Social media is a part of our daily lives. Whether you’re a social media addict or not, there’s no denying the impact it has had on e-commerce. In fact, selling through social media has become so popular, it has created an entirely new profession: the influencer. Although influencer marketing might be a great option for exposure, you might want to consider buying someone else’s social media account and managing it yourself.
Most social media platforms were created with a specific purpose in mind: Instagram was made for images. Twitter for texts. Some platforms have been created with the sole purpose of selling products (see: 21 Buttons), while others have evolved to get to that point (remember when Facebook didn’t have ads?!).
However, these days, it’s basically impossible to find a platform that doesn’t show ads to some degree.
If ads don’t exist there yet, you can bet there are plans to implement them once user numbers reach a certain point. It happened with Facebook. It happened with Instagram. It happened with TikTok. It even happened with Waze. The list goes on and on.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at why you might want to consider buying a social media account, and what to keep in mind before taking the plunge. Below, you’ll find a table of contents, so you can skip ahead to the section that interests you most:
Table of Contents
Why buy a social media account?
If you already advertise on social media, you might ask yourself “Why would I buy someone else’s account?” After all, your ads have been working quite well. Maybe you’ve even experimented with social media influencers and seen some success, too. Well, one reason is...
Unlimited access to a niche audience
Buying a popular social media account can give you access to a great audience. If the account is very popular in a specific niche, it’s a great way to communicate your product(s) to them.
How to Sell Unique Products to Niche Markets
If your customer persona matches the followers list of a certain social media account, you may have found a winner in terms of a way to reach your ideal audience.
Saving costs on marketing
Social media influencers can also get expensive. Depending on how many followers the influencer has and which niche they are popular in, collaborations can be costly, even if they are “worth it” with regards to your return on investment (ROI).
The idea behind buying a social media account is that you can now work on promoting your products to your audience... for free(ish)! And if this audience really is engaged and niche-specific, the followers list could potentially give you a better source for targeting users than the advertising platform can.
Having more control over your promoted posts
If you own a popular account, you’ll also have more control over the posts. Remember, a collaboration usually means finding some common ground between the shop and the influencer and agreeing on certain conditions regarding the promoted post. Now, you’ll have all the say.
It’s worth noting though that followers can be sensitive to the content that appears in their feed. In other words, don’t overdo it with promotions or else you'll lose all the credibility of the account (and its followers!).
Don’t worry- we’ll have more tips and things to watch out for below!
How to find a social media account for sale
If you’ve decided that you want to take a chance and buy an existing account, your next question is most likely “Where can I find social media accounts for sale?”
You basically have two options:
- Use a service to find accounts for sale
- Reach out to the account owners yourself
Let’s have a look at each option:
Using a service to find social media accounts for sale
If you’re more of a play-it-safe type, you should definitely consider using a 3rd party company that specialises in the buying and selling of social media accounts. Most of these companies work in a similar way.
These kinds of companies are all quite similar. They basically work as a middleman, looking into an account’s numbers (e.g. followers, engagement, audience segmentation) in order to guide you through the purchase with as much information as possible.
Naturally, they charge a bit more than if you were to buy the account directly from the account holder. However, most of these sites offer some level of security and guarantees regarding the transferring of log-in info and payments.
It’s worth noting most of these sites don’t always share the exact account name before the purchase because they don’t want to get undercut.
As many of these sites are just slight variations of each other, we won’t dig too deeply into each one. Also, it’s recommended to check the conditions for each site before you finalise anything. Sometimes the conditions change, so stay updated by checking the site and read about what they can promise in terms of security. In any case, here are a few of the better-known ones:
This site is quite well known. They describe their process as follows:
- Seller lists the account with an asking price, which is verified by the Fameswap team.
- Buyer and seller can communicate through a secure messaging system.
- Buyer makes an offer for the account. If the offer is accepted, the buyer and seller begin the payment transaction through Escrow.
- Fameswap securely transfers the account to the buyer and the seller receives the funds from Escrow.
- Fameswap offers 24/7 post-purchase support to answer any remaining questions.
Most posts will include some basic information on the audience and the account (e.g. gender, category) and also includes some engagement statistics (e.g. average likes per post, average comments per post)
SWAPD is a website that deals in the buying and selling of many different kinds of social media accounts.
They generally provide the most useful information for a buyer, including the price, the number of followers, the origin country of the followers, the niche, the method of winning followers (Organic, S4S, Follow-Unfollow, Engagement Networks) among other things.
The posts will usually also include some screenshots of the account’s analytics as well.
Social Tradia specialises exclusively in the sale of Instagram accounts.
Unlike the other providers, you can actually see some of the account names on Social Tradia (although we’ve blurred them out in the image above). That means, you can do your own verification of the account and get a feel for the Instagram account before you make an offer. Obviously, this is very transparent. However, some of the accounts are still masked.
