Lougan Bishop, web and digital media manager at Belmont University, kicked off our first ever lightning talk at HeWeb – talking about cultivating student teams.
At Belmont, the “Boulevard Team” is a structured team which assists Bishop with content planning and creation, monitoring and moderating of flagship social media assets, and even serve as a built in focus group for web/digital media projects. Each student works within a “pod,” or a small team dedicated to a different subject:
- MusicPod: Runs Belmont’s SoundCloud account and curates #MusicMonday
- Storypod: Manages Belmont’s Instagram; creating stories, capturing life at Belmont and Nashville, and coordinating Takeover Thursday (which is exactly what it sounds like).
- Videopod: Coordinate “Why Belmont Wednesday,” a video series asking students what made them choose Belmont. These students also create hype-videos for fun events on campus.
- Planningpod: These students pull it all together. Each week, students in this pod suggest ideas and plan social media content for the week.
To make a team, there’s some key elements no matter the structure. Most importantly – recruiting students. Bishop suggests finding the students who are plugged in to campus, such as your student ambassadors from admissions or leaders in clubs on campus. He also warned that these students are likely juniors and seniors. To combat turnover, Lougan puts these involved and experienced students in leadership roles and fills in the pods with younger and teachable students. Bishop starts recruitment early with incoming class Facebook groups and “Be Belmont” day on campus.
Motivation is key for student teams. Aside from paying students with donuts and coffee, you should motivate your students every day. Serve as their mentor and help them grow – this will make them want to stick around and take on leadership roles. Bishop also suggested giving students perks for their role on the team. At Belmont, the street team has front-row seats to basketball games, can meet celebrities, and other awesome things.
Don’t forget to recognize your teams and your students. An easy way is giving them photo or video credit on social media – it builds their portfolio but also shows the rest of the community what they can be a part of when recruitment season comes around. Bishop calls this “cultivating a conveyor belt of talent.”
“It’s our job as higher education professionals to empower students,” Bishop notes. Thanks to this team, Belmont’s social media presence has expanded and continues to grow, along with his students.