We are thrilled to interview Aimee River, influencer and photographer, for this months MAKING WAVES. Every month we interview a top creator - who not only creates innovative and interesting content but also has influence. We gain insight into growing and maintaining a business and brand in the digital world. Influencers share insider tips about the influencer marketing industry, content creation and how to collaborate with brands. Aimee River is a content creator that loves to view the world with imagination, her highly engaged audience is inspired by her creative visual stories. You can follow her creations on Instagram @aimeeriver and her creative journey on www.aimeeriver.com. We are always inspired and amazed by Aimee's creations and are in awe of her ability to create magic through her photography. Here we go!
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
My personal brand Aimee River started as a thought experiment. When I was younger, I could imagine my life taking vastly different paths. One would involve an academic career and raising a family, everything being stable and predictable. The other path was more adventurous. I imagined living in a loft in Paris, doing something artsy and getting my inspiration in a cultural treasure trove. I ended up pursuing the first path, became a scientist and have a little family now. But the appeal of a creative lifestyle has always stuck with me. So I started the Aimee River brand by exploring that alternative life path: what if I would’ve become an artist after all? What would I be creating? What is stopping me from doing it?
These questions have helped me discover my new favourite hobby: visual storytelling with photography. My partner and I really enjoy the process of coming up with concepts to capture in creative stills or videos, giving them a quirky or whimsical twist, and challenging ourselves to visualise them with as little of Photoshop as possible.
We didn’t need a Parisian loft to do it. The attic in our suburban home has proven quite suitable - just a bit less romantic!
What brands or people have had the biggest impact on your growth and why?
For me, being part of a creative community is what made most of the growth happen. There’s this lovely mindset, “community over competition”. When other creators feel inspired by your work, they might share it with their followers, which is a great way to get discovered by new people. Aside from those spontaneous shoutouts, actively participating in the community, such as joining creative challenges, has been super helpful in being visible and achieving growth. In terms of numbers, the growth hasn’t been as spectacular as some other creators have experienced, but I did gather a very meaningful following - like minded people who enjoy my type of content, love sharing their thoughts and stick around to see more. They say “your vibe attracts your tribe”, and that has certainly proven to be true.
What does a typical day in your week look like for you?
Currently it’s a hybrid of the two lifestyles that I mentioned before. I’m a mum by day and a creator by night. Since I became a mother, I’ve adopted a slower pace, with less science and more creativity, less stress and more dreams to chase. I feel excited and lucky to have taken the chance to explore my creative side together with my partner and see where it will take us. The creativity takes place when our daughter is asleep or at her playgroup. We go up to our attic - the studio - and create a scene to photograph. Sometimes we create our photos outside, which are not my favourite projects to do (it feels quite awkward being caught in the act!) but usually produce my favourite end products. It’s often outside of our comfort zone where magic happens, isn’t it?
What are some of the most important qualities you think are required to be successful in the industry?
I think it’s becoming increasingly important to create content that is not only visually of good quality, but also expresses personality. The “likability” of a photo, a video, or a blog post is partly determined by the likability of the person that created it. That doesn’t mean we should view it as a popularity contest. Rather, we should ask ourselves if we are relatable enough for people to care about what we’re doing. This is what makes social media social. People are not only drawn to the actual content, but they also build connections with the creators. If you present a superficial, polished version of yourself, you can expect those connections to be superficial as well, and perhaps more fleeting. If you’re raw and authentic, you’ll be more memorable and draw in a more invested audience that can truly relate and that cares about what you have to say.
I believe that building meaningful connections is what determines success in the long run. Social media is starting to revolve less around perfect people posing in perfect places, and more around those that inspire with their uniqueness and originality. We’ve got to embrace our quirks!
You’ve created lots of content for your Instagram, tell us about why you decided to leverage this platform the most and why you think it’s been successful for you.
I love Instagram for its positive community and relative lack of trolls. You can get as creative and quirky as you want and be cheered on for it, which is very motivating and encourages you to explore beyond the comfort zones of your creativity. I don’t think other platforms are quite as non-judgemental, and expect that it takes a bit of thicker skin to freely express yourself on those spaces and put aside the hateful comments that might come along. For this reason I would recommend any starting creative to share and develop their style within a feel-good and almost-anything-goes community such as Instagram.
What do you think the future looks like for influencer marketing?
I feel that the increased interest in real and authentic content comes with a more critical attitude towards sponsored content. When an influencer is appreciated for being their unique self, it can easily come across as inauthentic when they sell their social media presence as advertising space. This can backfire for influencers and brands alike. I think therefore that, for influencer marketing to work, the match between brand and influencer needs to make perfect sense. When there’s an obvious overlap in the philosophy, values or lifestyle that are represented by both parties, the sponsored content will come across as a natural part of the influencer’s image. Marketing doesn’t work when it’s forced and salesy. In general I believe this is a positive development that helps both brands and content creators figure out what they stand for and who they are for.
Do you take your own photos and would you recommend getting a photographer to other influencers?
I’m very lucky to have a professional photographer for a partner. I have much respect for the creators that manage to take their own photos but I imagine it comes with a lot of back-and-forth adjusting to get it just right. In our experience, having this shared passion has been a lovely way of spending time together too, and it prevents this whole process of creating content from feeling isolating. So I would definitely recommend getting a photographer - if possible somebody that’s close to you and you like spending time with. Because sometimes it can take a while. It’ll just be more fun when there’s somebody that you can talk “all things Insta” with to your heart’s content.