Shopify Ecosystem

10 Top Instagram Models And How They’re Helping Brands Succeed

10-top-instagram-models-and-how-they’re-helping-brands-succeed

A few years ago, when we heard the word “model,” we would think of high-fashion supermodels walking the runways of Fashion Week. 

And now, with the explosion of social media, anyone can be a model, regardless of experience, age, or connections in the fashion industry. 

Creators on Instagram have been curating their aesthetics and personal styles to deliver fashion-forward looks and cement themselves as models, even though they may never grace a red carpet. 

But can brands tap into this growing segment to reach new audiences, educate consumers, and drive sales? They sure can. In fact, many brands, even ones that might not traditionally partner with models, are seeing success with the help of these Instagram creators. 

Ready to see how top Instagram models can help your brand succeed in the creator economy? Let’s dive in.

What is an Instagram model? 

An Instagram model is a person who frequently posts photos or videos of themselves on Instagram to showcase their makeup, clothes, and overall looks. They typically have a unique style and enjoy curating the perfect outfit for any occasion. 

It doesn’t take a lot of followers to become an Instagram model. In fact, creators only need a minimum of 1,000 followers to reach the level of nano influencer.  

Are Instagram models influencers? 

While you don’t have to be an influencer to be an Instagram model, most are both. They have worked hard to earn followers and curate a feed worthy of a fashion magazine, so it would make sense to leverage their authority to earn free products and some extra cash. 

What types of brands can benefit from partnering with Instagram models? 

While many think that only fashion, accessory, and makeup brands can partner with Instagram models, nearly any brand can work with them. It’s not uncommon to see an Instagram model promoting a fitness product or delicious snack, and lifestyle and home goods brands could send items to models to have them showcase them in an aesthetically pleasing way. 

After all, partnering with creators is often cheaper than hiring a production team, so it would make sense to work with models who have carefully curated their photography skills and their personal sense of style. 

Four pictures of top Instagram models

What are the benefits of working with an Instagram model? 

Brands working with Instagram models can see many benefits, including: 

  • Repurposable content: As long as the brand negotiates for content usage rights, the team can download a creator’s content and use it for various marketing efforts, including organic social media, emails, ads, and more.  
  • Increased brand awareness: Brands can reach whole new audiences when they partner with creators, helping add more consumers to the top of the marketing funnel. 
  • More sales: Models know what kinds of content their followers want to see, so they can position a brand’s products in a way that grabs attention and encourages sales. And when businesses empower creators with discount codes, they can reduce some of the friction of a purchase and drive more value for the company. 

10 Top Instagram models and the brands they’re partnering with 

1. Taye Reyanne + Lorna Jane 

Taye Reyanne is a micro influencer and fitness model in New York. She also serves as an Amazon Associate, curating collections of her favorite products for her fans. Her favorite content centers around sharing skincare products and routines, styling outfits, and showcasing her workouts. 

Taye’s passion for fitness and fashion makes her an ideal partner for Lorna Jane, a women’s activewear retailer. Lorna Jane gave Taye a discount code and had her model a few outfits for her audience to drive brand awareness and encourage sales. 

You can also find Taye on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and her website.  

2. Kira West + TONAL

Kira West is a micro influencer and entrepreneur focusing on inclusive wellness, running information, travel inspiration, and more. She’s the founder of a jewelry and travel essential brand called MadeByKwest and ACTIV-ISM, an anti-racism wellness company. And as if that’s not enough to keep her busy, she created Sanity Miles, a monthly challenge to encourage people “to make mindful movement a habit.” 

Kira’s passion for fitness makes her an ideal brand partner for TONAL, an advanced strength training machine. On behalf of the brand, Kira took a few different approaches to spread the word. One involved a dramatic, commercial-style approach to showcasing TONAL, while another detailed her favorite moves and the classes the brand offers. She continues to post about the brand over time, highlighting that her interest and love for TONAL hasn’t waned.

You can also find Kira on Pinterest and on her blog, as well as her top product picks on Amazon

3. Hayet Rida + SKIMS

Hayet Rida is a macro influencer, creative strategist at Meta, owner of a boutique called The Koi Studio and a candle company called AIYA Candle CO, and founder of The Creators Edu and a curated store called Oma. When she’s not busy with all of her ventures, she’s sharing stunning photos of herself with thoughtful captions full of advice.  

