23: Belmont University’s Student Social Media Street Team w/ Lougan Bishop

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Lougan Bishop, Web and Digital Media Manager at Belmont University, discusses how to leverage students to build social media street teams and add authentic voices to your enrollment communications.

When other students see the talent that is on the BOLIVARD team. That attracts the kinds of students that we want, the really creative, really motivated, really energized students. You're listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for higher education leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're looking for fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growth university. I'm Eric Olson, AVP of marketing at Helix Education, and we're here today with Logan Bishop, Web and digital media manager at Belmont University and cohost of the highered social podcast. Logan, welcome to the show. Thanks, it's great being here. We're going to have a great conversation today about how to leverage students to build up Social Media...

Street teams at your institution. But before we get too deep into that, Logan, can you get the listeners a little bit better understanding of both Belmont University and your role there? So Belmont University is located in Nashville, Tennessee. We are a mid sized Christian University of about eight thousand eighty students, though that seems like it really is eight thousand and eighty. So that's anyway. We didn't make it up. Belmont is, as I said, a Christian institution the kind of mixed liberal, arts and professional education. So we're we're kind of a hybrid as far as schools go. We're a teaching university. So not a lot of research happens at Belmont beyond what students do. We do a lot of student research and things like that, but it's a great institution where in a great city. And what I do of Almont? I'm the Web and digital media manager, as you mentioned, so I lead our social media and web teams and kind of work with digital strategy. Also...

...in charge of video at Balmont. So do a little bit of everything. Look, and I'm really excited about this conversation today, when people hear the phrase street team, they might instantly go to gorilla or grassroots marketing, musicians asking their fans to promote their concerts. What does it mean to be a part of your boulevard team? Very nice alliteration, by the way, at Belmont University. So the Bolivard team is a little bit of everything. They help us do many things at Belmont, especially around our social media and video the Bolivard team is a street team, so they do help us with guerrilla marketing to some extent, but for the most part they help us generate content for our social media accounts. Now, as I mentioned, I'm the web in digital media manager. I do a whole lot of stuff and it's over the years gotten harder and harder for me to really help plan and implement social media campaigns. So the Bolivard team really helps implement the kinds of crazy, wacky ideas that I have and they also have their own kind of ideas and...

...such that we implement. It really adds a student voice to the things we do. So these are communication specific and communication heavy roles that require students with hustle, students with social media and video skills, students who authentically enjoyed being at Belmont and sharing their Belmont experience. How do you find these students? So we have a multitier process of finding students. Now, number one, we have facebook groups. As students are coming in, the Bolivard team actually helps monitor and moderate those. So we have an extra touch point right there. Where students that are coming to Belmont find out about the Bolivard team because they are interacting with those students in the facebook groups. Second we also have our admitted student kind of yield event that we have in the spring semester, which is actually coming up this in the next couple of months, called be Belmont Day, and our students actually run a footo booth there and that's giving an in person touch point with the students that are coming to Belmont. And...

...then during our student activities fair, we have a a kind of booth there with the other student organizations to help recruit students. And then finally, with every post that students make or students generate content that they generate, we give them credit in the in the post that they do. So if they do a great video or they take a great photo gallery of photos that we post on Facebook, we give them credit for that and we find that the students see the level of talent that we have on the Bolivard team and that makes them want to be a part of it. So we're not just recruiting students that are coming to Belmont or are just came to Balmont. We're also recruiting those current students as well. I love it. I love it. Logan. Many institutions have formal paid student internship programs. Some institutions find alternative ways to keep students excited and motivated, like you mentioned. How does it work? Explicitly with Your Street team? Well, with the bull of our team.

I found that then being able to do work that's beyond things that are in their major and get experience tends to be motivation enough. And and not just that, but I also do a lot of mentoring with our students. It originally did not start out me thinking that I would become a mentor, but, as I found helping them with internships, helping them with getting letters of reference, all of these kinds of things has been really helpful. But what I've really done is I've really tried to find students that are incredibly motivated that want to do the work. Now I do have students that are on the Boll of our team that are student workers, but their scope goes well beyond what the Bolivard team does. They help us more with marketing and web and and stuff like that, so they get some experience that way and those are paid. But the BOLIVARD team itself is volunteer. So I found and it's been very interesting. I have very good retention. I think most of...

...the Bolivard team has usually stays on till they graduate, which is interesting, and I kind of built the model after our brewer recruiters, which are, you know, our student recruiter volunteers that help out during previous days and and give tours and all that kind of fun stuff. I love it. I think it's a hey, it's impressive be I think it's really exciting for folks who love the idea of having a street team but don't know how to find the budget for it. So helping us understand that you can find folks that are just motivated put the work itself is super exciting. I really love the structure that you've developed for your student street team. Talk about the four pods that you've assembled and how that organizational structure works. So the BULIVARD team the first few years did not have a structure and I found that to be very problematic. It was very disorganized. So we really thought about the things that our students do and the campaigns that the students have come up with. So that's kind of how we structured our pods. So number one, we have...

