Blog 2 – Strong and Weak Organizations

In 2023, if you start a business without a social media strategy, are you setting yourself up for failure? There’s a big possibility that not having a social media plan and strategy can hurt your growth online and that could lead to less sales.

The June Motel

One business that I follow that I believe has a beautiful social media set up is The June Motel. The June Motel is based in Prince Edward County and Sauble Beach and run by two young women moteliers. When you think of motels, you normally think of something off Dateline. Creepy, dangerous, and gross but these women have revamped motel life and have started a very small chain of boutique motels by the beach. This is definitely not your $79 a night room. Their brand is essentially “rosé all day, by the pool side” meets “Instagram Barbie”. Their motels are pink and white with a 50’s retro chic look. Perfect for a girls’ getaway weekend and so Instagrammable! And they definitely target that audience. These moteliers have even made it to Netflix’s Motel Makeover show. With a following of 291k followers on Instagram and their rooms booking up before the summer season even begins. The way I found out about the June Motel was through an Ottawa influencer who had stayed there and promoted it on her Instagram a couple of years back. That shows me that they have used influencers to build up their audience and promotion. Their photos are stunning, and they are consistently posting and sharing in their Instagram stories trying to engage with their audience using polls and questions.

Not only do they have Instagram and Facebook, but they also have a fun website and a blog.

The June Motel via Instagram


Another brand that I love is Dove. I have written about them before, and I will preach about them for as long as they are around. I fell in love with Dove when they started to really push campaigns using women of all sizes. When we were being inundated with photoshopped models, feeling bad about our regular bodies, Dove came to our rescue, and they haven’t stopped stepping up since. Dove is not only a soap company anymore. They have made public commitments to revolutionize the beauty industry by not only promoting positive image and inclusivity campaigns, but also producing educational content for teens and their parents. Dove is on all social media platforms. They have created multiple trending hashtags for their campaigns, and have over 826k followers on Instagram, 183k on Twitter and 27 million likes on Facebook. They have multiple campaigns going at all times and they each have a purpose. Everything they do is to create a positive impact on our current world where we may feel less empowered because of the constant negative noise in the online realm. They push inclusivity – not only in culture and colour, but aging beauty, natural beauty and all shapes and sizes. Dove is the change we’ve been waiting for on social media.

Dove via Instagram


A brand that I feel could use a social media strategy is a bakery in Montreal called Chocolata. This is a boutique bakery that has been around for almost 10 years. Starting out small and from her home kitchen to opening a brick-and-mortar shop in the last couple of years. Although her desserts are delicious and stunning, I don’t feel that the owner of this shop has much of a strategy for her social media. She has followed branding and bio guidelines for her Instagram account but has only accrued 3390 followers. I don’t feel that she has a consistent posting schedule and needs to show more of herself in her stories and engage more with her audience.

She has a Facebook and TikTok page with the same number of followers as her Instagram. Taking the opportunity to create a posting schedule gives more time to put in creating engagement with your audience. Also engaging with micro-influencers to promote products, put out giveaways and even talking on Instagram stories daily makes a connection and builds brand trust. Gone are the days of only pretty photos on Instagram. It’s about authenticity and the face behind the name. I have compared this bakery to other competitors in the same area and others have followers upwards to 11k. This brand is great but just needs a strategy to get a boost in social media presence which will translate to sales.

Chocolata via Instagram

What do you think brands can do better when it comes to strategies?

Social Media Monitoring Tools

via Canva

Before starting the Social Media program with Algonquin, I was just using the basic Instagram Insights for listening and monitoring but after starting this course, I found a whole world of social media tools I never knew existed.

Brand 24

Brand24 is not a free monitoring tool, but you can try it for free for two weeks. That’s really helpful when you are trying to learn the tool and see if it works for you. It is a really detailed tool that can help you find mentions in real time, what kind of conversations people are having about your brand all over the internet and what tone i.e.: are they positive or negative? You can get hashtag data and social media data. This is especially helpful for me as an actor and filmmaker who’s business brand is myself.

Social Media Platform Analytics

TikTok and Instagram analytics are a great way to track your TikTok and Instagram posts. There aren’t many free tools out there, which is why using the internal analytics and insight tools along with a paid service will help broaden monitoring for your business. Using these to analyze all of your posts will help you find out which ones have been successful, which ones are lacking and if the hashtags are working.

