Handing over the keys to your organisation’s social media account to someone who isn’t a full-time member of your team can be daunting…but it can also be incredibly rewarding, which is why an increasing amount of Universities are hiring current students to work on their social channels for them.
That’s exactly what the University of Sussex did early in 2018 when they launched their digital gurus scheme, a team of six students – diligently whittled down from more than 100 applicants – to create content for the University’s social channels. The results have been incredibly – soaring engagement rates and follower numbers, some brilliant content and plenty of real work experience for their hired gurus.
On this episode, I sat down with Edd and Rebecca – two of Sussex’s gurus – to find out more about what they do. We chatted about why they applied to be a guru, what they’ve got out of it and they tell me about some of their content’s greatest hits.
Edd is a masters student in journalism and documentary practice. Rebecca has recently graduated with an undergraduate degree in English Language and Linguistic and is soon to start work with our friends at The Access Platform. You can find Rebecca on Twitter and LinkedIn, while she also has a website for her creative work. You can also find Edd on LinkedIn.
Both Rebecca and Edd are digital gurus at the University of Sussex – a team of current students involved in running the official social media accounts for the University. They were part of a final team of six gurus chosen from over 100 applicants.
2018 is the first year the University has run the digital gurus scheme. Each gurus works around 10 hours per month and also gets to do a week-long internship in the central social media team.
The gurus have plenty of creative input and freedom – they’re pretty much left to do what they like.
When it comes to Edd and Rebecca’s favourite and proudest moments, a few things spring to mind…
The week’s internship with the central team was the highlight of the whole scheme for me.
The launch of the gurus has had real impact; since it started, Sussex’s engagement rates and follower number have climbed and the University has shot up things like the Edurank charts.
It was nice to see a real reaction to what we were doing. I don’t see it as work.
Rebecca and Edd’s top three tips for any other universities looking to start their own gurus scheme
Trust your students
Focus on things that are already happening on your campus and that your audiences will be interested in
Be open and co-operative
5 apps on your phone you use the most
Edd: Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, the Sussex app and NatWest
Rebecca: Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and Unfold
4 people you’d like to invite round for dinner
Edd: David Attenborough, Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and Michelle Obama
Rebecca: Julie Andrews, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby (as one), Julie Walters and Graham Norton
3 words to describe what it’s like working as a Digital Guru
Edd: creative, funny and interesting
Rebecca: fun, (sometimes) bizarre and collaborative
2 places/events in the world you’d really love to visit but haven’t been able to yet
Edd: New Year’s Eve in Time Square and a balloon ride over the Serengeti
Rebecca: watch England v the All Blacks (rugby union) in New Zealand and drive from LA to San Francisco in a open-top Mustang in the summer
1 social media platform you love more than any of the others
Edd: Twitter (although it’s sort of a love-hate relationship)