The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Fame at Vandy: @kekoamac

An expert in everything from fitness to followers, Kekoa MacAuley (‘21) has over 132 thousand followers on his Instagram and uses what he has learned about branding to help others grow their fanbase.
Emery Little

At Vanderbilt, everything can seem like a numbers game. Whether its points on a linear algebra exam or how many Spanish words we can rattle off for a vocab quiz, it’s easy to get wrapped up in random percentages. But for some, there is yet another number to worry about: likes. Kekoa MacAuley has dedicated himself to perfecting the Instagram algorithm, amassing over 132 thousand followers since he started his page just last July. 

Hailing from Austin, TX, MacAuley is a junior studying HOD in Peabody. He played competitive baseball for 13 years, and it was during his freshman year of high school that he discovered his passion for health, fitness and nutrition. It was through exploring these interests that MacAuley began making YouTube videos and channels in high school. Later, his Instagram page, @kekoamac, was born. 

“I wanted to create a page to help inspire people and motivate people to get into fitness and working out,” MacAuley said. 

MacAuley was able to grow such a fast and immediate following on his Instagram page because he had already tested out some of the leading growth methods on his YouTube accounts. He was a self-taught expert on social media growth and knew how to attract attention to his page. As a way to turn his talent into a side business, MacAuley helped other social media influencers grow their own pages too.


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nothing else like a great cappuccino in the morning☕️! I’m so happy to celebrate the opening of @danielwellington ’s new retail store in Austin, Texas and the launch of their new Iconic Link watch?. They graciously flew me and @zahra.biabani_ out to check out the brand new store in the domain, try on the new watches, and interact with other like-minded individuals in the space?. Tomorrow will be a tour around the city and then we will sadly be going back to nash ?. Also – side note: I’m really really enjoying taking more lifestyle and fashion shots so this page will slowly be transitioning to more of that, rather than fitness! I still will be posting videos in the gym here and there for some motivation and tips, but my feed is gonna see some changes✔️! Thanks for supporting me as always and have a great day y’all:) – #danielwellington #ad #daywithDW #DWinAustin

A post shared by Fitness | Lifestyle | Modeling (@kekoamac) on

“I started looking into growth tactics that I could use to develop my profile. I realized a lot of other people aren’t sure how to do this, so I figured I’d use myself as a case study and organically grow my own page,” he said. “I thought that I would try to pump as much traffic to my page as possible, so I can help others with Instagram growth and teach them how to become influencers themselves.”

Over the past year, MacAuley has worked to develop his overall brand as a social media influencer, as opposed to amassing a single-platform fanbase. He has begun to transition his page from messages about health and fitness to a broader scope of all things lifestyle. 

“Three or four months into it, I got less into the workout side of things and more into social media growth, social media management and modeling,” MacAuley said. “I can make more money from brand sponsorships, and it’s more creative. Fitness still plays a large role in my life, but right now I’ve transitioned my page to be something I’d consider more like fashion and lifestyle.” 

MacAuley does not see graduation as the end of his Instagram presence. He says that he never pictured himself with a “normal job”, and seeing the growth of his accounts has confirmed for MacAuley that the social media field could be a viable career path. Down the road, he sees himself launching a larger, overhead media agency that would manage both his own accounts and others’.  

MacAuley has experienced both the pros and cons of how social media can impact others and yourself. However, he really considers social media as a unique way to connect with thousands of people. He often chats with influencers online, sometimes even getting the chance to meet them in person. After reaching out to another influencer about a year ago, the two met up this past summer in Florida. 

“It was so cool, and without social media, that wouldn’t have been possible. There are ups and downs, but social media has presented a lot of opportunities for me, so I’m thankful for it.” 

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About the Contributors
Alexa Madsen
Alexa Madsen, Former Staff Writer
Alexa Madsen ('22) studies economics and computer science in the College of Arts and Science. You can reach her at [email protected].
Emery Little
Emery Little, Former Social Media Director
Emery Little (‘22) is from Birmingham, AL. She majored in communication of science and technology and Spanish. In her free time, she loves to design graphics, follow tech news and run her photography business. She can be reached at [email protected].

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