Building a student social media team

Presented by Lougan Bishop

As higher ed professionals, we’re often called upon to wear many hats…all at the same time. And it can be overwhelming! Five years ago, to take on some of these tasks, Lougan started a volunteer student team to help with social media. He called them the Boulevard Team (think street team, except Belmont is located on a boulevard).

The Boulevard Team
The Boulevard Team helps with content planning and creation, social monitoring and moderation, and also acts as a sounding board for university communicators. They run Belmont’s Instagram, monitor social media, run Facebook groups, curate music, and create videos. Soon they’ll also be running a podcast. And only one of them is paid. The Boulevard Team started with five students, and now it is made of 15 students who work in four “Pods” – music, stories, video, and ‘cast. Each Pod is made of 3-7 students.

Music Pod
The Music Pod curates playlists on Sound Cloud and Spotify for working out, studying, and for holidays such as Halloween and Christmas. Plus, each Monday they release a new playlist for #MusicMonday on Belmont’s social media accounts.

Story Pod
The Story Pod helps Lougan run the University’s Instagram account. They work with areas all across campus to plan posts and stories. Students on the Boulevard Team create posts and stories to help support University goals, and also coordinate a weekly Takeover Thursday on Instagram.

Video Pod
Boulevard Team members in the Video Pod create vlogs and hype videos for social media accounts, and collaborate with departments to create videos alongside Lougan to support University goals.

‘Cast Pod
Lougan explained that the ‘Cast Pod will be launching a podcast early in 2019. These students will plan, produce, record and edit Belmont’s upcoming podcast.

The creative process
Lougan explained that the Boulevard Team captain is the only student who is paid. This student supervises Pod Leaders, creates a weekly content plan, runs analytics and helps with cross-Pod collaboration. This student also publishes all posts.

The students’ social media plans become the basis of the social media strategy for the week. The Team Leader and Pod Leaders meet weekly, and the entire Boulevard team meets to make assignments, which are added to a centralized communications calendar. After that, the plan goes to staff communicators, who add in other communication platforms.

Selection and compensation
Becoming a part of the Boulevard Team is a competitive process at Belmont. Students fill out an application and are then interviewed by both Lougan and Boulevard Team Leader. Lougan joked that Boulevard Team members are paid with donuts, behind-the-scenes and exclusive access to people and events, appreciation, and recognition.

The Boulevard Team allows Belmont to better reflect the student voice, gives students great experience, and helps the University better connect with their social media audiences.