To be beautiful, sexy, svelte and fit is no longer enough if you want to book jobs as a model. Vivian, a modeling company based in Australia, has just opened a separate division within their agency called, “Influencers” for their models who are “Insta-famous.” Model who have a large social media (namely, Instagram) following. This was developed to keep up with client demand that a model not only have a solid portfolio, but be deemed a social media influencer. Models are being trained in the art of self-promotion so that they can build a following, and hence, book more jobs.
The importance of a strong social media following has never been more prevalent than now, as not only advertisers are paying big bucks to gain access to an Influencer with a fan base, but the general masses often use social media as a gauge before they spend their hard earned money. I’m willing to bet a large percentage of consumers will look a company up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and determine a company’s success based on the number of followers they have.
Supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Chrissy Teigen have built their careers on not only being drop dead gorgeous, but have a personality and a realness to them in their online interactions as well. No longer are models nameless pretty faces ion the cover of a magazine, but celebrities in their own right, influencing thousands (and in Hadid and Teigen’s case, millions) of people on Instagram alone. And now companies want to capitalize on that.
How Does This Affect Photographers?
With the minimum job requirement for a model to not only have looks and a personality to match plus lots of followers on social media, photographers need to get serious about the power of their own social media to leverage their businesses. What will always be in demand is beautiful photography and aesthetically pleasing design. Content used to be king in determining the success of an Influencer online – and we see that trend shifting from blogging toward sites like social media juggernaut Instagram and 140 character limited, Twitter.
This trend toward the visual and the concise is due, in part, to the fast-paced, smartphone/smart watch culture. Who has time to sit down and write 500-1000 words every day (well, besides me), when a quick snap and upload can reach twice as many people in much less time? Photos are a way to succinctly broadcast information to the masses who can then filter through the thousands of images they see daily and find things of interest. Brands that can harness this visual landscape and leverage it for their business have a higher chance of becoming market leaders.
3 Quick Tips On Building Your Social Media Following
If you’ve ignored social media as a marketing tool thus far, well, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon and capitalize. Here are three quick tips to apply to your social media to help you build your following today.
1. Be Consistent, But Don’t Go Overboard
You will never build a following if you post once every six months on your social media accounts. Social media is a fast moving beast and what’s posted today is buried within a few minutes/hours. The key is to keep content fresh and engaging without bombarding people with your message/images. 1-3 times a day or every few days on average is a good rule of thumb to follow. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder in the case of social media.
Don’t Go Overboard
Nothing makes me unfollow someone faster than to have 6 photos in a row come up on my Instagram feed or 15 retweets on my Twitter feed all at once. Researching the high traffic times and spacing your posts throughout the day to get maximum reach will help your post get more eyeballs and fewer people annoyed at you for the posting too much.
2. Show Some Personality, But Don’t Go Overboard
It’s good to take a few risks and show your personality. It’s boring to me when a business only advertises their message on their social media platforms. Yes, show your followers your best work, but also take them for a behind the scenes peek of you at work, show them that you have a life outside of making pretty photos, show them YOU. Bonus points for funny, witty, thoughtful captions.
One of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow is model (and singer, John Legend’s wife) Chrissy Teigen, because she never takes herself too seriously. She is witty, real and interesting. Her account does not comprise of photos of her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition covers and she isn’t afraid to show her life beyond her career.
Don’t Go Overboard
Remember, as a business owner, it is a necessity always to maintain a level of professionalism as well. What that looks like is determined by you and your brand, but never, ever use your social media platform to rant about a client. NO MATTER WHAT. (Example: WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER TAKES TO FACEBOOK TO CALL CLIENT, ‘UGLIEST BRIDE EVER’]
3. Use Hashtags, But Don’t Go Overboard
Oh, the dreaded hashtags. Think what you must, but hashtags are a quick and easy way to find people with similar interests. For those of you who don’t know what a hashtag is, it is a way to categorize topics in a social media post. Preceded by a # sign, a hashtag is a handy tool for people to search for a topic they are interested in and find related posts. The secret is to use a common, but not too common hashtag. For example, #photographer has over 9 million posts. The chances of someone searching the term #photographer and finding your post is slim, but #photographs only has about 350k posts. The chances are better that your post will be seen. Have fun with hashtags, just remember that less is more.
Don’t Go Overboard
Using more than a handful of hashtags can be frustrating for your audience. It’s spammy, and no one likes spam (the mail kind, not the canned meat product).
So, while brands requiring models to have large social media followings may not directly affect most of us in the photography realm, the trend rolling in. It’s best to get a jump on your social media presence if you haven’t already. It’s the next big wave of marketing. That’s good news for those of you bored with keeping up with your blog.
Also, go ahead and follow me on Instagram…I only have 8,950 followers to go before I can launch my modeling career.
[Via NY Post]