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Insights & Thoughts

Brands Now Require Models to Have 10,000+ Instagram Followers

By Hanssie on May 14th 2015

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]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Wow it used to be her beauty and figure , now it;s her followers on SM? LOL

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  2. Chuck Eggen

    Can I get a like. I need 9,999 more.

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  3. Sedric Beasley

    Companies are looking for free advertisement so, If you have a following they will loan you stuff for free or get you to promote there stuff to see what percentage of your followers will purchase. How many people you know of that will provide a coupon or discount to purchase stuff from vendors.

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  4. Graham Curran

    You can buy followers, can’t you?

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  5. Ralph Hightower

    Hmm, Instagram must have changed their focus. When I joined Flickr, I thought Instagram was just hipsters taking photos with their smartphones and applying retro filters .
    But with Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, 500px, and Instagram, there’s just too much social media for me to keep track of just to enjoy life.

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  6. Daniel Thullen

    Ok Hanssie. . .you only need 8,949 more followers.

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  7. Thomas Horton

    ” 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.”

    I think you would be wrong. Maybe a large percentage of dumb consumers. Why would anyone think that the number of followers or lack of number of followers has anything to do with the success of a company?

    I hope I am long dead before this actually becomes an actuality.

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    • Robert T

      Be careful with what you wish for…

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    • Thomas Horton


      That’s the advantage of being old. You can say things like this and be probably right. LoL

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    • Dave Haynie

      I’m not exactly sure how much this really matters out there in the real world. However, I was working at a company a few years ago that had kind of evolved into a new product that was being heavily promoted in social media (one of these “Freemium” programs, so there was a continual goal to get people to get the free version). Our social media person was really, really concerned with us passing various “followers” thresholds. She and our CEO definitely felt it was important to how the company was regarded.

      At the time, that seemed to be a disease of that kind of software industry niche. But I guess I’m not surprised to see it spreading beyond the world of geek.

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    • Thomas Horton

      Conversely, for almost 60 years, my company has been one of the top companies in our industry, but we have almost no public visibility. Why? We don’t do business with individuals.

      We don’t tweet, or instagram. I believe that we do have a FB but it is really never used. We are just not that type of business.

      I hope that no one would consider my company unsuccessful because we don’t tweet.

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  8. Robert T

    Just don’t go overboard.

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  9. Thomas Horton

    “social media influencer” I have no idea what this even means.

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  10. Scott Trombley

    Looks like I better get started, already behind the curve.

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