Modern Modelling: Could You Be Discovered on Social Media?

15072898230_f5afe6577a_zModel scouts have a clear agenda: find fresh, new, exciting talent for their agencies to represent. This once meant hanging out where teenagers were likely to be, in shopping malls and town centres, dance and beauty competitions or through simple serendipity. Sarah Doukas discovered Kate Moss by chance at JFK airport when Moss was 14. But what if you’re the aspiring model looking to be discovered? At Talent Management, we know that there’s no one surefire way to succeed at modeling—it’s often a bit of luck and a whole lot of effort. But it never hurts to brush up on your social media knowledge and approach.

Social media platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, can be a nice way of creating a virtual portfolio. You can also control the content.

But how does it work? Take Instagram for example. Users take photos and upload videos, link to their Facebook account; and like, follow and comment on other users’ photos and videos. Instagram is the home of the ‘selfie’. It’s where people post photos of themselves looking great and doing what they love. This isn’t Facebook, where that terrible photo of you in primary school got tagged. And 90% of its 150 million users are under the age of 35, so scouts looking for talent know it’s the place to go to scour the new photos for signs of talent. And they find it there, too.

Models such as Matthew Noszka were discovered on Instagram. Noszka was building houses with his father in the US when scouts saw photos of him, shirtless, taking a break in the sun. A few clicks later, a video of him playing basketball and photos of him posing with friends, a big smile and a great tan. Wilhelmina agent Luke Simone got in touch. So is that all it takes, a few good photos? To understand why Noszka got discovered you’ve got to understand what Simone was looking for.

From looking at his uploads, Simone saw ‘An all-American dream’, meaning a tall, healthy, sporty, friendly and popular guy. Simone knew many designers and campaigns wanted this look. Fast forward, and today Noszka models for American designers such as Tom Ford. Increasingly, it’s personality that sells products just as much as perfect cheekbones and a sample size physique. And Noszka isn’t the only model who’s been discovered on Instagram. Chantelle “Winnie” Harlow, the face of Desigual and Diesel, and Ben Nordberg, who models for DKNY, were both Instagram finds.

So how are you going to get discovered on social media? It’s important to have lots of great photos and videos showing your personality and versatility. Sporty photos show you’re fit and healthy, photos from the beginning of the night out show you’re stylish and sophisticated. Smiling is important, as is looking relaxed, fun and approachable. And what not to do is just as important. No one wants a model who posts photos of themselves drunk or doing anything risky or illegal. Likewise, steer away from any behaviour that other people might find offensive or distasteful.

Next it’s time to engage with your followers and potential followers. Get active in the community, like and comment positively on other photos to encourage people to comment on yours. And learn not to react to any negative comments. You might have a very clever comeback but online spats can get out of hand quickly and these will damage your status – fast. Also, having a great social media following can boost your career should you get ‘discovered’. This is something Cara Delevingne has perfected. Her Instagram account looks like an extension of her advertising campaigns. This ability to stay on-message is very attractive to potential clients.

So you have the perfect Instagram account and a handful of followers but no one has contacted you yet. Don’t worry. These things take time and perseverance. Our advice is to keep posting and commenting and building a following. Ultimately, this is only one part of the process of being discovered. Keep living your life and get out and about and who knows, maybe you’ll still be discovered the old-fashioned way after all.