Her love for fashion and the finer things in life makes her an ideal partner for SKIMS, an underwear, loungewear, and shapewear brand. They sent her a couple of pieces to model for her fans, as well as a branded hashtag to add to her posts. Her branded SKIMS content gained a lot of attention and engagement from her followers, building brand awareness and driving desire for the products. 

You can also find Hayet on TikTok

4. Tony Tran + Cotton On

Tony Tran is an artist and micro influencer in Chicago. He showcases his outfit styling skills in his posts and is constantly posting pics of his latest ‘fit. He even brings in elements of pop culture by sharing outfits inspired by shows and movies like Spongebob Squarepants and Camp Rock

Cotton On, a fashion retailer focused on providing clothing for people of all ages, partnered with Tony to showcase some of their summer essentials, including a button-up shirt and pastel orange shorts. Cotton On repurposed some of his content on its own social accounts to earn more value from the partnership. 

You can also find Tony on TikTok

5. Hayley Andersen + Pura Vida 

Hayley Andersen is an Australian photographer, macro influencer, travel vlogger, and Instagram model. She frequently posts stunning photos of her sharing her latest outfit at a wanderlust-worthy vacation spot. 

Hayley’s love for international travel and fashion made her a great partner for Pura Vida, a jewelry company selling handmade items from artisans around the globe. In her post, Hayley showcased the bracelets in a stunning photo, shared a custom discount code to inspire purchases, and talked about the charity Pura Vida was supporting (giving her followers an idea of the company’s values). 

You can also find Hayley on YouTube and on her website.   

6. Alex & Mike + Allbirds 

Alex and Mike are an engaged couple in Philadelphia who spend their time blogging and sharing all things life, style, home, and skincare with their followers. Whether they’re dressing up or snapping a pic of their casual ‘fits, they love showcasing their personal senses of style.  

Together, they partnered with Allbirds, a sustainable, natural shoe company, to share how they style the brand’s sneakers with their favorite streetwear. They used a branded hashtag so their followers could find more Allbirds content, and they also tagged the business’ account so people could learn more about its products. 

You can also find Alex and Mike on Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and their blog, as well as their favorite products on Amazon

7. Ashley Yanezz + Ipsy

Ashley Yanezz is a 22-year-old nano influencer and makeup artist who loves to showcase her latest work on Instagram. Whether she’s posting something low-key and neutral or a graphic retro eyeliner look, Ashley showcases the magic of makeup to her followers. 

This made her a natural partner for Ipsy, a monthly makeup subscription service. She used everything from her monthly glam bag to create a “soft summer glam” look and used branded hashtags so her followers could see what other creators were doing with their Ipsy shipment. 

You can also find Ashley on TikTok and YouTube.  

8. Sweta Sridhar + Liquid I.V. 

Sweta Sridhar is a micro influencer and model “sharing nomadic experiences in style.” She talks about everything from recipes to makeup recommendations, and she often posts reviews of different San Francisco restaurants. 

She partnered with Liquid I.V. to showcase their products. In the branded post, she talked about the heat in California and her “work hard, play hard” lifestyle and then pointed out how Liquid I.V. helps her stay hydrated and feel great. And since she often shares recipes, she also included her top five ways to use Liquid I.V. in the post. 

You can also find Sweta on TikTok

9. Thamarr Guerrier + Conair 

Thamarr Guerrier is a macro influencer and the creative directress of Musings of a Curvy Lady. She frequently posts about her fitness routine, favorite products, and daily outfits. 

She partnered with Conair to share their cool air styler in a post and talk about how it helps her achieve her gorgeous hairstyles, completing her total look. She included a link in her stories so her fans could find the product and purchase it online, and she used a branded hashtag so fans could learn more. 

You can also find Thamarr on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, as well as her favorite products on Amazon

10. Heidi Ör + MVMT 

Heidi Ör is a nano influencer in Chicago. She frequently posts about the coolest restaurants and experiences around her home city, as well as snapshots of her posing in stunning outfits. 

