Social media comedian Trey Kennedy started his career on the fallen app Vine but has since moved on to achieve massive success on Instagram and Facebook. In total, Kennedy maintains over 2.3 million followers across social media platforms and continues to grow.
No matter the topic, Kennedy brings creativity, relatability, and humor to his online videos and skits. His online success has also made way for a music career, which includes a 2016 EP and a soon to be released music project. We sat down with Kennedy to discuss his career thus far, his strategies for incorporating branded messaging into his content and his thoughts about the forthcoming Vine 2.
1. How did you develop an interest in social media and the short video format in particular?
I stumbled into this social media madness back on Vine in 2013 (RIP). I was in college living with friends, and we got into making goofy Vines together for fun.
I perhaps got a little too into it, making Vine after Vine, and that summer I had a Vine go viral — “How to Wop and Clean.” It’s funny what catches fire on the internet. A month later I had 500k Vine followers and long story short, here we are today.
2. How has your profile evolved since you started on Instagram? Any specific turning points?
Around the time Vine was dying, I started attempting to transition to Facebook and Instagram. Initially, it was compilations of my best Vines, which enabled me to get started, and over the months it adapted to shooting full on 60-second sketches with a little more editing and effort behind it. It’s been fun exploring different ways to create content.
3. Over the years which has grown faster, your Facebook or Instagram? What factors have played into the increased growth of one over the other?
Initially, my Facebook grew quicker, where the content is more shareable and a video can go viral and a week later you’ve gained 100k followers. But my Instagram grew more steadily, and eventually passed my Facebook.
They’re comparable now, but I put a little more effort and focus on Instagram. I just really like that platform.
4. What drove you to start pursuing music professionally?
Through all of this, I discovered talents and gifts I really didn’t know I had. I grew up as a shy kid without a thought of doing any kind of entertaining. After the following came, I pursued making some original music as just another fun outlet to get creative and potentially make some opportunities. It’s been fun!
5. In what ways has social media played into your music career?
It’s motivating when you have a group of people who are interested in what you’re doing and creating. But I had to learn that these people are following me because they perceive me as funny and goofy, not as a musician. So I’ve focused on the more comedic content while creating the best music I possibly can on the side. There’s a percentage of my followers that do care and do support it, and that’s pretty cool.
6. What have you found most rewarding about working in social media? Most challenging?
I am so grateful for the people that support me. It can be easy when I’m doing this for a living to commoditize these people following me. “I need more likes. I need more followers, etc.” But I read most of the comments and messages and their encouragement reminds me why I’m doing this.
I have a lot of people watching what I’m doing, some even looking up to me; it’s a responsibility. And one I take seriously. And one that’s very rewarding, yet challenging.
Overall, I think I do a pretty good job of kind of re-centering when I feel myself getting too caught up in the numbers and remembering these are real people on the other side of the cell phone. But it’s something I’m constantly working on as well.
7. What two tips do you have for incorporating a brand’s messaging into your own content style?
First, only work with brands and campaigns that make sense on your channel.
Second, incorporate it seamlessly into content you would already create. Pretty simple but easier said than done. I think my audience gets that I’m doing this for a living and the branded work is how I pay the bills, and so as long as I’m keeping the content high-quality, in my style, with brands that I truly enjoy, they respect it and even enjoy it.
8. Lightning round:
Last thought before falling asleep last night?
Can’t wait to wear the new jacket I got tomorrow. #cute
If you were stranded on a deserted island what three items would you bring?
Boat, compass, map. #practical
Musician you’d most like to work with?
Justin Timberlake. He does it all.
Instagram or Snapchat Stories?
9. Many know you from your success on Vine, what do you think about Vine 2?
Oh man, I’ll believe it when I see it. I was such a fan of Vine, more so than a creator on it. I don’t know how I feel about returning to making six-second videos again, but I will surely be on it to see what happens!
10. Any upcoming projects or endeavors that your fans should get excited for?
Starting very soon, I’ll begin releasing my new music project. It’s a special one because it was funded by my supportive followers. Hopefully, I’ll make them proud. Other things in the works, but can’t speak too soon!
11. Anything else to add?
I’m single. Haha JK. But seriously.
In all seriousness, hit me up! @treynkennedy across socials. Probably my favorite part of what I do is how it enables me to meet and connect with so many people. Let’s be friends!