In the field of (higher) education we have the large privilege that one of our target groups is around us every day. Why not make use of the knowledge, creativity, skills, networks and time of our own students to improve our social media content? We actually shouldn’t be thinking that we can do it on all our own.
User generated content
In my opinion you can setup online or offline campaigns to get more fans, you can try hard to find the best timing for your posts, you can place ads, but as long as your content is rubbish none of these things will lead you to the desired result: a facebook fanpage where your fans like to interact with you.
So, after having figured out for ourselves how to manage a facebook page, and after we had set up a clear goal and a content strategy, we were ready for the next step: user generated content.
To be honest, this is not so not so new as it may look like. We have been doing this for years! Who is not using its own students during open days and other events to talk to prospective students?
Finding the right students
Before starting the recruitment process, you should ask yourself this question: Should these social media students be volunteers or should they get paid? You are looking for students who are social media addicts anyway. And besides that, being an ambassador for the University is a great honour, isn’t it?
In our case we decided to start with a team of students who got paid for the job. Only by paying them we would be able to really demand things from the students and to correct them if necessary. Above that it would guarantee some continuity and commitment.
Here is how we managed the recruitment process the last time we were looking for new students to join our Social Media Student Team:
– we spread this video through facebook and twitter asking for new team members. (we did not tell is was a paid job!)
– we made a first selection based on CV’s and motivation
– we organised a selection meeting in which we told the candidates about why TU Delft is active on social media and what we would expect from them as contributors to this.
– we gave them a ‘Social Media Challenge’. A brief assignment to be carried out within 30 minutes. The results had to be presented to the group in one minute pitches afterwards.
I have been through such a selection procedure three times now and to me it already looks like a proven concept. It gives me enough information to find the right students.
Choosing the right team
Finding the rights students is one thing, choosing the right team can also be a challenge. In case you have the luxury to choose from a large group of qualified and motivated students, it would be my suggestion to choose for a good mixture of:
– different nationalities
– faculties / programmes
– skills (video editing, photography, writing, etc.)
– male and female
Tasks for the Social Media Students
Currently we have a team of five to six students who work at most four hours/week. In these hours they:
– send me interesting news from their faculty or student society
– are working on long term projects such as a photo album or a video (series)
– are joining in team meetings (editorial meetings, training sessions)
– checking and answering on questions by others through their personal accounts
As you can see it is not the task of our student team to post there content directly to our facebook page. I know that this sounds like being a too much in control and not at all like ‘how social media works’.
But I think there are a few good reasons for this choice:
– This allows us to always do a last quick check on content, text and tone of voice
– This allows us to keep the content mix right throughout the week
– This allows us to post our messages as a steady stream throughout the week
And above that, it takes only a few minutes to make a status update out of their content! Of course they are always tagged whenever it’s a picture of them shared and their videos always end with a slide stating that it was as social media student team production.
My team generates great content, for example videos about our student houses, picture albums on our research facilities and a lot more. But on top of that they interact with our fans in a way I could never have done as an administrator:
Enjoy working together with your students!