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From the Inside

The power of storytelling

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

In her second From the Inside piece, Staffordshire University’s Laura Allen is here to tells us more about the power of stories; less Instagram or Snapchat Stories and more actual stories. You know, storytelling. It’s damned effective, as Laura is about to explain.

*If you’d like to be a future From the Inside columnist then please get in touch!*

In recent years, there hasn’t been a story more powerful than one told by our own consumers. With user-generated content proving impactful on increasing conversion and building trust in a brand, Staffordshire University is embracing the power of stories told by our students about their experience whilst studying.

The Marketing and Communications department now has 10 Student Communications Ambassadors that help us portray the student experience in the most authentic way – and it is true that nobody says it better.

As Digital Communications Officer, I get to work closely with the Student Communications Ambassadors in planning their content – ensuring that we achieve a balance of giving the students a platform to share their student experience, but also delivering content we can use across campaigns, and that is relevant to what’s happening in the big, wide world.

Producing video, written and social media content we now have a suite of resources to access to share across communications channels in the student journey.

I’m not much of a fan of the term “influencer marketing” because our students aren’t trying to influence but instead sharing their own experiences to give a holistic view of what it’s like to study and live at university to help prospective students make the right choice for them.

From engaging prospective students who can connect with the Student Communications Ambassadors when they tackle their worries and questions about starting University – right through to giving them an inside look at what happens across campus, and even in their spare time around studies – to encouraging our current student body to get involved in events, campaigns and to share their experience with us too…our Student Communications Ambassadors connect with their peers and provide a voice for all students.

How has this helped us?

Their presence has slowly grown and developed into the format that proves successful now.

We identified the need for regular video content to improve our YouTube channel presence and increase current student engagement on Twitter and Facebook.

Having an album of go-to video content we can tap into has been so useful. And the stats don’t lie – in the last 6 months we’ve gained 600 new YouTube subscribers, whereas, in the last eight years, we’ve only had 600 total to our name. You’ll agree, they’ve helped turn things around.

Their content isn’t only used on social media, it’s also used across touchpoints in campaigns from email, print on and off campus and even events.

Not only that, but it also provides a reliable thread of content that can be tied into trending topics, news, events, and campaigns on social media.

What’s in it for them?

We hope to encourage all our student body to produce UGC, but you have to consider what’s in it for them. Therefore, we keep our Student Comms Ambassador team tight-knit, coming from all corners of the university, to ensure they gain experience and skills that they can take forward in their careers too.

The role is a paid position, which obviously benefits them financially, but also enables them to work closely with the Marketing and Comms department and be exposed to situations that will benefit them in future – such as being interviewed by media, liaising with our Executive team, and attending events as a representative of the University.  Everybody’s happy!

If you want to hear more from our Student Communications Ambassadors or fancy some inspiration for your own – check out their very own blog, YouTube playlist or Twitter account. (They’re super friendly and will love to tell you more!)

You can follow Laura on Twitter and find her on LinkedIn

*If you’d like to be a future From the Inside columnist then please get in touch!*