Influencers over the years have made social media their full-time job by uploading sponsored posts and partnering with a multitude of brands through their public accounts.
Most content creators have had to rely solely on other brands to make a living, but that is all changing thanks to new pay-to-follow private accounts.
While this is a new trend, some influencers are offering access to exclusive content on a private account or close-friends list for a small monthly or yearly fee, in addition to their public accounts.
Influencers that rely on Instagram to promote their content are at the mercy of the app. With ever-changing algorithms and updates, these full-time content-creators are looking for a source of income that's more reliable than a HelloFresh partnership.
Patreon is a platform that provides the tools content creators need in order to run a subscription service. A lot of private Instagram accounts seem to be using this platform to run their member-only exclusive content. Gabi Abrao, @sighswoon on Insta, adds followers to her close-friends list for a minimum of $3.33 a month, and is run through Patreon.
Her membership options range from $3.33, $9.00, or $13.00 a month depending on the perks you want. The perks she offers are exclusive weekly podcasts, Q&A’s, her feed archives, and more.
@ashleykane is another account, focused on home and interior design, that offers a separate, private account. On @ashleykanestudio, followers can subscribe to a membership, run through PayPal, at $50 annually. This gives members access to not only the private Instagram account, but an exclusive community forum and secret pinterest account.
As these exclusive pay-to-follow accounts gain popularity, there have been some discussions on if these violate Instagram’s terms of service or if, in the future, Instagram will launch an account subscription option within the app. As of right now, Instagram has not mentioned any plans.
So the question is, would you pay to follow your favorite influencer?