The two best news sources for me personally are TikTok and YouTube. The reason why is that I follow many different news pages that are not conventionally on cable television, such as The Young Turks, The Mehdi Hassan show, and The Daily Show. YouTube will have full length versions of the short clips that I get to see on TikTok. I also like to follow creators on TikTok who talk about Social Media trends and upcoming changes to platforms or new tools to discover.

What are you go-to social media tools?

COM0014 – Blog #7 Personal Reflection

This course has taught me a different way to story-tell than how I normally go about it, i.e., scriptwriting. This course showed me how to properly tell a story for social media content. I always thrived on authentic social media content, and this gave me the opportunity to practice my own personal storytelling and find my voice through the last six blogs.

This course really helped me breakdown strategies for different target audiences and analyze different communication styles. We saw what could go wrong and how to handle criticism when posting on a public platform.

Storytelling has been around for as long as we can remember and it’s a personal way to connect with your audience. I’ve watched long TikTok videos just because of the way the creator was telling their story. I was mesmerized. I wanted to know more! I had to hear the end of their story. This creator connected with her audience and kept them engaged for a long video based on how they presented the story.

I want to be able to create engaging content that is authentic and truthful to who I am. As someone in the film industry, as an actor, it’s a lot easier to pretend to be someone else than yourself because sometimes we fear what people might think. Being able to write authentically during this course has really helped me with that fear and helped me discover my voice.

COM0014 – Blog #6: Maissa Houri’s Personal Story

Photo credit: Ming Wu at the International Film Festival of Ottawa

Growing up in an immigrant household, you’re always told to follow the dreams that your parents have laid out for you. That normally means you get a degree in medicine or in law. Being an actor? That felt out of reach for me. But I did what I could to participate in anything acting related. I was in all the school plays and talent shows. Ever since I was a kid, I was determined to show my parents that I could make acting a career.

Me (in the red dress) and my siblings in the 90’s

Life ebbs and flows and since acting is one of the hardest careers you can ever get into, I had to find work to lean on to pay my bills until I could book gigs. I got a government job that turned into a career, but I refused to give up on my dreams. I found a great agent, I involved myself in the film community and also started to create my own work since I wasn’t booking. I was tired of waiting around for someone to hire me. I was still working full time in the government, but I used every spare moment I had to hustle and build my dream life. There are days, almost 10 years actively in the industry, where I feel so stagnant, that I haven’t done anything significant, but I look back at all my work and I have made so much progress.

Photo credit: Ramy Raphaël for Dirty Love web series

Growing up there were no stories in Hollywood about Arab families and if there were any, it was a negative stereotype. This fueled my fire even more. I wanted to show the world our humanity. I create stories from a first generation Arab-Canadian and that really helped my independent film career. Someone believed in my story and because of that, I am working on a TV pilot for a broadcaster! And after joining the board of a filmmakers’ festival, I’m able to help other emerging filmmakers tell their stories. You just need one person to believe in you and I want to be that person for others who fought for their dream.

Did you follow your dream?

Photo credit: Robert de Wit

COM0014 – Blog #5 – Personal Brand – Maissa Houri: Actor. Filmmaker. Community Builder.

Photo credit: Robert de Wit

My name is Maissa and I’m an actor, filmmaker and a lot of people call me a community builder. The entertainment industry is a very hard one to navigate and I learned that the hard way. I’m still learning ten years actively in it. I was waiting for doors to open for me, but they weren’t opening. So, I decided that I would start building my own door and building the table where I wanted to be. That’s when I started to make films. I definitely didn’t have the money, nor did I know where to get it, so I enlisted others who were also waiting for their doors to open and invited them to get in through mine. I would write and direct and I found crew members and actors wanting to create with me. I, then, joined the board of the Digi60 Filmmakers’ Festival in 2020 which gave me a position that wouldn’t only help my career but the career of others. I would be able to bring in opportunities for emerging filmmakers that they would struggle to find anywhere else.

created via Canva

What makes me stand out over other actors and filmmakers regarding my online presence is that I’m not only showing my audience images or videos of me working on set or doing auditions but I’m showing them the struggles; I’m giving out advice and tips. I’m showing them where they can find opportunities and I’m also giving them a platform to showcase themselves.

