Models, Technology & Communication
Okay, if you know anything about me, you know that I’m professional to a fault.
What I love about having my blog, mentoring, coaching and consulting is that it gives me the chance to educate the next wave of models on how to practice the good habits (not develop bad ones) and understand the importance that their polished and professional approach will be to the success of their modeling goals.
Technology has taken over our lives and social media, love it or hate it, is a part of our daily routine. This includes doing business. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to network and do business using today’s innovations.
Just because social media is everywhere and just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you can be lazy or rely too heavily on it. Failing to exercise proper communication methods, not caring about excessive typos and treating potential clients or professional contacts as some random person in your social media world is a quick way to derail any approach to a sensible career.
EMAIL STILL REIGNS SUPREME
I don’t care what anyone says, the majority of professionals in the modeling industry want you to contact them via email!
Even if they have an IG, FB Page, Snap, etc., their business email address is the best place to start if you want to reach out to network, submit to a casting, etc.
DM (direct messaging for those of you still getting familiar with social media) through Instagram or Facebook profile/page is an option but if you want to be taken seriously–and have your message checked in a timely manner–make your first contact through the email address.
Can’t find the email address for whatever reason? Then you can contact them via DM to ask what is the best method of communication and go from there. If they prefer DM instead of email then that’s fine but if you are contacting someone for the first time (i.e. a model looking for a photographer to test shoot with, a makeup artist, stylist/designer, client), their email address is going to be the way to get your foot in the door with building rapport.
Although most people check their social media profiles regularly, business people always check their emails. Social media is prone to being weird and sometimes notifications don’t get sent and it can be annoying to have to take out the extra time to check multiple accounts manually to make sure you’re not missing a message.
Professionals in the modeling industry know their time is valuable and the most straightforward way to guarantee your message will be seen is to shoot over an email.
It’s essentially foolproof and doesn’t require pesky requirements like sending a friend request. Regardless of who you are, if you know the email address, you can send a message. Simple as that.
Again, if the person in question that you want to contact states their preference for a non-email method of communicating, then follow what they say but in general you can’t go wrong with email.
ACT PROFESSIONAL IN ALL ASPECTS
It’s perfectly fine to “like” and comment on a person’s social media profile, such as a photographer, designer, makeup artist, etc. But it’s not a good look to post gibberish, a bunch of emojis or typo riddled comments. This is a quick way to get an eye roll and not be taken seriously.
Professionals in the modeling industry already have enough people likely competing for their attention and acting anything less than mature and professional won’t encourage them to want to engage with you further.
IT ISN’T TOO MUCH TO ASK TO KNOW HOW TO TYPE SENTENCES PROPERLY!
My biggest pet peeve with social media is that it’s made people lazy when it comes to grammar and communicating with one another. Please realize that modeling is a business. Time is money. It’s a harsh industry. If you don’t care enough to craft an email or even a text that doesn’t take several people to decipher, don’t bother trying to step up your game.
When sending a message to someone you don’t know, it is NOT okay to start the message/email with “Hey,” “Yo,” “What’s up,” etc., etc. It’s rude and disrespectful (and if you don’t think so, I’m sorry to say that you’re not possessing the correct business mindset). Trust me when I say this lack of proper salutation will not make a good first impression. Even if the rest of the message is fine, it’s not a good start.
Care enough about what you write to proofread it before you send it. Read it out loud and see if it makes sense. If it doesn’t or if you know you want to tweak a sentence or two, do it. Never send a business related email or inquiry unless you feel confident it reads properly and professionally.
Do you just suck at writing and can’t spell anything correctly to save your life? There are a lot of people that fall under that category. That’s when you ask for help from someone you know is a whiz at that kind of thing. Ask for assistance writing the message and don’t be afraid to accept help when it’s offered. It’s in your best interest and can only help you, not hurt you.
Don’t rely on spellcheck alone. That’s writing 101. Not sure how something is spelled or the use of a certain word or phrase? Look it up! That’s what Google is for (or whatever search engine you prefer). If you can look up memes and YouTube videos, you can look up relevant info related to business correspondence.
