Selena Gomez holds a lot of power as the unprecedented queen of Instagram. The Hands To Myself singer is fast approaching the 100 million mark with an astonishing 98.6 million followers. As social media week gets underway, IBTimes UK looks at how the former Disney star has become the most-followed celebrity on the social media platform.
The 24-year-old was actually an underdog in the Instagram race. In August 2015, Beyonce was named the app's most popular celebrity after reaching 42.9 million followers. The Formation singer was quickly overtaken by self-professed selfie queen Kim Kardashian who at the time had 44.1 million fans. The E! reality star was then overtaken by pop star Taylor Swift who boasted 45.6 million followers in September 2015.
Fast-forward to a year later and Gomez is the reigning champion. The singer only follows around 250 people and has shared 1,239 photos, marginally more than the most-followed runner-up Taylor Swift.
It is reasonable to assume Swift would outrank Gomez in the Instagram popularity stakes given the Blank Space singer's global appeal. So it is fair to wonder what Gomez did to outshine the stardom of Swift, Beyonce and Kardashian?
According to Gomez, her strategy – or lack thereof – is unremarkable. The Good For You hitmaker told The Hollywood Reporter in July 2016: "It comes in a moment when I capture something happening, and I go: 'Oh, that would be great for Instagram. I should post it.' I know it's boring, but that's genuinely what I do. It wasn't my goal to be the most-followed person. It's my favourite social platform. I'm not sure there's a method to my madness."
Whereas many young women find themselves accumulating a mass following on Instagram through half-naked photos, Gomez does the opposite. Some of the singer's raciest photos include her posing in a bikini for a magazine spread or wearing a leotard while on stage during her Revival tour. Being first has also worked in Gomez's favour – the Wizards Of Waverly Place star was one of the first celebrities to utilise Instagram's extended 60-second video.
Devoted fans whether Beliebers, Arianators or Directioners love nothing more than to get an insight into their idol's life behind-the-scenes. So it is no surprise that Gomez's follower-count dramatically increased when she embarked on her Revival tour in May. The singer's Instagram page was soon filled with backstage images of fun antics with her fleet of dancers and rehearsal snaps.
But ultimately, what appears to be Gomez's main draw is that she does not try too hard. Like the singer said herself, there is no intention to stage cool photos for Instagram, the moments simply just happen. Certainly, some images are planned like that now-iconic Coke bottle photo which is one of the app's most-liked with 5.5 million admirers.
5 most-followed celebrities on Instagram
1. Selena Gomez – 98.6 million
2. Taylor Swift – 90.8 million
3. Beyonce – 84.4 million
4. Kim Kardashian – 82.2 million
5. Justin Bieber – 77.8 million
Even images of Gomez hanging out with Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt at industry events seems normal.
With 100 million followers in her sights, Gomez is on course to having more Instagram fans than the population of Vietnam, which as of 12 September has 94.6 million citizens. Now that's impressive.