I created an Instagram live series on my personal account called Moms After Dark where I would interview mothers in creative fields. I called it Moms After Dark because we do everything after our kids’ bedtime. This gave creative mothers a chance to talk about themselves, the work that they do, how they got there and the sacrifices they have made.

created via Canva

The entertainment industry is so hard. It’s full of unknowns and rejections. I want to be there to build up the community, to give opportunities and to help people with their acting and filmmaking dreams and in turn that is helping me with mine.

Blog Post #4 – B2C Case Study – Aldo Shoes

I decided to focus on Aldo Shoes for my B2C case study because when I opened my Instagram account, I saw their ad immediately and then I checked my emails and the first item I saw only was a newsletter from them. So, I thought it was fitting to use them for this case study.

via ALDO Shoes Facebook

Aldo is a Canadian-based shoe company that has been successful in the international shoe industry for the last forty years. Aldo has 3.8 million followers on Instagram, 106.2k followers on TikTok and 6.1 million likes on their Facebook page. They utilise every part of social media and they use it well!

Aldo x Influencers

Aldo has been using influencers in the majority of their social media posts and campaigns. They know that they have been one of the top shoe sellers in Canada and around the world for a long time and need to stay on top of the fashion shoe industry. Hiring influencers from around the world gives them access to a wide net of customers.


Aldo has been on top of their hashtag game! They use: #ALDOShoes, #ALDOCrew, #ALDOMyFavoriteMe and #ALDONights

They have stated that if you use the #ALDOCrew on your post, you are eligible to be featured on their social platforms.

They have also created different events that use the hashtag #ALDONights, such as a Ramadan party at an ALDO in the UAE and the launch of their new collection at a Hollywood mansion in L.A.. By making these events seem exclusive and only using influencers to promote their product, they are enticing their audience to want to feel included in that V.I.P. circle. Their shoes are mostly affordable, so their audience can feel as trendy as their favorite influencers.


They don’t have as much engagement as I thought they would on their posts, and they don’t engage much with their audience. I would recommend that they do it, but they have such a big following that I’m not sure if their audience minds.

I used to work for the ALDO Group when I was 18 years old. I worked for Transit Shoes which is now Call It Spring, which is the more affordable “ALDO” under the ALDO Group. This was when social media didn’t exist. It’s so funny to see that everything we sold then in 2002 is coming back in 2023. I think it would be fun for ALDO to do some kind of “back in time” campaign to show their shoes over the years. But that’s just me. Do you shop at ALDO?

ALDO x Influencers via ALDO Facebook

COM0014 – Blog #3: Target Audiences

created via Canva

As an actor and independent filmmaker, my target audience are multiple communities. Because I’m involved in different film projects, it widens my net in terms of audience.  My audience consists of:

  • Emerging/established actors
  • Emerging filmmakers
  • Casting Directors
  • Mom creatives
  • Film organization creatives
  • People who love my work

The average gender who follows me are women, especially mom creatives in my industry, although I do have a lot of men who follow me, as they are in my industry circle. Regarding marital status and ethnic background, I have a very diverse following and target audience. People wanting to get into the film industry either to become an actor or filmmaker comes from all backgrounds. Because my ethnic background is West Asian (Middle Eastern), and I’m a married woman, the average of my target audience would be underrepresented folk in the entertainment industry who are also trying to make it in a world where diversity was very much hard to come by and is only making small strides now.

My target audience consists of leaders and followers. Leaders being the ones I want to work for, i.e., Casting Directors, production companies and film directors. They follow me to see my work, what I’m up to, my online energy. People have been hired and fired based on their online presence. The other part of my target audience being followers. The followers are those who see me as a leader and want to know what I have in the works or want to see how I manage family life with a grueling film life, how much I hustle to get the gigs, or how to get started as an actor or filmmaker and how to work with me.

The average age of my target audience is between 30 and 50 years old. Not to say that I don’t have some following who are in their 20’s but the average is older, because I’m in my 30’s, my content is more relatable to them.

