In a world that thrives on versatility and digital innovation, some individuals defy convention and embrace a multifaceted approach to their careers. Kenzie Hitz, a seasoned digital marketing strategist and influencer extraordinaire, stands as a prime example of this new breed of professionals.
With a remarkable 10-year career in marketing and a knack for forging authentic collaborations, Kenzie’s story unveils the power of strategic career choices and the art of mastering the social media landscape as a creator.
Kenzie Hitz: A Micro-influencer And Seasoned Marketer’s Dual Perspective On The Evolving Social Media Landscape
The Unconventional Path to Digital Stardom
Kenzie’s journey into the world of social media started in an unexpected fashion, as often the best stories do. “I got into social media on accident,” Kenzie chuckles, recalling the beginnings of her digital odyssey.
Initially, her personal Instagram account chronicled the typical experiences of a high school student – friends, family, and the occasional cup of coffee. However, the turning point came during a vacation in St. Martin, where a chance encounter with a professional photographer sparked a serendipitous transformation.
While on the picturesque Airplane Beach in St. Martin, a professional aviation photographer offered to capture a photo for Kenzie and her friend. This encounter was the catalyst that ignited her journey into the world of influencer marketing. As the photographer posted the pictures he took, Kenzie’s followers burgeoned, and a newfound intrigue in the art of curating images and mastering the nuances of social media strategy took hold.
“I did a little bit of research, as a curious 16-year-old does, and realized that influencing seemed fun,” Kenzie reminisces about her early days in the field. As influencer marketing was still in its nascent stages around 2013, Kenzie recognized a unique niche that held endless potential.
“I grew the account to around 12,000 followers. It was like my sandbox where I could learn what works and what doesn’t and keep up with the algorithms and the hashtags. I would later translate that knowledge to working with clients.”
Her knack for visual storytelling and understanding the pulse of the Instagram community set her on a trajectory that would intertwine seamlessly with her blossoming career in digital marketing.
From Mechanical Engineering to Digital Marketing
Surprisingly, Kenzie’s academic pursuits followed an entirely different path – mechanical engineering. This might seem like a leap from the digital world, but life’s winding roads often lead to the most unexpected destinations.
“During university, I freelanced on the side doing a little bit of web design,” Kenzie reveals, shedding light on her early venture into the world of programming and design. This exposure to the digital realm not only added a new skill to her repertoire but also laid the foundation for her transition into digital marketing.
A curiosity for social media led her to embrace roles that expanded beyond traditional boundaries her pivotal moment arrived when her freelance clients inquired, “Do you do social media?” seizing an opportunity with all the audacity of an 18-year-old possessing 5,000 Instagram followers.
This leap of faith marked the true genesis of Kenzie’s marketing career. Armed with an arsenal of programming skills and a deepening curiosity for social media’s evolving landscape, she delved into the intricacies of the industry. “Seeing as my clients kept asking I began freelancing on the side doing competitive industry research for social media marketing,” Kenzie explains, recounting the transition that would eventually shape her future.
The culmination of these experiences and her innate aptitude for understanding digital trends led Kenzie to her role as a social media strategist at GMR Marketing. With an impressive 10-year career track record of contributing to the success of influencer campaigns, Kenzie emerged as an industry expert.
“My experience is on both sides. I’ve worked as an influencer in many campaigns and many verticals, and I’ve worked as the marketer who has managed influencer campaigns and done everything on the backend as well.”
Her keen insight into the ever-evolving landscape of social media, combined with her strategic thinking, positioned her as the go-to person for crafting impactful influencer partnerships.
Authentic Collaborations: The Key to Long-Term Success
As Kenzie’s journey evolved, her focus shifted from accidental influencer status to building meaningful, authentic collaborations. The essence of her influencer strategy lies in partnering with brands that resonate with her values and interests. “I’ve dropped partnerships because I tried their product and it didn’t work for me,” Kenzie asserts, highlighting her commitment to maintaining authenticity.
In an era when credibility is paramount, Kenzie’s dedication to delivering honest feedback to her audience stands as a testament to her integrity.
Kenzie’s collaborations with brands like Liquid IV and Tula Skincare exemplify her commitment to nurturing enduring relationships. She explains, “Those have become staples in my home,” underscoring her role as a brand advocate. These long-term partnerships aren’t just transactional; they are founded on mutual trust and shared values. Kenzie’s collaborations go beyond a single post – they are part of her lifestyle, an authentic extension of her personal brand.
“I think the biggest thing with Instagram is staying authentic and doing what you love,” Kenzie advises. This sentiment encapsulates her entire journey – authenticity as the driving force behind her success. Amid the ever-evolving algorithms and trends, Kenzie remains steadfast in her commitment to genuine interactions. “The algorithm changes so much that you can’t base your happiness or your engagement off of that,” she reveals, reinforcing the idea that authentic engagement and content creation should take precedence over chasing fleeting metrics.
Curating Literary Escapes: Kenzie’s Book Reviewing Instagram
Beyond the realm of marketing and influencer collaborations, Kenzie’s journey takes an exciting detour into the world of literature through her book-reviewing Instagram account. A self-proclaimed bibliophile, Kenzie’s love for books and reading finds expression in her dedicated platform where she shares insightful reviews, personal reflections, and literary recommendations.
