Models, and this speaks specifically to women in or trying to make it in the modeling industry, are already practicing principles of Social Network Marketing and mostly without the benefit of having memorized “The 4-Hour Work Week” or “Think and Grow Rich.” They do it automatically, mostly because a large number of them are young enough to have grown up in this new age of Internet and Social Media. They are simply comfortable with methods many are either just learning or struggling to grasp. However, model are using 21st Century tools for a 20th Century paradigm.
For models it's about exposure, getting the photo spread, ,the magazine cover, the runway gig – with aspirations of Super-Model status. Is no different then working for a corporation with plans on upward mobility. Both are equally as challenging and full of the same expectations of recognition.
And if you think Models are not, in fact, practicing Social Network Marketing, take a closer look. They provide content,their image – themselves. They engage with their consumers (their fans and followers), They provide a service, and in they sell a product.
Where they are making the mistake is in the goals behind all this. The goal is exposure for the probability work, i.e. photo-spread, convention gigs, runway, commercial, etc. these goals are important to the goals of being a model, so it would be foolish to suggest they not pursue these thing.
This does not mean they cannot turn up the heat on how they also use their Social Media Marketing. Some are, more are not. It's not about blame, modeling, like every other pre-Internet and pre-Social Network business, it still stuck in the old ways of doing things, their mostly male dominated rules are hard wired into society,and therefore models are locked into it like Neo was to the Matrix.
Models are in a unique position to make a shift and add hardcore strategies to their online method. With just a few tweaks a typical model can make a better then modest living, if not get stinking rich. All they need so is improve on the following
1. Consider Yourself a Business – Models are each a business, their name and image are the brand. Instead of “resuming” themselves, they should brand themselves. The difference being that they use Social Networks, Networking websites and the like to gain recognition within the industry. But they build up large numbers of fans who follow and engage them. Every model should marry Social Networking and industry networking with self-branding. They should own the web address that is their name and model name, they should trademark their own image and anything they use to put their names out there (logos, names spellings, artwork, etc.) They should have agreements with photographers to own some of their photos – make a release form that photographers have to sign allowing them to use some of the images for themselves. Work out a deal – especially if they are modeling for no salary.
2. Website with Shopping. – Many models already have websites, but you'd be surprised how many do not. To many of them are relying either too heavily or completely on OPP (Other People's Pages) for their marketing and branding. The problem with this is the same for any business; the danger of using others people's pages is those pages can change before you see it coming. Don't believe this? Then go ask everyone you know how many people are on Myspace. So while Facebook and Twitter and Model Mayhem are very useful tools, they cannot count of any of them being here forever. And while many of these places are opening up channels for anyone to sell, the same problem of not knowing where they will be in the future still exists. But your website is yours. If Facebook is replaced, if people get bored with Twitter as fast as they did with Friendster, your website will still be there.
3. Go beyond selling photos and videos – pictures and videos are the most marketed items by models and they can sell so much more. If a model has a large fan base they can put their image, or signature or logo on almost anything and have it available for sale. Think outside the modeling box. This does not mean stop selling videos or picture, just add more to your store and have it available. In fact let your fans know it's available and market it hard. Never, ever underestimate impulse sales.
4. Stop giving away the best stuff for free – It boggles the mind how many models post almost every sequence of a photo shoot, or a video. A few are learning to hold back, but to many are simply giving away valuable assets to their bottom line. Separate the photos between the ones you will always show (and they should be mostly photos they take with phones or for fun) from the photos they can use to sell or attract people to their websites.
5. Tell your story – while people think that their story might be boring or not unique, they'd be wrong. Models on the road to success have a story people – especially their fans – will want to hear. Tell it. Let them know your successes, your miss-steps, you failures, what you are going through, what you goals are. Most models put up a bio and resume and that's it. There is a model who did some work for Playboy, on her Facebook about section when you get to “location” she wrote, “I'm not telling, I learned from the last time.” More than a few people were really curious about that but she did not tell the story. It didn't sound like she had a good time, but image how better she could have engaged or taught other models something if she let people know her experience. Today people love to get involved, even give support. Let them.
6. Stay away from dramas – Drama hurts your image. Online drama will get you the wrong kind of attention. Stay away from it. If someone post something negative to you, stop and breath before you instantly reply – then reply with a “thank you.” And leave it at that. Models need to remember #1 always, they are a business and they can control the perception of that business. Getting involved in drama does not work in anyone's favor unless they are on a reality show, and even then it's sketchy at best.
7. Be more flexible – Go for the large cosmetic company or fashion design, but think about smaller or media size businesses too. Models should offer a different price point for smaller or media size businesses trading on their fan base as a selling point. There are plenty of small businesses that could use a “face” or maybe an attraction at trade shows or conventions. If models make their prices more in reach of smaller operations and let them know, that's another review stream. They should also protect themselves,
8. If you're going to “go wild” get paid for it – this is not a judgement of what any does or chooses to do, and it public knowledge that the Girls Gone Wild Company filed for bankruptcy last year. How ever this is speaking not only to models but all woman exposing themselves out there, especially on Social Networks. For the most part they do not get paid, while they are making money for other people. Think this is not true of Facebook? Guess again. Troll the “hot girl” pages – and there are a LOT of them. Many of them share these pictures other girls put out there in public, and if read their words, lots of them have links to outside websites, and getting paid when people click on those links. They are literally using these images to make money. There are also pages collecting these images and making money off them. Girls Gone Wild laugh at the fact they get girls to sign releases then all they get “Paid” is hats and tee-shirts. And they made millions off this formula. Well, if you're going to put it out there, make sure you're getting paid to. Don't just let websites of Facebook pages collect your images and get paid, the ladies should be getting paid as well, or preparing a lawsuit if they don't.
9. Networking is a model's best friend – Models suffer a lot of down time as they look for work. They use it to increase portfolios and their fan base on Social Networks. If they teamed up they could do so much more, cover a lot of ground. Groups of beautiful women sell better then one. Increases exposure, as they all will have a shared number of followers, increases chances at more revenue, increases possibilities of merchandise. Most of all, good safety measure as it good to let people know where you are what your doing, and if they are scheduled to do something together – even online – it increases the amount of people who will be alerted in case of something happening.
These are some easy to implement strategies models and ladies in general can use. There are some doing them already. This article hopes to create more.
Umar H. Soaries