Being able to speak to someone using Skype is a convenient way to handle business when emailing or talking on the phone won’t suffice. It’s also a good way to play it safe when it comes to making sure you know who you are talking to. While public face-to-face meetings are ideal, Skype and other services like it are the next best thing.
Similar to email, stay professional. Find a spot in your home or other location that isn’t too noisy or distracting. You don’t have to wear a suit or anything but don’t look sloppy. You only have to worry about your top half so stay comfy in sweatpants if you want but throw on a decent, clean top. Make sure there isn’t anything in your background that’s unsightly (i.e. open closet door with clutter and clothes spilling out or posters/wall art that may be offensive or inappropriate).
Present yourself as put together and professional and the business contact on the other end will be able to focus on your conversation, not other distractions.
Also make sure you have a good connection to have a fairly smooth Skype meeting and test drive the program in advance if you’ve never used it before or not enough to be familiar with the features. You don’t want to test drive the experience using a real conversation that could be important to your modeling endeavors.
RECOGNIZE BUSINESS HOURS
Even if the people you want to connect with in the modeling industry are not technically working in an office M-F from 9-5pm, you still need to respect the fact that they have a life outside of work (even workaholics have down times when they don’t want to be bothered).
Email and DM is convenient in the sense that you can send a message any day, any time and they will respond at their earliest convenience.
But when it comes to Skyping/Face time or Messenger calling and regular calls/text messages, follow the unwritten rule of avoiding these methods of contact after 5pm. Even if the person is working, it’s professional courtesy to not blow up someone’s phone in the evening when they may be having dinner, spending time with their family, relaxing or focusing on work projects with deadlines.
Face timing or calling someone on Messenger over and over is not only annoying, it’s a guaranteed way to ensure they won’t ever want to pick up. If you call once and they don’t pick up, don’t call right back. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed this–and have been on the receiving end. It drives me nuts. Clearly, that person is unavailable so take the hint.
If you need to contact that person regarding something specific, such as a photographer you’re working on a shoot with or if you can’t make it to a casting or other type of emergency situation, that’s acceptable but if you just want to talk or have questions that you know can wait until the next day, play it safe and don’t reach for that phone. Send an email instead or wait until the next morning when they’re likely just starting the day and are in a position to have a conversation.
See why I favor emails so much?
Some people respond quickly to emails and other modes of business communication, while others may take a few hours or a day to get back. Keep in mind that if you are reaching out to them, you’re on their time and need to respect their schedule. Don’t get eager and send a follow up message to ask if they got it. Chances are they did and they’ll get back to you at their earliest convenience.
If a few days passes, wait it out. In the business world, it’s ideal to give at least 2-3 days for a person to get back to your email before following up, if it’s not a time sensitive matter. And if you do end up following up, don’t be rude about it.
Be polite. It’s called “tact.” Your approach is everything. Instead of saying, “Hey, did you get my email?” or “Just checking why you haven’t responded yet?” say something along the lines of, “Hello, I wanted to follow up and see if you received my email I sent a few days ago? I wanted to make sure it didn’t go to your spam folder or anything. I’m looking forward to your reply. Thank you!” Short and sweet.
Are people flakey? Sure! This can include so-called “professionals” in the modeling industry. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to be unprofessional as a result. If the person you’re trying to network with isn’t acting professionally and hasn’t been good about their own communication skills, chances are this isn’t someone you need to make the effort to want to work with.
If you’ve been corresponding with someone for a short time and they’ve always been really responsive and then suddenly they’re taking a bit longer to reply back, give them some space, not grief. They are probably doing that thing called, you know, working…living…that kind of thing. Stuff comes up. Put it in perspective before you take a brief absence of response as some sort of personal insult.
You’ll recognize a solid professional connection with you see it and in that sense, it should push you to be even more diligent about how you present yourself when reaching out to build what hopefully will be a beneficial and positive working relationship to further your modeling career.
***I didn’t cover the method of talking on the phone because I sure hope you know enough about phone etiquette to know how speak properly to another human being. If not, well, I don’t know what to tell you but getting into modeling probably shouldn’t be a priority if you can’t even hold a solid phone convo, haha***
Source: Modeling 101 – A Model’s Diary