Social Tradia prides itself on their process. With teams manually authenticating accounts, it’s nice to know a third party is investigating how “real” this page is.
They act as a true middleman by providing contracts and taking over the account once the payment has been sent in. Then, the credentials are handed over to the buyer (who is encouraged to change the login info once again as well).
Along with their secure payment system and a 24-hour test period (for masked accounts), Social Tradia comes across as a good option for buying Instagram accounts.
Finding a social media account manually
If you’re “anti-middlemen” (I guess that’s a thing) or just like doing things on your own, there are strategies for finding accounts to buy online.
Besides avoiding a middleman, one of the biggest advantages of finding an account to purchase on your own is that you can make the first offer and establish a starting point for your negotiations.
One of the best strategies for finding an Instagram account to purchase is by looking for a page that:
- is active in your niche
- has a high number of followers (this is, of course, relative)
- has been relatively inactive lately
The first two points may be obvious, but you might ask yourself “why should they be inactive?” The idea here is that you’ve found someone who manages a page and is probably too busy to keep the page active. This usually means that the account holder would be glad to sell it and probably for a good price because the buyer (i.e. you) basically “fell into their lap”.
So how do you find these accounts?
The answer is quite simple. Start browsing the app and immerse yourself in the niche. If you figure out some popular hashtags (#) and do some digging, you very well might be able to find one of these high-follower, low-activity accounts.
If you search Instagram for a specific hashtag, it will provide you with some related hashtags as well. Now it’s time to do some digging. (Source: Instagram)
How to not get ripped off when buying a social media account
Yes, you can save money and find a great account when you search for accounts manually, but there are some things you should be aware of and look out for during this process. Keep in mind, most of these tips are useful even if you are buying an account through one of the websites mentioned above.
Be aware of fake followers
Clearly, there is big business in social media. When it comes to having clout (i.e. influencer marketing) or if you are trying to sell an account, high follower numbers can get you more money. Therefore, there are plenty of incentives for accounts to buy followers. In essence, it will inflate an account’s perceived popularity and (it’s probably more common than you think).
So, how can you tell if the followers are fake?
There are a few strategies for testing this. Again, this will take some time, but if that’s no issue, it will be worth it.
For starters, it’s a good idea to see how many likes a post gets. However, these fake account services have gotten smarter. They will “like” posts for their clients and even leave some comments under their posts.
That takes us to our next step: read some of the comments under the posts. If most of the comments seem a bit cliche and unspecific (e.g. “Great post!”, “I love your pics!”), there’s a good chance these are fake engagements.
You could even take it a step further and pick some random users from the followers list and see if you can find their engagements on the posts. If 15 out of 20 followers have had no engagement whatsoever, you might have found some fake followers.
Make secure payments
It’s no secret - there are scammers out there. That’s why it’s vital that if you decide to complete a transaction without one of the services mentioned above, that you use a payment service that allows for disputes and refunds.
PayPal Goods & Services is highly recommended for exactly this purpose (Note: don’t use the Friends and Family transfer options - there are no refunds possible with this method!).
Check the analytics
Many social media platforms offer their users insights into their own accounts. With Instagram, for example, all business accounts get access to these insights. There, you can see information on the demographics of the audience (e.g. gender, age groups, location). Here you can see if the audience really matches your buyer persona.
You can also get insights into engagement numbers to get a feeling for whether the followers are fake. If they aren’t fake, you can still get some insights into how engaged this audience really is with the account.
According to Scrunch.com:
- Less than 1% = low engagement
- Between 1% - 3.5% = average/good engagement
- Between 3.5% - 6% = high engagement
- Above 6% = very high engagement
Change log-in data
This tip is pretty much what it sounds like. After you’ve completed the purchase, be sure to change the login data immediately. Get a new email and a new password for this account. Doing this will ensure that the previous owner doesn’t lock you out of the account once you’ve paid them their money.
How many followers do you need?
This last section will give a little more context to your endeavor. Do you need a million followers? Probably not.
Although I can’t give you a concrete answer here, a lot of things factor into this “equation”. What niche does your business operate in? Obviously, if you are in a highly specific niche, it might be difficult to find an account with a million engaged followers (for a reasonable price).
The thing is that you don’t need a million followers in most cases. Many marketers will tell you that 10,000 highly active users is much better than a million random people. This makes perfect sense, so the lesson here is quality over quantity.
Of course, other factors come into play, too. Do you plan to continue posting with the account and keeping your followers engaged? Or will you use it for a while and then “flip” it to another buyer? What is your budget? How many similar accounts with similar audiences exist?
Generally speaking, you’ll probably want to aim for accounts between 10,000 and 100,000 followers - at least on your first try. They will be relatively affordable and a good starting spot for testing some things.
Although it takes a bit of research, some costs, and a fair amount of experimentation to continue the account’s growth, buying an established social media account can be a great way to get your online shop more exposure for a relatively cheap price.