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  • Writer's pictureWillow Raven

Sex Work & Social Media

Whenever I get asked how to get started as a content creator, my advice is typically to work on your social media game. Most platforms don't have a discovery database (e.g. LoyalFans does, but it's not comprehensive, OnlyFans has none at all) so you need to be able to direct people to your pages through another avenue, which often falls to social media.

I see a direct correlation betw

een how much I post on socials vs how many new subscribers I get, the number dipping if I even take just a day to post less than usual (none of this is particularly scientific, I haven't tracked the number of posts I make vs the number of subscribers I get, but I see a pronounced difference on days I'm more active vs days I'm more low key).

The problem; however, is that most social platf

orms aren't particularly sex worker-friendly. Thank god for Twitter, where pretty much anything goes. (It's also, in my opinion, the most interactive of the platforms, making it easier to engage with followers, who then, hopefully, become subscribers.) But others? Not so much.

Case in point: within the past month, both my Instagram (nearly 7K followers) and my TikTok (about 3k followers accrued in 2 weeks of using the platform), got banned. I did everything I could to get my Instagram back - I sent probably a dozen emails back and forth with various customer service folks from Meta, I sent photos proving I am who I say I am, I filled out countless forms trying to prove that I didn't go against any community guidelines, but alas, my account is forever lost.

It's been a real struggle building my Instagram back up. It's been about 5 weeks and I just reached 1500 followers. I've had followers and subscribers thinking I blocked them, which, obviously, is not particularly good for *~my brand~*. The problem with Instagram is that it seems to arbitrarily determine what does/doesn't go against community guidelines. I've never posted nudity - not even with nipples blurred - I've always worn either lingerie or revealing clothing (when you have 36Gs, it's difficult to make those not, y'know, reveal themselves.) Yet I got banned for not following the rules. Whereas I've seen celebrities and popular models post full on nudity and not even get the post taken down.

It makes it so difficult for smaller creators to be able to grow their brand and know what they can/can't post when there's no clear line of what is and isn't enforced - and whose content gets a free pass vs who gets an immediate ban.

I'm almost certain that the photo that got me banned was a photo of me, fully clothed, holding a Playboy magazine, with a fully-clothed Sable on the cover. Which is pretty ridiculous when you think about how Playboy has its own verified account on Instagram. So why was my post taken down when it didn't feature any nudity and even featured less skin than most photos of folks in bathing suits?

I, unfortunately, don't have any answers. I just need a place to rant because despite how much I love socials, and know that social media can be the biggest tool at a creators' disposal, it can also be their biggest challenge.

It's been truly disheartening to see all the work I put into growing my social media accounts then having them taken down. It's made me wonder whether or not any of this is sustainable or worth the effort. Do I start over from scratch? I mean, I spent over a year building up my Instagram - do I really want to go through all the work it took over 16 months to try to bring my account back to the numbers it was before?

I'm lucky that social media is one of my biggest strengths (thanks to 13-year-old Willow for becoming obsessed with message boards and the internet because of her lack of real life friendships), so I can usually get some momentum going, but it's difficult to want to put any effort in when you're fairly certain you're just going to need to do the whole process over again in a few months when you inevitably get banned again.

That said, here are a few rules, for Instagram especially, to make it less likely that your account will get taken down:

  • Do NOT post direct links to your OnlyFans or other content platform sites. Instead, create a website (like this one!) or a linktree (or other similar sites) to link to.

  • Don't write out "OnlyFans", "sex work", other key sex terms - it can get your account banned or shadow-banned (where you no longer show up in searches, get seen less on your followers' timelines, and even makes it so your name doesn't even come up in searches unless they type it exactly.) Instead, use workarounds like LonelyFlans, seggs, etc. It sucks, but it's better to have some dumb ass words in your stories and posts than to have your account taken down.

  • Don't use hashtags that are sexy or sex-work related. You're better off using more broad and safe-for-work generic tags. Hell, at this point I honestly don't use hashtags at all bc I find they almost always lead to me getting shadow-banned.

Feel free to push the boundaries a bit if you feel adventurous, but be prepared for the possibility of your account being taken down if you do. In my opinion, you're better off keeping MOST socials mostly PG (Twitter is a bit of an outlier). It might make it a bit harder to get followers by staying a bit more tame, but it's better to deal with slow follower growth than to have all your hard work taken away. Speaking from experience.

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