WTF is an Instagram Model?!

We live in bizarre times, times of peak noise and confusion. There is so much information available. Too much to parse and the internet has given everyone a voice. What a beautiful thing. What a harmful thing. On one hand, injustices can be brought to light in an eternal virtual landscape. On the other, our perceptions are constantly manipulated with floods of fake news.

We haven’t yet learned how to sit in our own quiet and determine what we really think and what really makes sense to us. So, while it’s amazing that everyone can share what they’re thinking at any time, and at times from this beauty truly plumes, we haven’t evolved to absorb what we need, and ignore what we don’t, to stand in our own truth.

Well, damn. Did I get preachy there? I mean back in the day you subscribed to your parents’ religion, worked in the town mill, married the girl next door, sided with your kids’ teachers, and all in the house down the street from where you grew up. (Or something like that anyway.) Point being, you lived what you saw and there wasn’t much more. Now we have access to every documented way of life, and the path right in front of us blurs. Any way of life we can achieve never seems good enough.

I did it again. Ha! So Instagram Models.

We’ve spoken before about the position of brand ambassador. Originally the position was offered to the truly socially influential – celebrities. Now brands want everyone and there mother (lots of moms on Facebook these days, amiright?) to proudly push the brand’s message through all their social media outlets.

Back to the hands again. On one hand, celebrities with wide influence. On the other, your every day citizen with limited social influence. Put your hands together and you have an Instagram Model. With no avenues to a more classic fame, albeit by limited talent, lack of the right connections, lazy pursuit, location, (I digress), an Instagram Model takes to, well, Instagram in an attempt to gain recognition for some talent. Mind you, some of these Instagrammers have real talent. I’ve seen yogis, travelers, athletes, etc. all create engaging, effective content worthy of their audience size. Others attempt to appeal to a more basic drive.

Bottomline, an effective Instagram Model doesn’t have to have anything at all but a large following amassed through white hat techniques. No buying followers! An Instagram Model is an every day person, with little to no fame going in, who was able to amass a noteworthy following.

The only thing the definition is missing so far? Money.

Create all the content you want on Instagram. Amass a following. You’re an Instagram Model once your following appeals to brands and those brands are willing to pay you to put their product in front of your following. Some Instagrammers make their entire livings doing this. Lots of people push products on Instagram. They’re not all Instagram Models.

If a celebrity pushes a product on Instagram are they an Instagram Model?

No. She’s a celebrity who gets paid to do what she does and as a result is offered endorsement deals. An Instagram Model is such only because she amassed a large enough audience, on Instagram specifically, demo and psychographically worthy of an endorsement deal.

Maybe an example would help.

Not that you don’t already get it but…

A body builder posts workout routines. People love the routines and follow her. Her following grows to millions. A sports energy drink purchases posts in her Instagram feed whereby she uses their product. Followers purchase the product after seeing her using it, because she’s where it’s at. Pretty simple.

Why does this work though? Why trust the Model?

Remember all the information I was yammering about at the beginning of this bloated article? You have access to too much of it. You are more skeptical as a result. You don’t believe a celebrity promoting a sports drink with the same tenacity your dad did. You know he’s getting paid to push that product and probably doesn’t use it. He most likely worked his way into your life as a performer, who is now attempting to earn influence with you by being genuine (or attempting to seem genuine).

An Instagram Model doesn’t come with all the fame. He seems like a regular guy. The genuineness happened first. You don’t think of him as being pursued by big brands for big endorsement deals. It’s easier to believe this dude actually uses that product. Who knows if it’s true?

It probably isn’t, but you also have daily access to this person in a more intimate setting. He’s probably putting his best foot forward on social, so there’s some acting, but it’s not like what you see on the big screen. Though there’s no real intimacy with this person, we’re all beginning to experience intimacy differently as society becomes increasingly tethered to our phones, so it feels more intimate. You think you have a handle on who that person is, more so than the planned personas of performers. Or he/she carries a symmetry you prefer. Either way.

So we get how this works, but would it work for my brand?

Should my business be marketing via an Instagram model?

Great question. It’s not the real question though. There are a couple questions here that are more precise. Have you found an Instagram model whose followers meet the criteria of your target demographic? In simpler terms, would the follower-base even want your product or message? And, have you found an Instagram Model that actually has influence with their follower-base? A large following doesn’t mean the Model is trusted/respected enough to influence the habits of his following. There are more questions to ask here, but start with these two.

Basically, if you believe Instagram is a worthwhile or necessary marketing vehicle for your brand, do your due diligence. Find the right Model. Don’t take a shotgun approach. Have a proper plan and measure the effectiveness of that plan during and after execution.

Happy Gramming!

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About the author

Matthew Praetzel

Thinker / Programmer / Late night contemplator More about this guy

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