learn more about Instagram? Check out my e-book Social Media for Actors on SMFA-U.
Let the community know if you are using any cool apps they should know about in the comments below.
Online marketing is a perfect area in which actors can find survival jobs. Why? It’s flexible, can be done from anywhere at any time. Also, there are many companies and digital agencies looking for flexible and creative people.
What jobs can you do in online marketing?
Can you manage Facebook pages or groups, YouTube channels, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest profiles? You can get hired by a company or a digital agency to manage their client’s profiles. Search for Social Media Management or Community Management jobs.
Do you enjoy working with spreadsheets or documents and are super organized? Many companies or freelancers look for virtual assistants to help them out with the administration.
Product description, video scripts, captions, website copy, slogans and claims, bios and profile descriptions, all of this needs a creative mind behind it. If writing is your skill, you might be able to put it to use in this job. Check out SMFA ninja and SMFA
-U Prof Quincy Cho and her awesome copywriting business
as a great example.
They say this is the job of the future in the area of online marketing. Do you have the ability to think analytically, can sort out numbers and data into reports, that would help companies make better business decisions? This might be the right gig for you.
Do you understand how search engines work, can analyze keywords, do link building, correct HTML & CSS codes and such? SEO Specialists very sought after.
Can you code or optimize WordPress templates? Great! You can work with digital agencies and companies as their in-house coder, or you can freelance and offer your services, which will give you even more freedom.
Companies need logos, wireframes, ads graphics, social media graphics and much more. Graphic design is one of the most sought-after skills in online marketing, not to mention amongst the best-paid jobs.
Are you good at photography, filming and editing videos, writing blog posts or creating simple graphics? Companies or agencies need creatives full of ideas both for one-off or regular gigs.
Influencer marketing is a current trend because brands realize that people’s shopping habits have changed thanks to the Internet. People want to read or watch a review and hear recommendations from other people. So brands hire people with an online presence to review their products.
Do you have a talent for business? Companies are constantly hunting for great salespeople and are often willing to negotiate flexible hours allowing you to work from home, run off to auditions and organize work so it suits your needs as long as you are delivering results.
Do you understand emailing services and CRM systems? These skills are very sought after because e-mail is still among the best marketing channels. The best thing is that many tasks can be automatized, allowing you for a lot of freedom to do work when it suits you.
FB or PPC Ads
Can you create Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest ads and you know how to work with Google AdWords? These skills are highly sought after by companies with products or services. Search for Ads Manager jobs.
How to start with online marketing
Now, from my personal experience, it’s really useful to have a general knowledge of online marketing and a mix of skills even though you may specialize in a particular area.
If you have a user-level knowledge of social media and would like to do it professionally, consider getting a day job in a junior position at a digital agency. This is going to be the best learning experience as agencies often need universal soldiers, so you’ll get to do a bit of everything (at least according to my experience, can’t speak for all agencies).
Even though you can often work from home, it’s really good to go to the office as well, because working in a team is incredibly valuable. You can teach each other a lot and it will make you grow faster than being on your own all the time.
Another option is to look for junior positions in the marketing departments of companies. Perhaps your work won’t be as colorful as in a digital agency, but you can still learn a lot by working for a single brand.
Where to get remote jobs:
The upside of these sites is that if you are just starting out and need to get your first clients and references, you might get ones here. Set up daily e-mail digests to cut down on the time spent on that. The downside of these sites is a high competition rate and clients often look at the price and take the lowest.
Here is where all your SMFA ninja training pays off. Just like you create a Show Bible, you can create a list of companies you’d like to work for and approach them directly. Either responding to their job offers or just reach out with an offer of your own. Often companies hire even when they don’t advertise that.
You can also search for remote or digital nomad job-search focused groups on Facebook
Did you like these tips?
Make sure to let me know in the comments below and if you’d like to learn how to use social media like a ninja, check out my e-book Social Media for Actors
More and more Instagram accounts are being hacked these days, which is quite scary. You are building your account to represent your actor brand, investing a lot of time and effort into it and you wouldn’t want it to go to waste. So let’s have a look at what you can do to prevent a hack from happening.
HAVE A STRONG PASSWORD
A strong password should be AT LEAST 6 characters long, the longer, the better. It should consist of a combination of Capital Letters, Lower-Case Letters, Numbers, and Symbols. Also, don’t forget to change your password every once in a while and don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. Think twice before saving your passwords in a browser for convenience.
KEEP YOUR E-MAIL SECURE
Whoever has access to your e-mail might be able to get to your Instagram account, too. Do you let someone else use your computer or smart phone? They might unintentionally visit a website that harms your computer or smartphone. Make sure you log-off your e-mail, use a strong password and use a security lock on your phone. Also be careful about using public wi-fi.
USE THIRD PARTY APPS WITH CAUTION
There are some great apps for planning your posts that I recommend using in my e-book Social Media for Actors. These apps are approved by Instagram or even Instagram Partners. Before using any third-party app, it’s important to read their Terms of Service and do some research into what people say about the app.
I do not recommend using apps for buying or otherwise acquiring followers, mass following and unfollowing. These apps generally aren’t approved by Instagram and Instagram is shutting these apps down for API violations.
TURN ON TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Instagram created the two-factor authentication to further secure user’s accounts, but still many people don’t know they can protect their accounts this way.
How to turn it on?
1. Go to your profile and click on (iOS) or (Android).
2. Scroll down to ACCOUNT settings and click on Two-Factor Authentication.
3. Turn on Require Security Code by swiping on the icon. If it’s white then it’s OFF, if it’s blue then it’s ON.
4. Now you need to add your phone number, so you can receive a code. Your phone number will now be linked to your account for further security.
5. You’ll receive a code via text message, insert the number and click Next.
You’ll also notice that you now have Backup Codes for your Instagram account. You should save them safely as you’ll need to use them in case something happens with your account.
I hope you found these tips helpful and continue to enjoy Instagram. There is no need to panic over losing your account or to become paranoid and stay away from anything online. However, it’s good to adopt habits that will keep you safe online.
Would you like more tips like this? Leave me a comment or tweet me @SMforActors.