She partnered with MVMT, a watch, accessory, and eyewear brand, to showcase some of their products. On a trip to Hawaii, she took pictures of herself wearing a MVMT watch amidst some beautiful scenery and shared them with her followers to drum up interest. MVMT gave her a discount code to share with her fans and track her sales, and she tagged the business and used branded hashtags so her followers could learn more. 

You can also find Heidi on TikTok.  

How to find the right Instagram model for your brand 

So, you’re ready to get started with Instagram models, but you don’t know where to start. No problem! We’ve got you covered with our six-step guide. 

1. Determine your target audience. 

First things first: It’s time to think about who is most likely to purchase your product. Talk within your marketing team to determine if you already have a set audience you want to reach. If not, begin researching. 

If you’re trying to figure out your target audience, talk to members of your sales team who can provide information on who is currently buying your product the most. Then, think about demographics and psychographics.

Once you have a general idea of your target audience, run it by your coworkers and management. It’s always helpful to have a few extra pairs of eyes reviewing your work. 

2. Search with hashtags. 

Now that you know who you’re trying to reach, it’s time to look for Instagram models for your campaigns. Use hashtags to search for creators by location (#NewYorkStyle), niche (#SustainableFashion), demographic category (#GenZStyle), and more. 

Write down the handles of people you find interesting, and once you have a decent list, go back in and do some research. 

3. Evaluate the model’s metrics. 

Take a sample of their audience and look through each person’s profile to gauge whether they fit your target audience. 

If the majority of the sample resembles your ideal customer, it’s time to dig a little deeper. 

Calculate their average engagement rate to see if their audience is truly interested in the content they post. Look through the comments to see if they seem legitimate or random (like a bot wrote them). 

Essentially, do your due diligence to make sure the model has a real audience they truly connect with through their posts. 

4. Send an outreach message. 

Now that you have a shortlist, it’s time to start reaching out. Many creators list their email in their bio. If they do, send them a quick email; if not, a DM on Instagram will work. 

When writing an outreach message, there are a few things you should keep in mind: 

  • Keep it short. No one has time to read a novel-length message from a stranger, so be sure to keep your initial message to a four-paragraph max. 
  • Introduce yourself. Creators get a lot of spam in their inboxes, so use your brand account to send the message, then share who you are and what you do. This can help your outreach seem much more trustworthy. 
  • Personalize it. Use their name and compliment them on something you like about their content. You can even talk about why you think they’d be a good partner for your brand. 
  • Add a clear CTA. Provide instructions on what to do if they are interested in learning more about the partnership. Typically, sending a reply should suffice, but be sure to let them know, so there is no confusion. 

5. Share the content brief. 

If they say “yes,” and you agree on a partnership, it’s time to send over the details in the form of a campaign brief. Brands walk a thin line between providing too much and not enough information in these. When a brand gives too much information, it can stifle the model’s creativity, leading to “meh” content and lackluster results. But when it doesn’t provide enough info, creators can be overwhelmed and focus on the wrong aspects of its products, leading to content that doesn’t fit the brand’s needs. 

Therefore, it’s essential to take your time to really think through this. 

Here are some things you definitely should include in your campaign brief: 

  • Posting requirements: Share what type of posts you want (Reels, Stories, carousels, etc.) and how many you want. 
  • Payment information: Make sure it’s clear how you’ll compensate them for their hard work.
  • Discount codes or affiliate links: If you’re providing your creators with a custom link or code, make sure to include it in the brief. 
  • Brand assets: Include logos or any specific language you want them to use, as well as any words or phrases you want them to avoid. 
  • Inspiration: Share examples of high-performing content so your creators can see a general idea of what you’re looking for. 

6. Negotiate. 

Once the model has a chance to review payment info and requirements, they may accept your offer, reject it, or try to negotiate. If they’re asking for more money than you can offer but you still really want to work with them, consider reducing the requirements or providing additional free products to sweeten the deal.

Key takeaway: No matter what industry you’re in, Instagram models can help you see major results. 

The results that Instagram models can bring in for brands are stunning. With their ability to showcase your products in an aesthetically pleasing way, they can help you skip the high production costs of traditional marketing photography and earn a content bank of beautiful photos and videos you can repurpose across your entire marketing channel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Special thanks to our friends at Grin.co for their insights on this topic.

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