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A Little About Kirsten Robinson @HashtagRanchLife
Kirsten Robinson is a western content creator and first generation cattle rancher currently living in central Montana with her Fiancé Logan. Together they manage a beef cattle operation also owned by first generation ranchers.
Kirsten and Logan have been together for almost 5 years and have lived in many different states together. They met in Colorado after Kirsten graduated from college and they both took a job at the same working / guest ranch. The pair jumped around for a little while before taking different jobs outside of the ranching industry. Eventually though, their hearts brought them back to where they are today.
While being first generation ranchers can be new and exciting, it also brings a lot of challenges as well. In this interview with Kirsten we sat down and talked about the lessons she has learned both in ranching but also as a social media influencer in the western industry.
Tips For First Generation Ranchers
A lot of people do not realize what actually goes into being first generation ranchers. As my husband and I ourselves are chasing that dream, we hear a lot of misconceptions. People think that when we say we want to be ranchers, we just want a couple of acres and a couple of cows.
When in reality, what we are really looking for is hundreds of acres to run a few hundred head of cows. Sure, everyone starts somewhere and we would be grateful for anything, but the big dream is to make ranching our full time income.
Kirsten says that she was able to gain a lot of experience in the industry by working on guest ranches and working ranches learning the basics of a cattle operation. She got hands on experience with branding, and learning the terminology of a working ranch.
Ultimately Kirsten and Logan landed a couples managing position for a ranch. She says that she has really enjoyed this job because it’s something the duo gets to do together. This kind of position is also unique because you live where you work which can present a lot of challenges but also can be really special for a young couple to work together.
One of the challenges Kirsten has faced though, is not being able to turn off her work brain after the days work is done. Meaning, when you live where you work it can be hard to have a separation of personal life and work life. A way she has found to combat this is finding other outlets for herself, which is where her social media has come into play.
Learning Something New
Kirsten says that a big learning curve for her as she entered into ranching was having to figure out this new trade. She explains that she doesn’t enjoy not being good at something. So she really battled with the fact that she didn’t completely know what she was doing in the beginning.
We discussed the idea of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and humbling yourself to know that things take time to learn.
Getting experience within the industry is huge if you want to land a job. Because just like anything else, employers are going to be looking for experienced people to work for them. Kirsten took smaller jobs to gain experience and also did things like online courses, research and more on her own time to educate herself further. Also finding other people in the industry that are willing to share information with you can be really helpful too.
Breaking down Kirsten’s top 2 biggest pieces of advice would be:
- Really immersing yourself in the industry. Joining organizations. Reading magazines, books, listening to podcasts, etc.
- Find someone who is willing to teach you. The ranching industry has a lot of gatekeepers, and that’s ok. Everyone has a different approach to how they do things. But find someone who has their gates wide open and is willing to tell you their “secrets”.
How Kirsten Incorporated Social Media Into Her Lifestyle
When Kirsten lived in Kansas, she was working more of an office job. She would go home most days feeling like something was missing. Needing fulfillment, but not sure what direction to go, she decided to start sharing her life and amazing photos from her past experiences on social media. She lived in a place that she describes as really “dreamy” and it inspired her to begin her content creation journey.
Kirsten would share where they lived, photos of the ranch they worked on, and her experiences. One of her slogans is “Ranching may not be in my blood, but it’s in my heart”. A key phrase that I think a lot of people can probably resonate with.
Just like she did with ranching, Kirsten really immersed herself in the whole culture of social media and content creation. She hired a photographer and had a photoshoot on the property she lived on and received a really good response from those photos. From there she did her best to engage with others on social media and create connections. Reaching out to other influencers and creators that she looked up to helped a lot as well.
One thing that Kirsten notes is that when you move around a lot, it can be hard to maintain in person relationships and friendships. So she really clung to her friends she was making online and focused heavily on committing time to those people.
How Kirsten Was Able To Grow So Quickly On Instagram
Kirsten really tried to focus in on her niche and her intentions for her page from the beginning. Her foundation was based on the fact that she is a woman, her ranching goals, and that you do not have to be born into something to do it.
For a while Kirsten had a job writing articles for Cowgirl magazine. She says she used this job as a way to honor friends and small businesses on social media that she started getting to know. If she would follow someone and loved what they provided she would write an article about it. Cowgirl Magazine was a big force in content creation and dipping her feet into the industry.
Kirsten says when she wanted to work with a particular brand, instead of waiting for them to reach out to her, she would reach out to them. She would ask them what they are needing right now, how she could help them get there. And that really opened a lot of doors for her too with brand deals. Kirsten was able to work with large brands including Wrangler.
Another approach Kirsten took was with Instagram Reels. As they first made their appearance on Instagram, Kirsten knew she needed to make a strategy for making Reels. She was able to grow from 15 to 25 thousand followers by consistently creating and posting content.
Tips For Planning Out Content + Media Kits
Most of Kirsten’s collaborations come from her reaching out to them not the other way around. She will message them after she already has a good idea of what the brand is all about. You can do this by either being a customer of them or just by following them for a while.
She will have a shoot already panned out and let the brand know all of the details of the shoot. Everything from the date, to the photographer to the vibe, and so on. This opens the door for her to name her price and offer what she can give them and they can choose to accept or decline. OR she may even just ask the brand what they are needing right now. Whether that be publicity or content.
Another really important thing that any creator should have is a solid media kit. A media kit is just something you are able to send to brands that shows your engagement stats, and who your audience demographic is. A brand who’s ideal client is 40 year old men is not going to want to work with someone whose audience is primarily 20 year old girls.
Media kits are really important as brand owners to make sure they are working with companies that truly align with what they represent and via versa.
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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