Social Media Platforms

The social media platforms I use the most are Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Facebook is great for networking and posting events. It’s easier to get a larger reach because of the different Facebook groups there are for filmmakers and actors locally, nationally, and internationally. If I am looking to cast or hire crew, I am posting in specific Facebook pages. When people see my posts, they start to follow and engage with me. I do have a personal Facebook page as well as a professional page. I find that the older crowd is on Facebook more so than the younger audience.

With Instagram, I post a lot of what’s coming up, what I have been working on, mini-vlogs about my life and daily affirmations to encourage my audience not to give up and to keep going. I have more of a younger audience and more of my age group. I recently posted about my acceptance to the Banff Media Festival as part of their Diversity of Voices initiative in collaboration with Netflix and it was one of my most recent successful posts. With 185 likes, 73 comments, 3 shares, 6 post saves and 809 accounts reached. One of my recent Instagram reels about a weekend of film in Ottawa had 1303 plays, 89 likes, 10 comments, 14 shares and 1 save. It had reached 1059 accounts with half not being my followers.  

In Conclusion

As an actor and filmmaker, you are the product. You are the brand. Knowing that my target audience is spread over multiple communities, I try to keep it as authentic as possible and with the one common goal of all my communities which is life in the film industry.

COM0014 – Blog#2: The many ways of storytelling

I come from a specific world of storytelling: Screenwriting. Your film or episode gets broken down into acts; there’s the “who, what, where, when and why” questions you ask yourself while outlining, and depending on the genre, there can be a formula to follow, such as the Hallmark Christmas movies or you can get creative! Blogging, content creation and journalism are a very different medium to screenwriting but at the same time, not so much. This part of the course made me rethink the ways of current storytelling.

created via Canva

Content Creation

Learning about the inverted triangle to communicate in blogging or on other social media platforms isn’t too far off of the “who, what, where, when and why” questions screenwriters have to ask themselves when writing. It’s just presented immediately at the top of the inverted triangle as opposed to throughout. In a film, you may have the “who, what and where” at the beginning and we might not get the “why” until the end. In screenwriting, we would call that a slow burn as developments happen throughout the film. In your blog, post, or article, I’ve learnt that all that information needs to be presented at the beginning. Don’t “bury the lead” as our course mentions is important.

created via Canva

Passive Voice vs Active Voice

Using an active voice versus a passive voice was new to me. I always thought that the passive voice was a more professional way to write but the active voice makes the piece more personal. In hindsight, I do engage a lot more when reading a piece with the active voice. In our world where there is so much that is superficial, we want to be our authentic selves when creating posts and using the active voice definitely helps.

Engaging your audience

Before this course, I found creating content intimidating. Who wants to hear from me? Who wants to hear what I have to say? I found that storytelling through screenwriting was less intimidating because even though I could pull from personal experiences, I was telling someone else’s story. In content creation, what I learned about the process was really thinking about what I want my audience to gain out of my posts before I start to create it. Going through that process made me think of storytelling in a different way. I can be more engaged with my audience and what their needs are by asking questions and putting a call to action at the end of my post to start a conversation with them. This is relationship building as opposed to me just making a movie and hoping people like it. It’s less intimidating now.

In Conclusion

What I learned in this section of the course was that no matter what medium you are using, there are specific questions to ask yourself before you create your content, how you deliver your message and how you engage with it. “Don’t Bury the Lead” will forever be ingrained in my mind.

What were your takeaways from this part of the course?

COM0014- Blog#1: Sandbanks, Prince Edward County, Ontario – an Ontario vacation destination

Image by me. Sunset on the water at our rental cottage.

I am someone who needs to be by the water to feel at peace and serene so I prefer vacations by the water. Oceans preferred but here in Ottawa, we aren’t close to one and it can get pricey to get to it. Unfortunately, Mooney’s Bay just doesn’t cut it for me. Then, I found out about Sandbanks Provincial Park. Sandbanks is right outside of this little town called Picton, and it has the biggest beach with super clear water and super soft sand. And it’s only 3 hours away from Ottawa! When we started to go to Sandbanks, we were camping there. This is how popular it is to camp there: you have to book 5 months to the day of the time you want booked through the Ontario Parks website and you have to be online at 7am! You also have to pray to God or whatever deity you believe in that you will get a spot and that your internet doesn’t crap out at the moment of booking, because if it does, you’re out of luck! But when the pandemic hit in 2020, we weren’t sure what camping would look like and we didn’t want to be sharing shower facilities with hundreds of people. We found out later that showers were closed at all provincial parks.

