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Modeling in the new Age of Social Media

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The modeling world has become notorious for thriving despite all the changes going on as the years go by.  In the past, modeling agencies were a type of secret society that not just anybody could penetrate, let alone try to locate.

Then came the Internet and along with it total access via websites from the very agencies model hopefuls had been searching for–equipped with submission information and open call guidelines that opened up the modeling industry to the masses… or at least those gutsy enough to send in their snapshots or walk through the agency’s doors.

Now we’re in the social media era where the modeling industry has once again needed to update their way of doing business. While being scouted on IG is all the rage, this latest version of the modeling beast can actually end up confusing newbies, even more, when it comes to figuring out where to begin and what to do/not do.

MORE VISIBILITY

It is still important to have other online tools in place to market yourself as a model (i.e. some kind of website or fan page, being a member of modeling groups on Facebook, Model Mayhem, etc.) but IG has made it a lot easier for new models to share their images and experiences with the world, including potential modeling scouts. Not to mention building up a long list of followers.

Everyone is familiar with IG handles and that makes networking with photographers, stylists and other industry pros a breeze. Because IG is solely based on the visual, it provides a quick reference for anyone curious about who you are as a model, the type of work you do and seeing your journey unfold.

Needless to say, it’s one of the best and fastest ways to display an online modeling portfolio.

EVERYONE’S DOING IT…

Okay, maybe not everyone but there’s a whole lotta folks on it. Anyone who wants to get into the modeling game professionally knows having an IG profile set up is a surefire way to generate interest. That includes modeling agencies.

The agencies, in particular, have really taken their use of IG to the next level with contests, BTS images to let the public into their world and spotlight their favorite models. They’ve even created hashtags for aspiring models to use that literally does the legwork for them as far as finding new faces.

The fact that the agencies, clients and other industry pros are on IG means you’ve decreased that networking gap by a huge amount just by having a profile on there and following them.

…INCLUDING SCAMMERS, CON ARTISTS & SHADY PEOPLE

Hey, you can’t blame the bad apples for also jumping on the same bandwagon as the legitimate folks in an attempt to get over on more people. Just as us “good and upstanding individuals” are enjoying the opportunities IG presents, so are those that only want to make a quick buck.

It goes without saying that it is still extremely important to be cautious when you get contacted randomly by someone through DM claiming to be this, that or the other. If you’ve got a message from somebody claiming to be a model scout or agent, this inquiry needs to be treated the same way you would with anything that might sound too good to be true: you research the crap out of them and ask plenty of questions.

See if they have a website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn profile…do a basic online search and see if anything comes up. Can’t find anything other than what’s on their Instagram? Then be very careful. This is when you need to ask questions about their business/operation and if they have relevant links or information they can EMAIL you.

To be honest, I hate doing business via DM on Instagram because for one, I always end up accidentally hitting the “send” button before I’m ready to send the message and it’s not as convenient to send files, docs, etc. as it is with regular email. Asking them to send you more information through email is a good test to see if they’re serious or just lazily going about trying to target people for whatever bad intentions they have.

I can’t speak on every single possible situation you might come across because that would be way too much to go into but when it comes to getting scouted or told an agent loves your look and wants to sign you, I can say that you should think twice before jumping on the so-called “offer.”

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME

Have you received a DM out of the blue from someone claiming to be a modeling scout or agent? Don’t do a happy dance just yet. There are a couple of things you need to do first:

What Do They Want?

  • Did they come across your profile and tell you they love your look so much that they want to offer you a very high paying gig with a prestigious client/brand/company? Guess what: they’re full of crap. Just as with traditional means of trying to get into modeling, no reputable company or modeling agency is ever going to hire a model (male or female) without any kind of interview or casting call.
  • Are they offering to sign you to their agency based on your IG profile alone? Again: crap, crap, crap. With the super small exception of online agencies that don’t technically have a physical office and instead work with models by having them listed on their database and matching projects as they come up–legitimate agencies don’t just make it rain contract offers on people they’ve never met in person, especially since filters and other photo tricks make it so that you have no clue what that person is going to look like when they walk through the door.
  • Are they interested in working with you but want you to pay fees for whatever services they’re offering? Yep, you guessed it, more crapola in a box.
  • Do they want you to send them risque/nude/inappropriate photos via DM or to a certain email address? Do I even need to write out my response to this situation???

These common situations typically happen through email but now they’ve transitioned to Instagram as well (Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn are also obvious methods of scammers trying to poach victims so that goes without saying).

Be smart about who is contacting you and try to find that paper trail to see if they are who they say they are. At the end of the day, you are not obligated to give anyone your information, money or time. That’s what the “block” feature is for–you underage guys and gals, this is definitely directed at you. Do not communicate with someone about modeling jobs without your parents’ guidance.

DEAL WITH THE SOURCE

Want to get on an agency’s radar on IG? Then follow their profile. Use the hashtags they use and when making contact, DM them directly and make sure the profile is verified. If you’re not sure of the profile’s authenticity, don’t follow.

There are a lot of “fan” IG accounts that may look like the real deal but are not and you have no idea who is in charge of them.

When in doubt, go to the modeling agency’s website and see what their social media handles are. That is the best way to guarantee you’re following the right profiles.

ON YOUR IG…

Keep your photos relevant to the types of modeling you want to pursue if you plan to use IG for jump-starting a modeling career. Remember to have quality snapshots of yourself with little to no makeup in addition to the more dolled up images. You can’t–and shouldn’t–always be filtered or have cat ears in all your photos.

If you’re more interested in freelancing and aren’t that concerned about grabbing the attention of a modeling agency, then make sure the modeling images you post are with quality photographers and not all a bunch of selfies taken in front of your bathroom mirror. Make sure you’re adding new posts whenever you do a shoot so potential clients can see your hustle and that you’re serious about modeling.

Mix up your profile with some fun videos and boomerangs. When doing videos, have posts where you’re talking to the camera. This is as good as it gets for first impressions. These days, models who are well spoken and can showcase their personality in front of the camera in terms of video and not just still images, are a surefire way to engage not only a fan base of followers but people who may want to hire you for their next project.

Network! Don’t just follow, send DMs to briefly introduce yourself and your goals for modeling. They may not get the message since yours will likely be one of the millions but don’t let that discourage you. Like and comment on their posts…showing this type of engagement could possibly get you on their radar. If they like your comment or respond back to it, even better.

Don’t be content with just sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be noticed. Social media is about being social so hop to it!