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STORIES
EMPOWERING
STUDENTSTOTELL
Meg Bernier – St. Lawrence University – #ConfabEDU
Meet Quevaughn.
People consuming your
content don't want to feel like
there is a PR professional
between them and the story.
Engage & Empower
Engage:
Occupy, attract, or involve
(someone's interest or attention);
participate or become
involved in.
Empower:
Give (someone) the authority
or power to do something.
When it comes to your
digital communities,
you need participants;
But then you need those people to
want to help you tell your story.
http://thesmashpalace.co.nz/wp‐content/uploads/2013/04/one‐way.jpg
We needed to engage our
audiences in meaningful ways.
Engagement Needed to Start With Students
• Their stories resonate with all of our audiences
• They see us focus on admissions and alumni –
how could we make them feel important?
• If we celebrate their experiences, the more likely
they would be to share them
• Engaging students now leads to more engaged
alumni later
Meet Kelly.
I needed ( a lot) of help.
Introducing the Student Social MediaTeam
How does the team work?
• 8 unpaid, completely volunteer student members
• Applications open once a year
• 15 applications in early 2014, 20+ now
• Meet once a week, but constantly in touch
• Brainstorm, offer constructive feedback
• Not looking for “yes” people
• Event coverage – what they are already going to
• Keep @StLawrenceU authentic
If they are unpaid and not
earning course credit,
what keeps them motivated
to stay involved?
Mostly food…
…but also opportunities...
…and confidence & trust.
• Talk with them like colleagues – because they are
– “We’re in this to learn together”
• Publicly give them credit for their work
– Students, faculty, staff, administrators, etc.
• Educate them on best practices, tips & tricks
• Develop their digital identities
• Empower them to take the lead on projects
The Engagement Magic Started on Instagram
A Big Benefit of Student Involvement:
The BEST Ideas
Engage & Empower
They were engaged:
Sharing photos, stories, asking
questions, commenting, retweeting,
liking, favoriting.
But how do you empowerstudents?
Students?Taking Over? Scary.
@herewegosaints
Our student-run Instagram account
http://cindyscott.org/wp‐content/uploads/2013/11/Raised‐hands.jpg
@herewegosaints
St. Lawrence’s student-run Instagram account
• Run by a different student each week
• Students have direct access to the account
– Yes, that means the password!
• Interested students express interest to me or a team
member, brief Instagram audit, then meet with
myself & a student team member
@herewegosaints
What do we discuss when we meet?
• Guidelines
• Planning ahead for the week (content strategy)
– What is YOUR story? Not a reporter covering events
– What do people love on Instagram? What don’t they like?
– Get them thinking about platform & content
– How will you capture your life?
• How to engage with followers
– Hashtags to follow and use
@herewegosaints
Successes
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
StLawrenceU
herewegosaints
@herewegosaints
Content Highlights
@herewegosaints
Content Highlights
Through @herewegosaints, we are
letting our students be the heroes
in their own stories.
How has it benefitted St. Lawrence
and our audiences?
• Authentic, engaging, real-time content
• Our ethos, personality shines through
• Provides an inside look into life at SLU
• “More than pretty pictures”
• Event coverage
• Encouraged more students to share content
• Learned what matters to various audiences
But what do the studentsrunning it
get out of it?
#SLUfamous
…but is that real value?
Meet John.
@herewegosaints on Storify
storify.com/herewegosaints
“How can running the account help you?”
• Share with family, friends
• Add Storify link to LinkedIn
• Explain how they can/should talk about this
experience during interviews
• Trust, planning content (strategy)
• How to include it on their resume
• Some data (average likes per post)
• Improve/Add to their digital identity
• Fun facts to add context for employers
Five minutes a week…
• Provides value to our students
• Provides value to my institution
• We can now share individual weeks!
• Admissions, Alumni/Development
If you’re looking for authentic
content to share, you need to
invest in providing value to
those supplying it to you.
Questions?
(And thank you!)
Meg Bernier - @msteverb
St. Lawrence University
mbernier@stlawu.edu
weatheringthenorm.blogspot.com

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ConfabEDU: Empowering Students to Tell Stories