...music pod. Music pod runs our music Monday campaign, which we have every Monday. We promote student music. Now, at the beginning of each semester, fall, Spring and summer, we generate a playlist where students, it's actually submit their music and then we add it to this big long playlist of about fifty or sixty songs and from that playlist we choose the best of the best, so the best music, and then we also create playlists too that we also share at during special times of the year, like finals or such like. You know, music to study by those kinds of things. The next pot that we have as the video pod, and it actually is exactly what it sounds like. Those students make video and we call them hype videos, and they make them for special events like moving day or the first basketball game or things like that. So the next the next group is story pod. Story pod handles our takeover Thursdays and our instagram accounts. So generate the photos and they help find students around campus that can take over our our instagram...

...account on Thursdays, which we do quite well, I think. And finally, we have planning pod, and planning pod is what takes the ideas from the other three pods and puts them together into a coherent weekly social media plan and they work with the students across the Bolivard team to to really come up with the events that we're going to cover and the different songs that we're going to do a music Monday and the students that we're going to do on takeover Thursday, and they just really help our team, which is the University Marketing Public Relations Team, really put it all together, along with university news stories and all that kind of stuff, to have our social media plan for the week. I really, really like that structure and our students exclusive to one single pod. They are not so bloard. Team members can be in up to two pots and each pod has a leader that works with the other students on the pod to really generate what we're going to do. I love it.

Logan where you getting the most value out of this street team today, where it's not just nice to have projects, but where they're doing mission critical, high value communications work for you? Well, the really have I stuff comes from two big things, and that is helping give a voice to Belmont social media. I mean that's what they really do they really give us that authentic voice, and I hate buzz words like that, but they really do. They really give us things that students are interested in and they keep me under control, which is which is interesting because you know, I think about, Oh, let's make this particular kind of joke and they're like, I don't get it, and it keeps me from really embarrassing myself and the university in that sense. But they also help, especially when it comes to admissions. They help in those facebook groups. They really help keep students interested in Belmont. They help form that community that's so important so critical, especially when...

...it comes to yielding those students, because the students in the facebook groups are admitted students and we want them to pay their enrollment deposit and they the Bolivard team really shows them what it's really like to be a student in Belmont and I think that's incredibly important. Looking one of the tough aspects about working with student talent is is that they inevitably graduate. How do you make sure that you retain the knowledge that's being built by your current team moving forward, and how do you create that conveyor belt of talent to continually attract and train new students. Well, I like to say the conveyor belt of talent is something that the students kind of generate, as I mentioned before. You know, when other students see the talent that is on the Boulov our team, that attracts the kinds of students that we want, the really creative, really motivated, really energized students, and the leadership structure that we set up in the pods is really meant to help bring out those those talents. Wants those two...

...that raw talent of the new students that joined the group and then foster it so that they can become the next leaders of the team. and and it just keeps feeding on itself time and time again, and that that knowledge retention is, of course, kept with me. But when you have students that stay on the team for, you know, two, three years, even four years at a time, you're able to keep those students and you can put them into leadership positions and then they can they can help mentor those students that are coming up and and it really is a conveyor about it really self perpetuates, which is actually a surprise to me. I did not expect that to happen, but I think every year the team just feels like it gets better and better and better, and that's a little bit because, you know, because we have the pods structured as they are, they're really based off of specific campaigny things that we're doing. That doesn't mean that we can't create new pods for different things that we're doing later or and we can dissolve pods that no longer work, and we have. We have done that and we have experience, experimented, tried new things, and I think that's what continues...

...to drive us forward and what actually keep students interested. Logan is such a good model that you've set there at Belmont. Any final advice for listeners who love the idea of having a street team and and aren't sure what to do to take that next step their institution? So, as far as advice that I have, never be afraid to experiment. The BOLIVARD team itself was an experiment and we started out with one single event. I wanted to show my leadership that was above me that we could use students to create something awesome, and so for an event that we had, you know, four or five years ago, we employed to students to help us, you know, come up with ideas and get their input to do things and from that I was able to create the Bulov our team. And you know, when you start out with your team, try to find the most really engaged student leaders around...

...campus. Now they're going to be busy and it's going to be hard to keep them engaged, especially considering they will probably graduate soon because they're going to be a classman. But if you get those high talent, high quality, high motivated students, you can get that conveyor belt, as we mentioned previously, started and you can start getting those younger students as they're coming into the university, or underclassman students, you know, freshman, sophomores and and they will stay on the team if you keep them engaged and you know, you can really start this this talent thing going. Logan, you are the best. What is a good place for listeners to can with you they have any follow up questions? So folks can reach me on twitter. My name is Logan with a you, so it's Lou Ga N. that's my twitter, that's my facebook, that's my linkedin. It's great having a weird name. or they can email me at Logan at GMAILCOM, because I got my first...

...name at gmailcom and that's pretty awesome. Well done, awesome. Thanks against so much for joining us today, Logan and sharing such great stuff. No problem. Thanks for having me. Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations data driven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrive in this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition of their enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solve today's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today for free at Helix Educationcom. Slash playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the shown itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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