Three of Aspen’s social media influencers give their insight
How did you become an influencer/content creator?
“I have worked as a photographer and filmmaker for over 20 years so I have a lot of unique content which I started sharing on social media, mostly Instagram, early. As a result, I have built a following over time by consistently sharing my work and focusing on stories, not just pretty pictures. I also work with clients like National Geographic that have a large reach so that helps establish a following.” – Pete McBride, @pedromcbride
“Posting to Instagram is a pretty big part of my job as a professional skier, I was lucky to get a fairly strong following back when people where actively looking for new people to follow.” – Colter Hinchliffe, @colterjh
“This was not a path I intentionally set out on. Four years ago, I moved back home to Aspen after six years away (school, travel, etc). I had roughly 600 followers on Instagram of mostly friends and family. Around that time, I purchase a GoPro and started bringing it out on adventures with me. Within a year I had grown to about 1,200 followers simply by posting photos regularly, then, seemingly out of nowhere, my page started to grow faster until it reached the size that it is today of over 100k.” – Arielle Shipe, @arielleshipe
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What sets you apart from other content creators?
“I like to believe that all of us have our own ‘special sauce’ and that because of that there is truly room for everyone! Something more unique about my page is that I treat it more like a micro-blog about healthy living, overcoming challenges, mental health or anything else I am personally processing at the time.” – Shipe
“I try to keep it authentic and sometimes it’s borderline inappropriate, but I try to keep it the real me.” – Hinchliffe
“I focus more on my imagery and the story behind them. For those interested in travel, adventure, conservation (with a focus on water) and photography, then I might provide content for a feed that informs and offers something interesting for the eye too.” – McBride
How do you sustain being a content creator?
“I’m always out skiing or climbing … so whipping my phone out to capture some moments is fun and easy. Getting around to actually edit, and post the content is the hard part (of the job part).” – Hinchliffe
“It isn’t easy. It takes persistence, time, dedication and it is important to maintain your own voice.” – McBride
“In the last year my page reached a point where I am able to be fully supported through sponsorships and collaborations, but it wasn’t always that way!” – Shipe
What are your three best tricks for creating posts for Instagram?
“The first, don’t ‘do it for the ‘Gram.’ Do it for yourself and if you happen to get a great photo than amazing! Second, stop trying to create FOMO and start trying to create connection. And lastly, add value. I post almost every single day and I know that I can’t be inspiring for every post but, as best I can, I try to make each piece of content I post to be something that adds value to my followers.” – Shipe
“Honesty, brevity, and not over filtering your image. Keep it real. It is great to chase beauty, but not at cost of leaving reality (unless you are going for just the visual fine art). … Provide something unique — poetic, creative, funny, thought provoking. It is a crowded online world so I try to avoid posts about what coffee shop I visited (unless it is one hell of a wild coffee shop).” – McBride
“A) Do cool stuff, in cool places. B) have a vision but make sure the vision doesn’t consume your day! C.) Keep it authentic. … People are sick of polished up, one turn wonders, smoke and mirror type of shots. It’s great to post off-handed videos that show flaws and are real and raw. That’s what people connect with the most.” – Hinchliffe
Do you feel like what Instagram is testing in certain markets (removing like counts on posts) could effect you as a creator in the future?
“Frankly, I think it is great. We need to curb our addictions to our screens. I feel honored and privileged to have a lot of people follow me, and I hope they continue to, but our infatuation with number of likes and followers is a dangerous rabbit hole that can take us far from our reasons for posting in the first place: to connect, share and inform — not to win popularity games.” – McBride
“You know, as grateful as I am for the audience and platform I have to speak from right now, I know that it will change. It has already evolved so much since I started this journey and I know it will just continue to evolve. Even though I try my best to live unattached to those numbers on the screen I’d be lying if I said they didn’t affect me some days. Perhaps removing counts on post will mean my engagement drops … but if peoples overall happiness and wellbeing rise because of it I’m all for it.” – Shipe
“I think Instagram and social media has lost a lot of its steam. I imagine there will always be a way to track ‘engagement’ from our followers and those stats are requested by brands who wish to work with me. Social media will certainly evolve and so will my job as a content creator. To be honest, I’m looking forward to changes, keep it refreshing. I still love Instagram, but I love it differently than I used to.” – Hinchliffe
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