Behind the grid
As social media continues to grow at a rapid pace, we take an exclusive look behind the accounts of some of the region’s most influential Instagrammers.

As social media continues to grow at a rapid pace, we take an exclusive look behind the accounts of some of the region’s most influential Instagrammers.

Steph Robinson, otherwise known by her 128,000 followers as Geordie Hiker, started her hiking journey just before the pandemic hit. At the time she was living and working in Cumbria, surrounded by the beautiful countryside and the Lakeland Wainwrights, which she started to explore and post on social media.

People can expect to find all things outdoor related on my account; from hiking and camping to paddle boarding in the summer months. I like to give my followers inspiration of places to visit, whether that’s local in Northumberland and the Lakes, or further afield on my travels abroad. I’d say my content is quite positive and motivational and I guess it naturally developed this way as I find giving your audience a reason to follow you with informative and educational content helps to grow your social platform.

I remember originally only posting pictures but since reels and short form video have taken over there’s a lot more thought that goes into my content; whether that’s scrolling to find a trending song to create a reel with or thinking of a hook and caption that will engage my following and new audiences. My content is definitely quality over quantity.

Since starting my Instagram account I’ve been given lots of opportunities and there have been some fantastic highlights, however my peak was meeting my fiancé through Instagram. We both have hiking pages and were invited to a store opening event at Team Valley, and let’s just say the rest is history. I love connecting with likeminded people and having the privilege of working with some epic brands and visiting new countries through my account.

It’s hard to pick a specific spot where I love to hike most, but Lake District will always be special to me, and I’m always drawn back there when I’m in need of a big hiking day out.  However, I recently moved to Northumberland so I’ve spent the last couple of months exploring the National Park – can you believe it’s one of the least visited in the country? There are so many hidden gems here and I’ve only scratched the surface, and the Northumberland coastline can’t be beaten.


Wife and mum of two, Jules Williams lives in North Shields and is in her third year of business as a wedding, family, and lifestyle photographer. She started her Instagram page (which has accumulated 54,000 followers) back in 2011 after she downloaded the app by mistake.

I thought it was simply an app to add retro filters to your photos and over the years my account has taken on many different forms – from somewhere I posted iPhone snaps of landscapes and the place I documented motherhood to working with brands and doing content creation. Now my account is the main space for my photography business. 

I share my work on both a professional and personal level, so you’ll see client shoots in one post and then what I’ve been up to over the weekend with my family in another. Many of my followers followed my account before I was a photographer, so I like to keep that personal aspect of myself in there too. Hopefully the main consistency is storytelling photography and I do love to photograph our beautiful coastline.

Trends change all the time in photography and while I enjoy seeing them and trying some of them out for fun, I don’t follow them. I am however always learning and investing in photography education and equipment.

In terms of weddings, it’s interesting to see that content creators are becoming a popular addition, where a couple will hire a creator to take content on the day that is shareable on social media for the likes of Instagram reels and TikTok as an addition to a photographer and a videographer, rather than in place of. I think it’s great – creators bring something different as a wedding supplier and I can appreciate why a couple would want that fun, instant content.

As for family photography I believe it’s something that is getting more popular and more and more people appreciate the value in having professional photos. Often once a family have had a session they will book in again in the future and carry on that tradition and documentation.

Photography is my job, but I’d still be posting photos that I take even if it was simply a hobby. It’s my passion and I love to share that. It’ll never not be an honour that people ask me to capture their most precious moments. I also love it because I know how important photographs are, and in some cases, they can be all you have left to tie you to a memory, a person, or a place. My own childhood photos (and my adulthood photos) are everything to me.

I’ve also met some of my best friends in the world on Instagram, friends who are now part of my real life and that I travel with and spend time. The best thing about starting my Instagram journey has been making those special connections.


Steph Fox set up her blog in 2016, when she was starting her career as a social media executive for DFDS, to help her learn more about wider digital marketing, content and blogging. She also wanted to share her photos and experiences as her job involved a lot of travel.

My Instagram account is still the very first account I ever created and although it’s grown, I really try to post the things I’m genuinely doing every day. It was very travel focused at first because of all the things I was doing with work, but I did naturally share local North East places to go and experiences too. It obviously became much more focused on the North East when we couldn’t travel during the pandemic, and I love sharing all things Newcastle and life at the coast. 

I now share a balance of life in the North East, especially Newcastle and the North Tyneside coast where I live, alongside UK dog-friendly adventures to my favourite places Northumberland and the Lake District, plus my wider travels.

I work full-time in social media and my blog and Instagram were always just on the side, because I genuinely like to do it and they are creative outlets that have helped me learn a lot for work.

My content now is definitely more video focused, thanks to reels, which took some getting used to as I always loved still photos, but I am embracing video and enjoying it. For my blog it’s changed from sharing personal posts and experiences to answering what people ask me in my DMs in more detail. Across the board, I’m a creature of habit and I always go for the same types of restaurants, hotels, things to do and places to go. People tend to know what sort of thing I’m going to share. I definitely try to focus a lot more on local experiences and businesses, as Whitley Bay and Tynemouth especially have really developed with some fabulous brands and food spots. Plus, anything dog-friendly as that’s such a huge thing now and it’s one of the first things I’m always asked. 

There’s been a lot of highlights since starting my account, but they are so often what people don’t see, such as the DMs I get when people have gone somewhere they’ve seen on my page and had a lovely time. Travel wise, a highlight would be my trip to Rome last year, or some unique stays I’ve been able to experience, like Rest at the Nest, Chester’s Stables and anywhere in Northumberland or the Lakes as it’s what I’d naturally choose to do anyway. 

Finding the beauty in the seemingly ordinary moments, Beth Watson-Wilkes showcases the North Easy in her carefully curated Instagram content. Romanticising being from the North East is Beth’s niche and she started her account after returning to the region following a semester of study in New York.

My camera roll was already leaking at the seams with bridge photos and my favourite Sunday morning coffee spots, so combining my creative writing degree with my adoration for life, I posted my first picture in April 2022. Since then, Nooks has almost 21,000 followers, has been liked, commented on, shared, and meant something to people all over the world. I’ve never cared about numbers, however, if it means one more person is waking up grateful to be Northern, I’ll take it.

Anyone who stumbles upon my account can expect to find every little inch of our canny little Northern corner. From restaurants and bars, local street artists and events to match days, accommodation and sunrises. Two things you can always count on me for is championing small, local businesses until I’m blue in the face, and my daily ‘morninggggg’ stories from different parts of Newcastle, as an everyday reminder it’s time to get up and love living life.

My ‘Humans being Humans’ reels I struggle to talk about without sobbing because I realised I was accidentally, yet naturally, capturing what I loved most about life – ordinary strangers doing ordinary things – so decided to do more of that, put them all together in a handful of videos and now they have more than 1.4M collective views. This is my absolute favourite kind of content to make and post on my page, because humanity isn’t just a Northern thing, but to see life being lived in the place where you grew up, live, work or study, is something pretty special.

My content has and equally has not evolved since starting my page. I’ve met hundreds of new people, forged relationships with local business owners who I now consider friends, and I’ve most definitely had the opportunity to delve deeper into the inner workings of the city I live in. However, its purpose is still the same, my overly sarcastic, Northern-lingo-littered, borderline inappropriate creative captions are still the same, and I’m still the same Beth who wants people to know they mean as much to Newcastle as it does to them.

Posted 17th April 2024

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