“I started my bookstagram in 2016,” Kenzie reveals with a gleam in her eyes. The inception of her book-reviewing Instagram account was a natural extension of her passion for reading and her knack for engaging content creation.
Kenzie’s bookstagram isn’t just about reviewing the latest bestsellers; it’s a portal into her literary journey, spanning genres and eras. “I read a little bit of everything. I read a lot of non-fiction. I read a lot of fantasy,” Kenzie shares. Her eclectic taste mirrors her multifaceted career, emphasizing that passion knows no boundaries.
Through her bookstagram, Kenzie creates a space for meaningful conversations about literature, encouraging her followers to dive into new worlds and perspectives between the pages of a book.
And that’s not all! As a bookbinding enthusiast, Kenzie combines her love for literature and design to create exquisite hand-bound books that are truly one-of-a-kind. “I actually do hand-bound books and it’s another creative outlet for me,” Kenzie explains, shedding light on her passion project.
“I started binding because I was interested in a couple of different fanfictions that were pretty widely known and I wanted some on my shelf, but it’s illegal for anybody to profit off of fan fiction. It’s a really weird legal gray area, there’s copyright infringement and Intellectual property, so people can get in trouble. But, I wanted to be able to make books for myself, just for my personal collection to put on my shelf like a trophy.”
Luxe Bindery, founded by Kenzie, is more than a mere business endeavor; it’s a labor of love that bridges the gap between literature and craftsmanship. Each hand-bound book is a testament to Kenzie’s attention to detail, creativity, and dedication to preserving the art of bookbinding. “It’s very intricate and detailed. I use a lot of leather and waxed thread,” she elaborates, showcasing the meticulous effort that goes into every piece.
Looking ahead, Kenzie envisions expanding Luxe Bindery’s offerings to include custom-designed book covers and personalized literary treasures. “I’m hoping to do a lot more custom book covers,” she reveals, painting a vivid picture of her aspirations. Through Luxe Bindery, Kenzie aims to create not just books, but cherished keepsakes that encapsulate stories and memories, transcending the digital age, “I would love to eventually create a custom-bound special edition book subscription box.”
Kenzie’s Perspective On The Evolving Social Media Landscape
In the rapidly evolving realm of digital communication, Kenzie, a seasoned content creator, and revered social media enthusiast, imparts profound wisdom regarding the metamorphosis of social media landscapes, their potential trajectories, and the adept maneuvering required by creators and brands to navigate this terrain.
- The Pandemic Paradigm Shift: Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
Kenzie acknowledges the profound repercussions of the global pandemic-induced lockdowns on both enterprises and individuals. As circumstances took an unprecedented turn, the influencer and affiliate marketing space found itself undergoing a strategic renaissance. The confinement of individuals to their homes prompted a reevaluation of existing business paradigms. E-commerce, once a secondary factor, claimed the center stage as brick-and-mortar establishments shuttered, creating an online shopping renaissance.
“So I think that the lockdown and subsequent stay-at-home order was the best thing that could have happened to the influencer and affiliate marketing industry, which is horrible because it was a terrible thing to have happened, but so many companies and influencers were able to take that time to think, how is my business sustainable if people are not coming into stores? And how is e-commerce going to work for me? And I think that that type of forced strategic thinking springboarded the influencer marketing ROI essentially because it was really easy for influencers to create from their home and direct people to websites where it could be really easily tracked.”
“Influencers were able to start making more money off of that affiliate marketing because those clicks were tracked so easily,” Kenzie explains, attributing the upswing in influencer marketing’s viability to the streamlined tracking of clicks and conversions stemming from influencer-generated content to e-commerce platforms. This newfound synergy fostered a more transparent and accountable influencer marketing space.
Moreover, the lockdown spurred a literary renaissance as individuals sought comfort within the confines of their homes. This gave birth to trends such as #Bookstagram and #BookTalk, harnessing the potency of social media to foster connection among book enthusiasts.
“I think it also really blew up the reading world specifically because people were at home and they were asking themselves – what the heck do I do now? I’m typically out at the park, or I’m at the gym, or I’m out at the bar with my friends and I need, and I need something that’s just not staring at the four walls of my apartment. – And so lots of people got into reading which later paved the way for the emergence of BookTok. Bookstagram has always kind of been there in the background, but then all these people took to TikTok, which had just blown up, as their platform of choice to try to connect human to human with other people who are in the same boat.”
- Emergence of Novel Platforms and Augmented Audience Engagement
Kenzie went on to share that she’s excited about the future possibilities and emergence of nascent social media platforms such as Lemon8 and Threads, vying to etch their identity in the collective consciousness. However, she underscores that, despite the allure of innovation, the prevailing social media giants such as Meta continue their dominion thanks to their well-entrenched user bases.
“Maximize your presence where your audience is spending their time,” Kenzie says, recognizing the constraints creators face. She highlights that most users engage on a select two to three platforms at most each day. This same factor holds as true for creators as it does for brands, meaning that accurate platform targeting forms the crux of effective audience interaction.
