Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Hager.
Christina, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am the President of Ovations Digital, a boutique Social Media and Digital Strategy company located here in Kansas City.
However, I never set out to own my own business or to even work in social media and marketing.
I went to TCU and graduated with degrees in Vocal Performance and English. I then went to the University of Houston and got my Master’s in Vocal performance.
I was a paid Young Artist with the Shreveport Opera in Shreveport, Louisiana, for two years. During my time there, I toured children’s opera shows, taught classes, and performed and covered roles on the main stage.
For ten years, I had a successful career as an opera singer in NYC, singing around the United States. I even met my husband singing (at Opera New Jersey).
When the market dropped in 2010, almost 50 opera companies across the company closed. It was a hard time for everyone in the arts and business alike.
I went from singing full-time to being a “shop girl” working in a store at Rockefeller Center. I worked in an awesome store called Rain–handmade soaps, lotions, and body care products, all handmade in South Africa. They were a fair trade and job creation program in South Africa and very well known there (Think South Africa’s “Bath and Body Works!”
And now here they were–their first store in the United States, with no digital presence, and sitting on some of the most expensive real estate in all of NYC and the USA!
The manager quickly recognized my interest and tenacy and put me in charge of both product training for all new associations, as well as new product training for everyone in the store.
I also personally loved the products, and so I started posting about them on my social media. I had always used social media as a way to keep in contact friends, family and to promote my singing career. It seemed natural to post about these products, too.
Again, the store owner recognized that when I posted about the products, I would help get more people into the store. So, she put me in charge of their store social media.
Armed with only the knowledge of branding and marketing from years of marketing myself and my talents, I knew I could make a difference for the store I was working for.
I wish I was perfect and had this awesome social media strategy–but I didn’t. I made mistakes, but I was consistent. I learned to run targeted ads, ask bloggers to review our products and post consistency on our social media.
In three months, we saw an increase in sales of almost 29%!
I was hooked.
I went from having one client and working in a store in Rockefeller Center, where I learned social media “on my feet,” to meeting some great mentors and taking on more freelance clients.
I loved singing but I was beginning to start a family and knew I personally wouldn’t be able to have a successful singing career AND devote the time I wanted to my family. Plus, I was invested in social media and marketing.
So I ended up taking the head of social media position (that grew into head of marketing) for a startup app. Again, I didn’t know much–I learned on my feet about ads, creating content, influencers, blogs, email campaigns, etc. It was a real baptism by fire!
I stayed a year, then started working freelance for myself. Again, I had great mentors along the way–mostly women who guided me through the crazy career change and now, fast forward to now: I am the president of Ovations Digital, a successful social media agency in the Midwest.
In 2019, 2020, and 2021, I’ve been selected as a member of the Forbes Communications Council and write monthly articles on social media for Forbes.com, and I am often engaged to speak throughout the country on Social media.
I consult for individual projects in B2B and B2C industries including: health and wellness, executive and change advisory, beauty, skincare, business and career services, luxury goods, nonprofits, and the performing arts.
I now have a family and navigate the world of running my own business with having kids–my team is largely virtual, located in NYC, Chicago, and Germany.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Learning a new industry was fun, but not without its challenges. I made mistakes or worked with old information.
There were also people I trusted who ended up not being the best quality. Luckily, those people were few and far between.
There were times where I worked for clients who thought just because I was young and a freelancer, that it meant I didn’t have value–that they could call or text me all hours or expect me to turn around things without proper notice. Or spoke to me unkindly. These were the times I definitely wanted to quit. I was lucky that I had my family to lean on. My husband, my mentor, and my friends assured me that I was smart, had value, and even if I didn’t have as many years in the industry under my belt, I could learn everything I needed to as long as I believed in myself.
It sounds cheezey, but they were right.
As you know, we’re big fans of Ovations Digital. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We specialize in social media strategy.
A lot of social media companies (or even freelancers) specialize in content. And content is incredibly important! But we focus on creating strategies that align with REAL BUSINESS GOALS. That’s often missing.
So we help individuals, brands, and organizations of ALL sizes use social media STRATEGICALLY to reach their business goals.
There is no “one size fits all” approach. We meet you where you are at. If you have a huge marketing team, we can still work with you. If you have a one-person marketing team, we can help you.
We also do social media content distribution, execution, community management, influencer marketing, and content creation-both graphics, as well as blogs, etc.
Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
I love that Kansas City has everything to offer that a huge city like NYC does–culture, art, food, diversity, sports, etc. The only difference is that sometimes you have to look a little harder for it.
- Email: Christina@ovationsdigital.com
- Website: https://ovationsdigital.com/
- Instagram: @ovationsD @christinaMHager
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OvationsDigital
- Twitter: @ovationsD @christinaMHager
All professional headshots (purple dress) are Shani Hadjian