With Love, Rachael started out as a passion project idea that I’ve wanted to pursue for quite some time now. However, I felt that I never had the time or resources to start making this dream a reality. When it came time to start brainstorming some ideas for my senior project, this immediately came to mind. Naturally, my instinct told me to run with it, and I did.
The main goal of With Love, Rachael is to promote plus-size normalcy and help break down the stereotypes around mental health. As a plus-size person, this brand is very special to me. I struggle to find influencers and celebrities that I can actually relate to in more ways than just size. I figured that maybe I could become that person to someone else someday. With so much comparison on social media, I wanted to create a sort of virtual “safe space” where people could find uplifting, relatable content.
This project started out with some really big goals. Initially, my goal was to gain 25 followers organically (meaning without advertisements) on each channel and use social media advertising to gain 100 more per channel. I wanted to produce and publish a new YouTube video every week, post daily on each social channel, post two blog posts a week, and maybe even become a micro-influencer in plus-size fashion and mental health. Clearly, I underestimated how much work these goals would actually be! In the end, I had to drop one of my social channels, Twitter, and decided to spend time creating quality content on my other platforms rather than spend money promoting half-complete channels. In the end, I didn’t complete any goal fully, but still felt like this project was worth my time.
Totals (as of March 15, 2021):
Facebook: 11 “likers,” 17 followers
Instagram: 14 followers
TikTok: 63 followers
YouTube: 7 subscribers
Twitter: 1 follower
Blog: 1 subscriber
Throughout this project, I found that TikTok was the best platform to get views, but Instagram was the best platform to spread information. I also learned that being a brand manager and social media manager is a difficult task to do alone but is even harder being a full-time student. Due to time constraints, I had to quit my job to even have any extra time in my day at all. However, throughout the course of this project, I realized that I never found it tedious, and I never bored of it. I even had fun! It was so amazing and freeing to be able to create content with no guidelines or due dates, and to create it with a specific audience in mind that I got to choose. Spending the past four years with preset audiences and content themes forced us to be creative, and now that those restrictions are gone, there is so much more content to create and audiences to engage with!
The top three takeaways I had from this project were:
1. Quality over quantity
2. Consistency is key
3. Post for you audience, not for yourself
With Love, Rachael has taught me a lot about myself as a content creator, where my skills lie, and where I need to improve. As you look at the graph in my hours, you’ll notice that I spent almost half of my time working on my YouTube videos. I knew what I had in mind when I started filming, but the editing process was more time-consuming than I expected. I used my Nikon D3500 to film and I edited in Adobe Premiere Rush. Videography has never been my strong suit, but what better opportunity to increase my skills than my senior project?! I feel that my skills improved with each video, and editing time decreased significantly since the first video. When it came time to film for this presentation, I felt prepared, and editing didn’t take as long as I thought it would. Yay for breaking through the amateur-ness! As for my other content, I discovered that I love being a dork and really bringing out my personality while also allowing myself to be vulnerable with my audience and talk about topics that are typically “taboo” in social media. I’ve been open about my mental health and personal struggles with self-acceptance, and I feel that a lot of people can relate to that, too. It’s all about getting it in front of the right set of eyes! While I posted content at a consistent rate, it wasn’t consistent enough to reach as many people as I had hoped.
Overall, I had a great time completing this project and can’t wait to keep it going. I know that it has positively impacted my life, and I hope that it positively impacts the lives of my followers as well.
If I were to give advice to any COMM majors out there, it would be to utilize your mentors and professors throughout your time at BYU-I. They are here to help you succeed! To my upcoming seniors, be thinking about your project long before you sign up for the practicum and start your project as soon as you can! The weeks fly by fast, so constantly and consistently work on your project and make it the best it can be. It is one of the most critical things you will do during your college experience, so make it outstanding!
With love, Rachael