Image by me. Alpacas at SHED Chetwyn Farms in Prince Edward County.

Hidden Gems

I was scouring the internet to find us a cottage that was waterfront. I kept searching different websites only to one day come across this stunning 3 storey cottage that was renting out the floors individually. Specifically, they were renting out their top floor, as that was all they had left. I fell upon the ad on the day they put it up! All floors were their own apartment, and although it was a rocky waterfront, we got a beach pass included. I felt like I hit the jackpot! This was a very different vibe to camping – it was going to be so much more relaxing. We were in this updated, beautiful cottage apartment by the crystal-clear green water with the most incredible sunsets and just minutes away from the beach.

Image by me. Relaxing by the fire listening to the waves.

Daily Vacation Routine

This felt so serendipitous especially after the tough months we had at the beginning of the pandemic. We would spend some mornings at the beach, come back to the cottage at lunch, eat, wash up and start an adventure throughout the county. We went to a lavender farm, an alpaca farm, different wineries, and breweries and into the little towns to shop locally. Other days, we would start our day slowly at the cottage and make our way to the beach later in the afternoon which would have a very different energy than in the morning. The sun would be lower in the sky, and the beach wasn’t as bustling. The water had this magical sparkle to it from the sun rays. My mind was blown away at all this beauty just 3 hours from home. In the evenings, we would have a ritual after dinner: we would kayak close to sunset so we could watch the sun go down on the water, then we would start a fire, make s’mores, and watch shooting stars while listening to the waves crash onto the rocks below us. This was heaven to me and all so close to home while still feeling like it was a vacation away. Last summer, we rented the whole cottage and invited our family members to join us on this wonderful vacation. My kids now anticipate going yearly as it’s a new tradition for us.

Do you know of any hidden gems close to home?

TikToks and Reels and Shorts, Oh My!

by Maisse Houri-Charron

Image via Canva

If you’re on most social media platforms, you’ll know that the biggest trend right now and for the foreseeable future is short form video content. It started with TikTok then Instagram followed suit with Reels and even YouTube just introduced Shorts. All of these platforms have their own in-app editing tools but if you’re like me, I never use them. I find them a hassle to learn, and you can lose anything you have saved by pressing the wrong button or if your app crashes and you have to re-install it. That’s why I like to use external mobile editing software to edit my videos. Here are some of the top three editing apps!


Splice is the one I currently use most often. I had started out with the free version but wanted to use some of their better transitions and fonts which only comes with the paid version, so I upgraded to that. The tool is extremely easy to use. They have great fonts and transitions but what I love the most about it is the fact that you get to choose the ratio aspect when you start a project meaning it asks you what platform you are creating the video for, and it creates the right template for you to use. Keep in mind that this is for very simple editing.

Image via Apple App Store


I just discovered this one. It is created by the makers of TikTok so it has many bells and whistles that you may be looking for to create a great TikTok video. It has overlays and filters and it is super simple to use. It’s worth taking the time to play around in the app to get the most out of it. The best part about this one is that it’s free.

Image via Apple App Store

Adobe Premiere Rush

For those who love their Adobe suite, this one is for you. You can connect it to your Creative Cloud and start editing on Rush and finish it on your desktop Premiere Pro if you wanted to. It is simple to use, has overlays and fonts but according to Michael Muchmore from PC Mag: “The standard adjustments for lighting and color are at your disposal, and you can add track overlays and speed changes. One thing you won’t find are project templates like those offered by other apps here.” (TikTok and Beyond: The Best Mobile Video Editing Apps) This one is also only a paid app.

Image via Apple App Store

There are other benefits to using mobile editing apps for your social media, like posting it on every platform without having to save it from one social media app. Instagram won’t push out your Reels if they see a TikTok watermark on it. You can also re-edit your video anytime.

Do you use an editing software? If so, which one?

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TikToks, Reels, Shorts, Oh My!

Find this on Twitter!

Short form videos are here to stay! #shortformvideos