By Shelsea Leyva
Following is a video where I briefly describe my project. Feel free to watch it as an introduction.
A few years ago I was a girl that left her home in Mexico to come and pursue my dreams at BYU-Idaho. When I first got here I did not know anything about the university nor the city. I did not have anyone here to help me find my apartment, my classes, or the cafeteria. It was not impossible but it definitely was a difficult process. I had been through that and I know how hard it can be. So, the main purpose of my project is to help new international students by explaining how things work here, giving them advice, and telling them what to expect when they get here.
- Help prospective international students to learn how to apply to be a part of BYU-Idaho
- Inform current students of activities on campus and in Rexburg
- Create awareness of the resources that the university has for International Students
I created and managed a TikTok account specially dedicated to International Students.
The screenshot above is how my account looks at the moment. I made content of different things to keep my account diverse but also to see what worked best for my audience.
Some days I vlogged my day to show my audience how a typical day at BYU-I would look like.
For these kind of videos I chose days when I had presentations, work, or some other activity. I realized that these videos had great interaction because people like to see how things work in different places.
For some other videos I just answered some of the questions my followers asked me regarding the university or how to apply.
These kind of videos were some with the most views and engagement.
However the videos that helped me the most in the matter of gaining subscribers were the ones attending different activities.
I do not feel like I faced a lot of challenges. However, I can say that it was difficult sometimes for me to find things to record and post. Some days there were a lot of activities on campus and there some other days there were not a lot of things to do so I had to be more creative on those days to find things to post.
The biggest challenge was definitely to post daily. Usually, for me to record, edit and post took at least 2 days but after a few weeks I decided that if I wanted to grow the account I would need to post more often. It was hard and I definitely was not able to post every day most weeks but I did see an improvement when I did it.
The process was simple since I had a concrete goal established. At the beginning of the experience I had a meeting with my mentor and we went through my purpose and objectives and made a plan of what I wanted to achieve in the next few weeks. We came up with some ideas of videos I could record and the best days to post them. When I started I already had an idea of what I wanted to do so it was easier to put it into practice.
After a month I had metrics that helped me analyze my audience and determine what days and time were better to post content for them to see. I also started to see their behavior and the things they liked the most so I focused on recording more of that.
By the end, I knew better how to get to them, which hashtags worked the best with my videos and the days and time they were more active on the platform. I gained more followers than I was expecting and I had the opportunity to connect with them rather than just having them watch my videos.
I had fun experiences when going to the different activities the university offered because I experimented new things that otherwise I might had never done before. Also, I had the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and do something that I had always wanted to do but was not brave enough to do. I met wonderful people while recoding and that allowed me to get better videos and information about certain resources that the university offers that I was not aware of.
I enjoyed recording videos and helping other people to feel more comfortable even if they did not know anything about the university or the processes to come here. I definitely developed my creativity and my skills to record and edit. Those are valuable skills for me but my favorite one is that I developed greater interpersonal skills. Now I can say that I am a better public speaker than I was because I got out of my comfort zone and got rid of my shyness and fear of what others could say about me.