Should You Buy A Social Media Account?
It's time for me to come clean... I admit it... I have purchased social media accounts, a lot of them actually. In a world where large social media accounts can make money, it's natural to want a quick and fast way to find one and start making money on it. So this blog will cover what I have learned from my purchases, my recommendations on what to look for and how to potentially be successful if you decide to buy one.
Should I Purchase an Account?
This is a tough one to answer. I have purchased accounts that were successful and ones that were a total waste of money. I have spent anywhere between $3,000-200 and I have purchased accounts on Instagram and Tumblr. These accounts range in followers between 120,000 and 50,000. All in all, I would say buying accounts isn't a bad idea, but you have to be VERY strategic about how you go about it. I will go through a couple of the major Social Media platforms and give my opinions on each.
I would NOT recommend buying a Facebook account, unless you plan to simply take over the account as it is, not change any URLs or Page names and keep posting what the predecessor is posting. This means, don't buy a Facebook account that posts memes about cats (the seller is probably weird anyways if they like cats that much) and try to turn it into a page about trucks, or dogs or anything other than cats. If you sell cat toys (in which case we will never be friends) you might get lucky and be able to switch the page to your business. What a lot of people try, and usually fail to do is buy a Facebook page with thousands of followers, delete all the content, change the page name and the URL and then keep the followers, but post their own content. For Facebook, this doesn't usually work, mainly because you have a 50/50 change of Facebook allowing you to change the page name or the URL. Also, they are smart about that sort of stuff and they will squash your posts if they think you bought the page from someone else. What Facebook wants you to do is pay them to get followers and to promote your posts. I have one page on Facebook that has around 350,000 followers. I paid for these, actually I paid a lot for these. This was done through my retail business and annually we spend around $100,000 on FB advertising. All in all, your Facebook following doesn't necessarily convert to exposure, instead how much you are willing to pay Facebook does.
So I just purchased my first Tumblr account. I will preface this with, I have started and run a Tumblr account with around 31,000 followers through my main company. It took a ton of work to get up and going and still takes a lot of work to maintain, so I was eager to simply buy an account and see if I could get it to convert. I purchased the account from Swapd.co, an online broker for social media accounts. This and ViralAccounts.com are probably the two most "trusted" sources. The account I purchased had 130,000 followers and was well, an adult star fan page, not like an adult star such as Tom Cruise, but the type of adult start Tom Cruise searches for on the internet when his girlfriend is out of town at a scientology convention.
I purchased this account for $220 which was low enough for me to give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, then oh well. After purchasing the account I deleted all the content, switched the profile to Photography Bucketlist and changed the URL. I looked in the messages folder once and I will not do that again because well, there are some sickos who message adult stars apparently... Go figure.
So far I'd say this purchase is a bit of a dud. I originally started another Tumblr account that was getting no traction at all so it has at least given me a little leg up but for having 130,000 followers I get almost no response (likes, re-blogs, comments etc). My guess is that a large majority of my followers are either fake or have no interest in photography. I think that this might have been a good idea had I purchased an account that was previously a travel or photography blog. But this one was just too off topic.
To date I have purchased four Instagram accounts and all of them have been fairly successful. With these accounts I purchased accounts related to my business which I think adds to the success. Basically I look for an account with 10,000+ followers that is related to my business. For photography I'd recommend looking for something like @beautiful_shots_daily (not a real account, just an example) where the account clearly posts photos and gets followers. To buy the account just slide up into those DMs and ask them if they are interested in selling.
When I buy an account I will start slipping content in with the normal content the previous owner would put in. After doing this for a couple of weeks I'd go in, delete all the previous owner's content, rename the page and then I'd have a page that has 6-12 of my posts with however many followers. Expect to lose 20-30% of those followers, it is bound to happen. If your new account is similar to your old account you should have a fairly easy transition. The reason this is successful is because people now follow 500-1000 accounts so if one changes they usually don't notice and they figure they just followed this new account they don't recognize in between trying to send make-up text messages to their ex one night when they were out getting all sauced.
When you are looking to purchase the Instagram account be very careful on what account you purchase. If the account follows a ton of people then they use a follow/unfollow technique. This is where the account follows a ton of people to try and get them to follow them back, then they go in and unfollow those people and try to keep what they gained. The problem is that this is a very spammy technique and your account could get flagged as a spam account. Also, if an account has a ton of followers but their photos don't have a lot of likes, chances are they have fake followers. There are literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of fake accounts on Instagram (and Facebook). People use these fake accounts to boost their numbers. If you want to see if the account is real or not try and find a page that you know is run by real human beings and see what their like/comment ratio is compared to the page you are trying to buy. If it's similar and the comments section isn't just comments like "amazing", "top photo", "love your account", which are usually posted by a bot, then you are probably buying a real account. You can also click on their followers and see the profiles of the people following them. If your account's follower's accounts look fake then chances are the account you want to buy is fake.
On my current Instagram, @photobucketlist, I am building the followers organically. One of my bucket-list items is to build an Instagram account with over 100k followers... Right now I have around 200, so you can say things are getting pretty serious.
In short, buying a social media account isn't a bad idea, but you have to be very careful with how you do it. At the end of the day, an account you build organically will always have much better traction and interaction than an account that you try to purchase. But if you're looking for a quick and easy way to have a big account, then purchasing one might be something to consider.