Apr 03, 2020 - 01:04 PM
Buying and selling Instagram accounts is a common practice, even though it violates Instagram’s terms and conditions. However, buying accounts only works well in certain circumstances. When you’re planning to use the account to promote a brand, you’re much better off with paid promotion.
The Risks of Buying an Account
Many Instagram accounts for sale revolve around a theme. They may have grown a healthy following by posting pictures of scenery, outfit inspiration, or a certain celebrity, for example.
As a brand, it’s not very likely that you’ll find an account for sale that meshes perfectly with your branded content. You’ll likely want to post product images, user-generated content, and imagery that fits with your brand. If you buy an existing account, this means you’ll need to shift away from the posts the account became known for, and toward the posts that represent your product well.
This random shift in content will make it clear that you bought an account, unless you go through and delete every old post (which is a painstaking process). It will also quickly drive down engagement, since the existing followers are no longer getting the content they signed up for. In turn, this lack of engagement will make your desired target-audience followers suspicious of your authenticity, driving away potential customers. You can buy followers, but it’s not likely that those followers will just happen to be your target audience.
There’s also the possibility that Instagram will notice that you bought your account and suspend it, wasting the money you paid and forcing you to start from scratch. This is probably a small risk, since it’s not an easy thing for Instagram to track, but it’s still a risk.
Some account sellers are also scammers. You can’t guarantee that they’ll actually give you access to the account once you’ve sent the payment, adding another layer of risk.
Finally, paid-for followers will limit the marketing strategies you can use. For example, direct messages are a great way to connect with followers who are interested in your brand. But sending a branded DM to followers you paid for won’t get results, because those people aren’t interested in your brand.
Making Paid Promotion Work for You
The quick appearance of success you’ll get from buying an account will wear off quickly, leaving you with a fairly useless account. Even purchasing a relatively cheap account isn’t worth the risks. Although slower, paid promotion is a much better choice for growing a following.
With video, photo, and carousel ad options, Instagram has paid promotion types that let you easily target your desired audience. To get the most from paid promotion, make sure your ads are subtle, not pushy. Successful ads look like organic content, designed to catch the eye of your target audience. Use your audience personas and create content that speaks directly to them.
Every week to two weeks, put out new ads to keep that paid content looking fresh. Track performance as you go and make changes accordingly.
The good news is that well-performing promoted posts are the same as well-performing regular posts. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make good Instagram ads. Just use what you already know appeals to your audience, add an attractive call-to-action, and keep everything in line with your brand’s aesthetic.
Consider Influencer Marketing
Since you mention wanting to grow your audience fast, there’s one more method to consider: influencers.
Influencer marketing on Instagram is popular because it works. It lets you tap your target audience and grow your following naturally - as long as you partner with the right influencers. And it actually doesn’t need to be expensive.
Even an influencer with just a few thousand followers can help grow your following, as long as their followers include your target audience. These smaller influencers aren’t super-expensive, but can get impressive results. In fact, audiences sometimes respond even better to these “nanoinfluencers,” because they’re seen as more authentic than huge “megainfluencers.” For example, if you’re a women’s gym clothing brand, a fitness influencer with 5,000 loyal, mostly-female followers is a great person to partner with.
Of course, you’ll want to target influencers with significant engagement, not just large followings. If you find an influencer whose thousands of followers never like or comment on their posts, you aren’t going to want to work with them. And that’s exactly how potential followers will feel about your brand if you buy an existing following. The large number might look good at first, but the low engagement will push people away. Here's a post you might find useful: How much do YouTube celebrities charge?
You say that want to appear successful. A smaller but interested following will actually make you look more successful than a large, disinterested one. And that smaller following will grow with time, while bought follower numbers will only shrink. If you do things the “hard way” with paid promotion (and possibly influencer marketing), the long-run results are worth it.