You’ve heard about people buying Instagram followers — or, buying followers for any type of social media platform? This practice is far from fresh news, but it’s also far from old news.
According to Vox, in spite of Instagram’s terms and conditions, there’s an entire economy that has sprung up around buying and selling accounts. A single account can go for thousands of dollars, depending on the size of its follower base, and there are buyers, sellers, middle people, professional flippers and marketplaces buzzing around to help interested parties get exactly what they want — regardless of how unstable those wants within Instagram’s universe may be.
And this makes sense. Rather than investing in sponsored posts or stories via others’ accounts or putting in an unknowable amount of time and sweat equity, Vox said, “buying an account that already has thousands of followers can ostensibly save a burgeoning memer or startup business the onerous process of building an audience.” Also, Vox said “memer.”
Sex Workers and Social Media
As you may know, Instagram hates sex workers. So, in addition to all the pitfalls that may come with doing something shady on a platform that expressly prohibits said shady thing, a sex worker may find themselves with even less recourse and/or being sanctioned harder by the Insta-gods if they choose to buy followers.
For instance, according to Vox, “because of Instagram’s terms, buyers and sellers have to operate in semi-secret, which — unsurprisingly — breeds scammers.” The jump to how much more difficult a time a sex worker would have dealing with a scam of this nature as compared to a mainstream person is not difficult to make.
Sex worker discrimination and sex negativity is already a big problem on platforms like Instagram, and buying followers to improve paysite flow will likely only increase this. Further, if caught or merely suspected, cam models whose careers are impacted significantly by social media leads could lose their accounts and cause detriment to their careers.
New Model, Big Problems
With all this in mind, is social media even worth it?
We talked to a newcomer to the camming community, Victoria Joyful a.k.a. blacklightbaby303. Joyful is working on using social media to increase flow to her paysite — is follower shopping a consideration when starting out on such a big, important project like growing one’s presence online? We wanted a fresh opinion on the matter!
YNOT Cam: How has social media been helping you build up your brand presence?
Victoria Joyful: Social media hasn’t sent me any new viewers yet, I’m still very new to all this. But it has given my viewers a place to send me offline questions and leave comments and things. Right now I only use Chaturbate and Twitter, but I hope to get a premium Snapchat [account] soon. I’m still building my online presence. It has been quite a learning curve but I’m having fun building it all. My followers so far have been so helpful and supportive.
How do you feel about people buying social media followers, especially those working in the camming industry?
I think there is a big difference between buying followers who are not invested in your brand or content and using a bot to like, post, comment and do general leg work for you to get more people to your page, or using coding techniques. I think there are great ways of optimizing your reach to people who will genuinely like your content, and there are wrong ways of just boosting a fake following.
Do you see yourself using other social media platforms, mainly Instagram, to extend your reach as a cam model? If so, how do you plan on building an audience with it?
Instagram is a tough one because a lot of my friends in the industry have told me that they [Instagram] are very quick to shut down your account for 18+ content. Even if your photo doesn’t have nudity in it, it gets reported quite often, especially cgl [and/or] bdsm content, which I am into.
Twitter seems a bit more relaxed when it comes to certain communities. I do want to get a Snapchat soon so my followers can interact with me on a daily basis and possibly [make] some more paid content, like a monthly membership or something of the like.
There are a lot of different platforms out there that I’m willing to try and see what works best. Patreon is another that I’m researching into, or possibly YouTube for more educational content. I have seen success in all kinds of different sites for different people. It’s all about being open and trying new things! Right now my Twitter is where I’m putting my focus for now. I’m posting when I go live [on my paysite] and my followers send me messages when I’m offline. I’m really liking what I have put together so far!
Find Victoria Joyful on Twitter at @victoria_joyful.
— blacklightbaby303 (@victoria_joyful) February 18, 2019
Em Casalena is a queer sex positive writer and professional protective mom friend. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Banner image via Lisa Fotios.