Help! I have no Instagram followers!

“Help!” She cries, looking desperately at her impoverished number of Instagram followers.

“I’m doomed! Forget about my bikini body, 25 lunges and kale green salad, there is no-one out there to see it!”

 

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But honestly, what is happening with the world, let alone the modelling industry!?

I’ve been to model castings where you not only have to write down your name and measurements, but how many insta followers you have.

And unfortunately, I fail epically in that department.

What is the reason for all of this?

When a model is booked for a job, they will be encouraged to post a ‘behind the scenes’ shot of themselves, all dolled up and looking pretty. They thank the makeup artist, the photographer, the stylist and everyone else involved via @’s and #tags, while also tagging the brand label. A month or two will pass and the model will then post a final pic of the finished campaign/photo shoot. If the model has billions of followers, that brand has made one of the best moves in the current world of marketing. Hoorah!

 

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So what’s the problem?

Coming from a marketing point of view…this is genius. What better way to reach your audience than via an attractive person’s Instagram? It’s 100 percent free marketing and HIGHLY effective. When viewers are allowed a ‘sneak peak’ into the photo shoot, this evokes a sense of inclusion into the exclusiveness of the brand…like, hey guys! Here is a special insight into something really special, and you are a super special person getting a glimpse into our highly exclusive and elite world. Feel special. Feel included. You’re one of us.

It creates hype, and intrigue into what is coming next. It’s seductive.

It is also within the best interests of the model to post what they are up to on Instagram. It keeps their profile high and encourages people to choose them for their next photo shoots. It is also great advertising for the makeup artist, photographer and any other person tagged. In that regard it serves a purpose, and is a pretty great thing to have – especially if you like working and expanding your business!

However, the pressure caused by Instagram and the yucky trends that are surfacing are what I want to talk about.

Getting followers

Now, I’d like to think gaining Instagram followers was all about posting pretty pictures of sunsets and flowers.

In the beginning of Instagram, this was largely true, with many people filling pages upon pages of stunning landscape shots, and artistic sunsets. I mean, the whole idea of Instagram was images, and beautiful ones at that.  It is only over time that the once innocent photo album has transformed into a gigantic advertising platform….now with video!

So back to modelling…. when you look at Instagram profiles of a lot of models, you can very quickly work out exactly how they gained their large number of followers. No longer is it about pretty pictures of sunsets and rainbows, it’s about sex appeal and bikinis, bikinis, abs, abs, abs and a snap of a vegan lunch or two.

Now because I have clearly failed at Instagram myself, here are a few examples of just how a large number of models feel pressured to gain Instagram followers. I didn’t want to use real examples, so I’ve used a barbie instead.

Step one: takes off shirt, puts makeup on, hops into bed, pretends to have just woken up. Takes a photo.

 

Woke up like this…#freshface #goodmorning

Woke up like this…#freshface #goodmorning

 

Step two: takes a photo of a beach. Tells everyone that this is her office for the day.

 

Today’s office. #Love my job

Today’s office. #Lovemyjob

 

Step three: Hops in bed again. Angles the camera so that you can only see her legs. Feels some relaxing vibes. Takes a photo.

 

After a hectic week of shooting, I’m loving this weekend ZEN. #Sunday’s #relax #chillvibes

After a hectic week of shooting, I’m loving this weekend ZEN. #Sunday’s #relax #chillvibes

 

Step four: Gets that behind the scenes shot from her beach photo shoot before people forget.

 

Sneak peak @ today’s shoot for @LABELtheLABEL shot by the incredible @PhotoMACphoto. Thanks to @MUArose for the stunning makeup and @StyleTookAWhile for the gorgeous styling. Can’t wait to see these shots soon xoxo #lovemyjob #beach #werk

Sneak peak @ today’s shoot for @LABELtheLABEL shot by the incredible @PhotoMACphoto. Thanks to @MUArose for the stunning makeup and @StyleTookAWhile for the gorgeous styling. Can’t wait to see these shots soon xoxo #lovemyjob #beach #werk

 

So I think you get the idea. Scantily clad unfortunately equates to a bigger Instagram following.

This new wave of Instagram use invites the world to enter our homes and bedrooms – in an instant. It gives people yet another platform to post things that they may regret. Yay.

However, models are not totally to blame. There is immense pressure to do whatever it takes to increase your following on Instagram, and if that means taking pictures like those above, then so be it. Even if you are not a model trying to land your next job, I’ve heard of young kids worrying about their following or the number of likes on their pages. It’s utter madness!

So many model profiles show images of themselves on beaches in bikinis, half naked in bed, showing off new lingerie and I’m not even exaggerating. It’s happening so much that it is becoming something normal.

When I imagine myself one day with my own children, I have no clue how on earth I am going to tackle this sort of thing.

But back from a modelling point of view, I think the whole thing is sad. Sad that social media is leading us to willingly give away our privacy in one click of a button. Sad that the modelling and fashion industry is embracing this to make money. Sad that constant self promotion is a ‘good thing’ and sad that the more we post, read and share, the further away we step from reality.

Back in the day, beautiful people coaxed people into buying things – and that is not a great thing either. These days, it’s not about what you look like, but how popular you are – or how many times you post yourself in a bikini. It’s a very big shift in advertising and an interesting way of controlling the way people think.

But I guess what I am trying to say is, feeding into the current culture of sex appeal, self promotion and fantasy on Instagram will keep it alive. Actively opting out will take away some of its power. For the sake of all younger generations, I encourage every single Instagram user to please, please, please be more careful with what you post and what you say. Take a look at your overall profile and ask yourself if it is appropriate.

The more followers you have, the greater the influence. That’s a lot of power. Some models have tens of thousands, and even millions of followers.

You literally have the whole world in your hands via the internet. Use that influence for good, use it wisely.

A change is in the air

You may have noticed a lot of hype around a new social media platform called Incogo. Believe it or not, this new platform (which was recently given top spot on Apple’s latest and greatest app creations!) brings positivity back to the world of social media.

 

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Incogo is dedicated to bringing meaning into the equation of what you post into the world. With the basis on personal journeys, whether they be overcoming your fear of heights, getting a book published or preparing for the arrival of a newborn, Incogo facilitates the sharing of support from both near and far, to encourage you along your path.

On Incogo, you use your real name, and your profiles are made up of pictures of your chosen journeys. Each of these journeys has meaning, and this removes any trace of fake personas that are so often portrayed in profiles on Instagram and Facebook.

You also have the unique ability to show your support of journeys in multiple ways. Click the ‘support’ button to show that you care, hit the ‘shield’ button to encourage someone to stay strong or even let someone know that you have been inspired by clicking the lightbulb icon.

Who knows where your support may lead? You may make that crucial difference in helping someone climb to the peak of a mountain or overcome a debilitating illness.

 

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So I encourage all of you to join this social media revolution, to bring positivity back into the way we interact online. Check out the video below and download the app for your smartphone to start sharing your journeys.

*If the model is very high profile, then the brands may pay them to post. Instagram may also be included in the model’s fee and requirements to do the job. But for your average model, they post this stuff for free