Spotlight for Career Services ProfessionalsJanuary 22, 2014
by Shannon Kelly
Take one part brand ambassador, one part student focus group, mix in some pizza, a dash of fun, set for one hour, and you’ve got a student advisory board. In the spring of 2011, I followed this recipe to create a student advisory board specifically tasked with reviewing our social media presence. After almost three years, I have found this to be the framework for success when managing a board of student advisers.
Here are a few key lessons from my experience in hopes you could start your own student advisory board, whether its focus is social media, technology, or another aspect of your work:
Navigating the newest trends in social media and technology can be a challenge. To continually think outside the box and address this challenge, I actually turned to a box—a pizza box, as again, food is a key to success—to bring in students and understand their opinions of our social media and technology. Our department has learned so much from our advisers over the past few years, and I look forward to each new meeting to learn even more.
For their part, the students gain a great deal from this experience. Of course, we encourage them to add this experience to their resumes. We're building presentation skills through the talks they have delivered to their student groups and dorms. We're building marketing experience through their role as brand ambassadors and promoting our social media initiatives. They're building connections with alums through outreach they conduct to help us launch new campaigns, such as our Instagram videos. They also gain exposure to new vendors we hear from and help us test their products. It's more than giving them pizza, but it's giving them opportunity to essentially consult for us and help enhance our connections on and off campus, as well as their own.
Think through how a social media advisory board can help in your department, leverage the basic framework above, and hopefully you will find your own recipe for social media success.
Shannon C. Kelly is an associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania. You can follow her on twitter at @shannonckelly or www.socialatedu.com.
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