- The Allure of Niche Content
Kenzie champions the potency of niche content as a cornerstone in cultivating a loyal following. She advises anyone starting their content journey to focus on a specific niche that resonates personally, and subsequently, expand at a later date from this nucleus. The benefit of this approach lies in the establishment of a vibrant community of followers who share the same interests. “Start extremely niche and then branch out as you grow,” Kenzie states, laying bare the importance of nurturing a devoted audience before venturing into content diversification.
“I’d say, and this is gonna sound really cliche, but find your niche and then expand. You can’t focus on large accounts that create aesthetic videos of all sorts of different things and get tons of engagement. They didn’t start like that. No account blows up, I won’t say none, but very few accounts will blow up from not having a niche. So my biggest piece of advice is to start with a niche, build your community, and then expand your content topics from there.”
- Authenticity Amplified Through Video Content
According to Kenzie video content has entrenched itself as a linchpin of contemporary social media, granting creators the ability to forge a sincere connection with their audience.
“I do think the video content is king. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t even necessarily mean talking to the camera. I think that the video content where you’re holding the camera and it’s facing away from you and people are seeing what you’re seeing, creating these beautiful visuals, is just as effective. For example: here’s me shopping at my local Target, here’s what I bought and here’s what I didn’t, here’s my grocery haul and here’s what I’m gonna, here’s all the ingredients that I bought to make this meal. People don’t have to film themselves in this type of content, so if creators are shy or don’t necessarily feel comfortable in front of the camera then there are other options”
In a statement about the diversity of creators, Kenzie acknowledges that not every individual must grace the screen. Video content, she articulates, sprawls beyond this. The key point rests in incorporating the human element, be it through peeks into the realms of production, or slices of everyday life.
For the reasons mentioned above, User-Generated Content (UGC) emerges as a powerful ally, ushering authenticity to the forefront. The audience’s affinity for real people over polished facades is noticeable.
“Thats why UGC has become so popular. It’s not just product images, it’s people interacting with products. It’s hands holding the product. It’s the product being worn on a normal body. It’s you smiling at the product and holding it up. It’s not just a bottle in front of a backdrop, it’s someone cherishing this product. And I think that’s what makes UGC so powerful – the human interaction with the product and brand.”
- Platform Trajectories and Glimpses of the Future
Kenzie reflects upon the prevailing shift in platform favorability. TikTok and Instagram, tailored to distinct content niches, have successfully engaged audiences, whereas others have failed in their endeavors.
Threads and Lemon8, while displaying aspirations of integrating the best attributes of established platforms, have been met with post-launch marketing pitfalls.
As creators and brands strive to navigate the ceaselessly morphing social media realm, Kenzie’s wisdom resonates with the imperative to remain adaptable and agile in the face of evolving audience predilections. Her insights underscore the paramountcy of authenticity, astute platform selection, and engagement.
Looking Ahead and Embracing Creativity
As the interview came to a close, Kenzie graciously delved into her upcoming projects and thoughts about her creative journey. She revealed that she’s been dedicating time to creating content to determine her engagement with Lemon8, a relatively new social platform that piqued her interest.
She described her approach of experimenting with various content types, saying, “I’ve been spending a lot of time creating content to see if I want to spend more time on Lemon8. So I will be batching content for books and putting up more of my visual reviews and pictures rather than videos in September. Then I’m going to test cross-posting to Instagram and seeing how people respond to that kind of content.”
Kenzie’s journey through various platforms has been marked by her passion for experimentation and creative curiosity. She elaborated on her motivation for venturing into different spaces, “I just have so much creative curiosity that fuels me and drives my interests.” This spirit of exploration has not only led to her thriving book community on TikTok but has also opened doors to new passions and connections.
A Message for Creators and Brands
In Kenzie’s view, the ever-changing landscape of influencer marketing requires both creators and brands to maintain an open mindset. She emphasizes the importance of avoiding complacency and continuously adapting to the evolving dynamics of the digital space. As she put it, “It’s just such an ever-changing marketplace that it’s fun to be in the tide of it.”
Furthermore, Kenzie’s advice for creators and brands resonates with the idea of finding enjoyment in the process. She encourages a lighthearted and experimental approach, reminding everyone that social media should be about more than just numbers and profit. “Social is fun,” she noted. Whether it’s a personal lifestyle account or a brand’s marketing strategy, injecting personality, humor, and authenticity can make a significant difference in engaging an audience.
The Takeaway: An Inspiring Journey
As the conversation drew to a close, it was evident that Kenzie’s journey was far from over. Her willingness to embrace new challenges and her dedication to creative exploration serve as an inspiration for both aspiring influencers and established brands navigating the ever-evolving world of social media.
Kenzie’s insights remind us that at the heart of successful influencer marketing lies the connection between creators and their audiences—a connection fueled by authenticity, experimentation, and a genuine passion for what they do. As she aptly puts it, “It doesn’t need to all just be about numbers and money and I think that’s the biggest thing for me.”