However I was intrigued by this article as I am passionate about the success of models. Maybe the modeling industry hasn’t declined, it is just opening new innovative doors to turn beauty into cash. Why I think this is necessary is because such way could also be embraced by African models despite their living conditions or the status of fashion in their country. So read on!
Stephanie Smith has thousands of followers on Instagram, and it is starting to affect her work.
Steph in a bikini, Steph in her gym gear, Steph at work, Steph driving a $75,000 Range Rover, Steph eating delicious food in a cafe, and Steph just generally living a life of travel, leisure and beauty.
Like Smith, Hogan crafts every shot and thinks very carefully about what she includes in each photo: her exercise clothes, the food she eats, her outfit on a big night out, and lots of photos of her at work.
This attention to detail is paying off. The careers of both models are thriving, thanks to the popular photo-sharing app.
Let’s rewind briefly to the old days (about two years ago): an advertiser looking for a model rings up an agency and says, “Oh hi, we need a blonde girl who looks good in a green coat”, or something similar, and the agency sends them a bunch of blonde girls to choose from.
However, as we all know, everything is changing.
And the people running Australia’s big modelling agencies say that today the phone call from advertisers is likely to sound more like this: “Oh hi, who has the most followers on Instagram? OK, we want them.”
Instagram was born in 2010, the brainchild of computer programmers Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger as a photo-sharing website and smartphone app.
In early 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for about $US1 ($1.27 billion) billion.
It claims to have 300 million active users today, predominantly young urban women under 35 years.
It is now worth about $US35 billion, says Citigroup, because of how much revenue could be earned if it started advertising to all those users.
Stephanie Smith posts a photo with Tiger Mist co-founder Alana Pallister on Instagram.
However, the fact that it is still free for everyone to post and share the snappy little square images makes it a highly effective way to sell products.
Advertisers can reach millions of people for a few hundred or few thousand dollars to post. And unlike radio, television or print, there are no annoying regulations.
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones might have to declare his sponsored messages, Instagrammers don’t.
Stephanie Smith posts a photo of herself at a photo shoot for Exs and Ohs lingerie
Matthew Anderson, manager and director of Chadwick Models, says his firm started paying attention to Instagram about two years ago.
He finds himself inundated with requests for models not simply on the basis of their height or their hair colour, or even their previous work, but according to their popularity on Instagram.
Take 21-year-old Steph Smith, known as @stephclairesmith to her 622,000 followers.
“I get probably up to 15 requests a day exclusively because of her Instagram profile,” Mr Anderson says. “The impact on the requests for her has been substantial. We didn’t take her on because of that. Two to three years ago, Instagram was new. We didn’t know about it.
“More people see her posts than read the Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph combined.”
Well, not quite. The latest circulation figures show about 2.4 million people read those papers every weekday. However, a lot of them aren’t young and female. Finding a model with 622,000 ready-made devotees amplifies the advertising dollars.
Smith maintains there is no magic formula to attracting followers.
She posted pictures, they were reposted by “fitness inspiration-type pages” and her fan base grew.
“I was lucky enough to have great regular clients before Instagram, but it’s definitely helped with getting my name out there internationally,” she says.
She is careful to only endorse products she actually likes and warns other models to be selective or risk cheapening their reputation. She posts one or two pictures daily and garners about 15,000 likes for each photo.
One of her commercial deals includes a free car on loan from a dealership in Doncaster. In exchange, she posts pictures of herself in front of the white Range Rover Evoque.
The marketing manager at Lance Dixon, Danielle Doupe, says a lot of women between the ages of 16 and 35 follow Smith and her posts influence their choices.
When one of Smith’s car photos got 19,000 likes, the dealership picked up 80 new followers.
It is a similar story at other agencies.
The Melbourne manager at Vivien’s Model Management, Sarah Bisogni, reveals that social media numbers are creeping into selection criteria.
“It’s essentially a numbers game; the more followers they have, the more followers they reach, which is incredibly enticing for clients and can be just as lucrative for the model,” Ms Bisogni says.
And advertisers like it when models post pictures of the fashion shoot, often requesting it as part of the contract.
Vivien’s model Brooke Hogan, 23, says her 283,000 followers come from shots reposted by fitness and fashion accounts.
She was also a contestant on Australia’s Next Top Model.
Instagram didn’t exist when she started modelling and she had no idea it was increasing her value until she started getting work inquiries through it.
“I like to update my followers on a daily basis on what I am doing, who I am shooting for etc, so when I am at a job I am always taking pictures to upload ‘selfies’ or asking someone on the team to take a photo of me or with me.”
Consider for a moment that Myer’s Instagram account has 112,000 followers and David Jones’ account has 133,000. And that superstar model Megan Gale has 242,000 followers and Jessica Hart 198,000. It shows how powerful these younger women can be.
The founder and director of online clothing retailer Tiger Mist, Stevie Pallister, books models based on followers and the aesthetics of their Instagram account.
This is what attracted the retailer to US-based model Sahara Ray, who has significantly increased Tiger Mist sales to the US over the past three years through regular posts to her 693,000 followers.
“We liked her because we had seen her on Instagram. She just had something a little big different about her photos [and] original content. Lots of girls comment about her outfits,” Ms Pallister says.
Tiger Mist primarily uses three models, including Smith, who collectively have nearly 2 million followers. It sees an instant boost in sales whenever one of these women posts pictures of its clothes, or is photographed on Tiger Mist’s own page.
Ms Pallister says the retailer has stopped using Facebook for online advertising because it has less impact and costs too much.
Chadwick Models keeps an updated list of of the number of followers for each models.
Yes, looks still matter, but a strong following can increase the workload of an “average” looking girl, Mr Anderson says.
Models with more than 100,000 followers can get about $1500 for a single post featuring an advertiser’s product.
“I would be reluctant to sign anybody based purely on their social media following. Because I think it is only a matter of time before that bubble bursts,” he says.
This is the first story by Lucy Battersby as our Trending reporter, a new round covering trends in society and technology for The Age. Lucy will be assisted by Alana Schetzer.