A lot of effort and a lot of planning. 

Behind the content, there are two young women with their cellphones ready to push Guelph-Humber’s name out there and beat the algorithm. So, can they get any likes, comments, shares or saves? 

Kathryn McGuire and Jordan Cutmore are the two Guelph-Humber students who work behind the camera, or better, behind their phones?

They manage UofGH’s socials; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. 

Their main purpose is to promote the University of Guelph-Humber in order to bring more students to join the institution they say, which ironically is also their most difficult task. 

“That is our main challenge, getting our name [Guelph-Humber’s] out there, especially to high school students,” says Kathryn. “I don’t even think my parents would know what exactly Guelph Humber University is,” she says jokingly. 

The girls have been working in this position for hoping to become social media managers in the future, yet both had different experiences during the process of getting this job. 

“I handed in my resume like any other job position,” said Jordan. McGuire’s experience was somewhat different, “I had to even participate in a contest for it,” she said. 

When explaining what kind of content they produce, they say that it all depends on the platform they are focused on. 

“The content depends on the platform, so we produce key messages mostly to Twitter and Facebook. And on Instagram more ‘photography-type’ posts,” says McGuire. “But this year we’ve been working on TikTok, and Instagram Live, which are more ‘video-like’ content.” 

Cutmore also says that the age range of their audience differentiate between these platforms. For Instagram, “we have like an audience that ranges from 15 to 20 and 25 to 35. As for Facebook, we know that more parents [of future students] are the demographic over there,” Cutmore says. 

“I don’t even think my parents would know what exactly Guelph-Humber is.”

In terms of time management of producing the content, they say, “it’s more about planning what we’re doing rather than the actual creation of the content. We have a lot of video content that we produce and we make sure we plan what we are posting,” said Cutmore. 

 “Yes, we make sure that we have enough content scheduled for Twitter and Facebook, and then content for Instagram. We know that videos, such as live interviews, get more attention from us in terms of planning, adds McGuire. “So, yeah, I would say it’s more about the planning than the creation set up.” 

Live interviews such as the #Wednesdaywisdom series, where they have been interviewing the heads of the programs offered at Guelph-Humber, posted every Wednesday. 

Even though their job is to enrich their audience with content during the semesters, their palinging begins way ahead. They go on explaining that they have planned the scheduling of posts during this summer of 2021, and have enough content until the end of the whole academic year, which means until April 2022. 

Their work on promoting the University of Guelph-Humber all over social media is constant, consequently making them release content everyday. The two students go on explaining that Instagram is their most successful platform in general. The account currently has over 5171 followers and 184 posts with content related to the University of Guelph-Humber. Key messages, videos featuring interviews with special guests, Instagram Heels (Instagram’s short videos) with information and a few humorous clips all relating to the university. 

However, another platform is becoming more and more promising over the last few months, which is the ‘trendy’ app, TikTok. It has dominated the world over the last year and has been growing surprisingly fast in popularity and engagement. 

The two students go on saying that they are trying to deal with the unique platform with its unique way of producing content. Making creative and scripted videos, such as the ones exploring  and giving a tour around each program’s classes and areas of study.  

“It’s going well, one of our videos got over a 1000 views. It’s a different experience since it’s more of a ‘video-only’ platform, so we are trying,” laughs Cutmore. 

Yet they acknowledge that nowadays social media has become more and more video-only content. “We’ll also probably use the same content from Tiktok and post it on Instagram,” Kathryn says. 

“Yeah, especially during these times where Instagram pushes more video content,” adds Jordan. 

Keeping up with what’s ‘trending’ can leave the two young women with a feeling of uncertainty.  McGuire explains that they both have to wonder whether the content will please the audience since the key to increase engagement is to know what exactly is ‘trending’ at the moment. 

“It’s a little tricky, so we’re trying to figure that out. We planned over the summer. We might make a video during a week and the next week we have to look if it [the content] still is relevant,” she says. “So, yeah, it’s kinda tricky, we’re still figuring that out.” 

As far as how the creative process goes they say, “we’re allowed to have a lot of creative freedom, as long as it is approved by our manager,” says Cutmore.

“Yeah, we have to analyze and let our manager see if what we’re working is ok to be posted,” adds McGuire. 

“But she doesn’t need to check up on everything we post since she trusts us enough to manage the platforms by ourselves,” Cutmore said. 

Back in October, the two students had made a Halloween themed TikTok video that had also been posted on Instagram. 

“We had planned on posting a video for  Halloween. But we only came up with it [the concept], like four days before [Halloween],” Kathryn says. “So, yeah, that’s the one we had.” 

The video turned out to be one of their most viewed ones on Instagram, reaching over 4,289 views. 

The Halloween TikToK Video done back in October.

Even though they are proud of their work, especially of this special ‘spooky’ video, the two of them confess that being in front of the camera and being recognized by their friends and peers still is complex for them.  

Other challenges that they face, apart from trying to push Guelph-Humber’s name out there, is the hard task of gaining  engagement from the content they create across the platforms. 

“We gotta come up with strategies, like,  how to get comments, and sharing from students,” says McGuire. 
“We might ask people to comment or share and they might be like, ‘no.’ So it’s kind of complicated like that. But at the same time, why would someone that doesn’t know Guelph-Humber, share and comment, right? So, it’s tricky, but we’re trying,” she laughs. 

When asked if they have ever encountered ‘trolls’ or ‘haters’ that can become an obstacle over the platforms, they say “No, we have never faced any kind of hate comments. We did receive some about the vaccines, saying ‘oh, this lame,’ but it wasn’t exactly about the university,” said Kathryn. 

“And if we ever receive any hate comment or anything we will just screenshot it and show it to our manager,” added Cutmore. 

Their manager, Erika Wright, is a Liaison Communications Coordinator in Student Recruitment, who oversees the team of Digital Media and Communication Assistants (DMCAs) and the social channel content and engagement.

“We work as a collaborative team on content planning, design and scheduling,” Wright says in an interview via email.  “The DMCAs get a lot of opportunities and creative freedom, which gets submitted for approval to ensure brand and messaging alignment, as it feeds into our larger marketing, communications and recruitment plans.”

Erika also says that planning and brainstorming also occur from time to time in order to ensure that the content is clear and that something new is being created to engage the audience.

“We hold regular meetings, look at upcoming deadlines and events, audience and applicant informational needs, topical news about education and our seven programs, the work of students and faculty, as well as current online trends to develop ideas for our content.”

According to Erika, the two young women, Kathryn McGuire and Jordan Cutmore have been doing an excellent job at reaching for the goal of promoting the University of Guelph-Humber through social media.

“Kathryn and Jordan each bring many unique skills, design talent and strategic communications thinking to our team,” said Wright.  “They are indispensable when it comes to keeping our content current for the generation Z.”

So, have you gotten inspired yet? Want to become a Digital Media and Communication Assistant? 

Erika then says, “we hire DMCA work study students on an as-needed basis, typically once or twice per academic year. Interested students can check the GHWorks online job portal for postings in the spring and late summer yearly.”