What is an instagram model?
Stepping forward into the world of Instagram modeling means taking a step back to understand the current state of the game. Let's be brutally honest: There have never been more Instagram models. And while the platform has grown to a massive global scale covering over a billion users, there are more opportunities than ever for those in the know.
The definition of an Instagram model is pretty simple. If brands pay you to showcase their goods, you're officially a model. As we like to say at PodSquad, it's just a hobby until you're getting paid.
So how exactly do you do that? Standing out to brands isn't an easy task, and it certainly won't happen overnight. But if you are dedicated and willing to invest some spare time and resources into Instagram, you stand a good chance at turning a hobby into a paid gig, and a paid gig into a career.
Next, we'll break down the way we have seen the most successful Instagram models get their start.
How to be an instagram model in 3 simple steps
Nothing is that easy, right? Even though the road is long, there are a few simple guiding principles that will get you to the finish line. With 6-12 months of dedication and a smart plan from the start, you could become an Instagram model and get paid...
How to look like an instagram model: Respect the optics
This is the realest advice you will ever get about becoming an Instagram model. Optics are the single most important thing brands look for. Instagram is a visual platform. People go there to look at pictures and videos of their friends, and discover new products and experiences.
That means if you want to attract brands to your profile, you have to speak their language through images. The good news? A picture is worth 1,000 words. Part of the process of creating content is finding your passions and merging them with brands that make sense.
If you enjoy travel, target travel fashion and accessories. Love going to the latest restaurants in your city? Show beautifully staged images of food and beverage. You can't discount the importance of showing top quality content on your feed. You may even consider partnering with a photographer to make sure the stars align in your favor.
Next is one of the harsher realities of Instagram, and it's one that won't be going anywhere any time soon. Yep, I'm talking about follower count.
You have to have followers to work with brands. There's a general rule of thumb we use at PodSquad. Nobody gets paid until they have at least 20,000 followers. Since this is an article covering becoming an Instagram model, I'm strictly speaking about cash payments. Getting small, free goods in exchange for posts happens way before then, but rarely results in long term success. We recently conducted a survey to see how many followers on average it takes to get a paid gig in various niches.
Usually brands that want to exchange merch for posts are looking for quick hits of publicity, or want to test different marketing tactics with no real plan to invest in them down the road.
Research helps too. You will be at an immediate disadvantage when a brand reaches out, and that can really suck. You won't know what to say or do, or how much to ask for. We've got some resources to help in our confessions series of blog posts. You can read raw posts from brand managers and how they are working with influencers today, or read about the struggles of going from zero to Insta-celeb from an influencer's perspective.
How to become a model on instagram: Get those followers!
But not just any followers either. You need engaged followers that like, comment, view videos, and generally interact with you on a daily basis. To get them to interact with you, you'll have to start the conversation. Make sure you answer posts, ask questions, and generally move quickly to engage anybody that is already interested in your content. That may seem obvious, but far too many people ignore the simple steps they can take to grow a following each day.
Successful Instagram models use a number of techniques to achieve more engagement and generate momentum. We know quite a bit about private pods (it is what we do after all) and know all too well the importance of joining one as quickly as possible. Private pods will not only help you learn and grow from other Instagram models, but they will boost your following and engagement, something you just can't get any other way.
Think of private pods as Instagram networking clubs where people with similar interests congregate to find each other, see new posts, and share in the work of growth. That's the kind of data Instagram's all powerful algorithm looks for and rewards. It's also the way 99.9% of Instagram influencers with big sponsorship deals got to a place where those opportunities found them.
How to become an instagram model and get paid: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
When a brand first reaches out to you with a paid opportunity, your first instinct will be to jump at the chance. Fashion brands in particular know that Instagram modeling is ultra-competitive, and they'll use every ounce of leverage they can get. You have to push back on that pressure, and fight your own desire to work with a brand for the first time.
Because today is an environment where brands like Fashion Nova and Zara are popping up to disrupt older, more traditional fashion houses, there are always new brands around the corner. If you play your cards right, you will have plenty of opportunties to work with brands. Even if your dream brand slides into your DMs looking for a small opportunity, you can weigh it against holding out for a bigger deal. Many Instagram models say no more than they say yes, and that has the effect of making their brand a lot more valuable in the eyes of companies looking to sell product.
It's pretty logical if you think about it. If Chanel is partnering with influencers, they won't want to see their competitors and a cadre of low cost brands on their new Instagram models' feeds. In this case, the ones that held out the longest may enjoy the sweetest offers.
Negotiating can also mean the specifics of the amount being offered. It's important to get as detailed as possible, including what is and is not included, and what will be paid for out of your own pocket. A lot of Instagram models get excited about an opportunity only to find the costs of making good on that opp are more than they are getting paid to begin with! Do the math and figure out what car rides, equipment, and set materials will cost before you start throwing out numbers.
Conclusion: Being an Instagram model means following some simple rules
There's a lot of reason to believe in yourself even when there are so many people trying to become Instagram models every day. The key ingredients are consistency, determination, and a willingness to turn a hobby into something more. Keep moving forward and focus on growing the metrics that matter to brands. You'll have offers on the table in no time flat!