BY LEVI ZOLMAN—EDITORIAL
IMG Models, a worldwide model management company, has begun signing models based on pictures they post on Instagram. Since the campaign started, they have signed at least 4 models from the online search. To be clear, a global company is using internet presence as a direct link to gainful employment.
But this isn’t just random girls being searched for by recruiters – they’re found because they specifically curate images and content geared toward the fashion world, and in particular, modeling agencies and managers who could possibly represent them. Modeling agencies are now booking models with a large social media following over those who may not have the same draw, referring to them as “influencers”. Vivien's Models even has an influencer page on their website that cites how many followers each of their models has on social media.
The trend is following an old advertising trick of using celebrities to reach a wider audience – just this year, a Dior campaign starred Rihanna and the Tom Ford runway video starred Lady Gaga. Though including these celebrities is a smart marketing move, it’s also an expensive one.
The new approach is to book all girls that have a social media following by making it a requirement. This ensures the same epic exposure online at an astronomically lower price. It is also more organic – rather than being covered by major news outlets and being discovered via facebook click bait, users are experiencing campaigns through the lens of the models they follow – models that they probably feel some sort of personal connection to.
Ok so wait, why is Qnary writing about models right now? Because it is deeply aligned to what we’ve been doing for years—to use social media to put companies and executives in the positions of influencers and thought leaders to grow their net worth and employment potential.
Though this seems pretty far off from the business world, we can all learn a lesson from the fashion industry – online audiences aren’t just numbers of likes and comments, they’re full of real people – and if you cater to what they want to see, they will respond.
Having a large online following not only exposes you and your ideas to a large pool of people and companies, it also establishes you as an influential person – one whose opinions are valued by the public and can mobilize a global force behind a product or idea.
Even as an employee at an established company, a social media following is beneficial as their posts about the company or its products make consumers familiar with them, and psychology shows that consumers are more likely to do business with companies and individuals they are familiar with.
So what does this mean for you? Whether you want to be a top model, or you just want an awesome job, it is a smart and strategic career move to build a following and personal brand so that you can use it as a personal asset.